When it comes to saving money, some of the typical methods that might cross your mind include using coupons, reducing the heat or air conditioning in your house, or steering clear of excessive personal spending.
While all of those are great strategies, have you ever thought about the things in your life you can actually eliminate altogether? By simply cutting out some of the things on which you spend your hard-earned cash, you could save more money than you ever thought possible.
To give you a better idea of what this could mean for you, here are 10 items you can easily eliminate today.
10 Things You Can Cut From Your Budget Today
1. Cable TV
Unless you simply must have access to live news shows and sporting events, it is possible to cut cable. Try out Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime, which are video streaming services that cost around $8 per month. If you’re currently paying $80 for cable, that’s an easy switch that represents tremendous savings.
2. Bottled Water
In many cases, the water coming out of your tap is essentially the same quality as bottled water — and that’s according to nationally published studies. If you still feel the need to filter it, simply purchase a water filter, which costs a lot less than loading up a case of the bottled stuff every week.
3. Home Telephone Service
As long as you own a cell phone, you probably don’t need a landline telephone. If you still want a backup, consider a VoIP service such as MagicJack. The product and one year of service costs about as much as one month of home telephone service.
4. Extended Warranties
Buying an extended warranty generally isn’t worth the money. People generally wrongly estimate the likelihood that their product will need repairs, and buy expensive warranties that simply aren’t always warranted, so to speak. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, the business of selling extended warranties is a $40 billion dollar one.
The same goes for appliances — they typically don’t break down during the time-frame the warranty covers.
5. Basic Prescription Medications
Several prescription medications used to cure common illnesses are now offered for free at various pharmacies — CVS and the pharmacy at Publix are two of them. Consult with your physician before paying for your next prescription because you might be able to get it for free.
6. Fitness Center Membership
The only time I’d recommend actually paying for a gym membership is if you need it as motivation to stay on track with your fitness program. Otherwise, get your workouts in at home or by walking or jogging around the neighborhood. Believe it or not, a healthy regimen of sit-ups and push-ups with a few other common exercises you can do in your living room gives you all the physical activity you need.
7. Storage Facility Fee
Are you paying for a storage facility? If so, what for? More than likely, you can eliminate this expense by simply discarding, donating, recycling, or tossing the contents. Start de-cluttering today so you can eliminate this bill as fast as possible.
8. Office Supplies
Most office supply retailers have 100% cash back programs in place for various products, including printer paper, pens, scissors, and markers. Buy the items at full price, then receive that amount back in the form of a rewards certificate, typically issued the next quarter. Just make sure you use that certificate for other needed purchases — and make sure you redeem it before it expires.
9. Lunch Break Restaurant Tabs
There’s no need to eat out at lunch, especially since you can likely put together a few sandwiches or pack up some of last night’s leftovers. For instance, even if you only spend $5 per day on lunch, that’s roughly $1,200 annually. Get to know your kitchen again and cut out that expense by packing a brown bag lunch every day.
10. Vitamin Supplements
Unless directed by your doctor, many vitamin supplements are essentially wasted money — as long as you eat a healthy diet. Cut back on red meat, consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, and if you’re worried about a particular vitamin, research the Internet for vitamin-rich foods.
Most of these ideas involve a simple change in habits rather than any sort of extreme sacrifice. Open up your mind to the financial possibilities of having more left over in your checking account each month, and start crossing these items off your list. Once you can make it through a vacation or holiday season without a ton of debt, you’ll be glad you did.
What other unnecessary expenses can you think of?
Tim Meyers is a personal finance consultant and coach. He also writes on the subject of personal finance for various digital and print publications. He resides in Michigan.