Is your family budget too tight? Do you want to cut expenses on your family budget but have no clue where to begin? Do you think reducing expenses on grocery bills or going out less often to achieve financial goals is a sacrifice?
Well, you might think you’re right but saving money or paying off debt should not be seen as a sacrifice. It’s best to look at it as a necessity in order to have better control of your money and become financially responsible.
It’s true! The last thing anyone wants to do is reduce their spending but cutting expenses is one of the fastest ways to decrease spending and increase your overall savings.
Cutting household expenses can be extremely beneficial in the long run especially when you plan to save for emergencies.
Here are some budget cuts every family can make to save money.
1. Start Tracking Your Spending Habits
The first step to cutting your expenses is figuring out where your money is going. You can create a budget or use free pre-made templates online to record all your recurring expenses like your monthly rent or mortgage, car payment, insurance, and your average weekly grocery bills.
However, you also need to track whatever money you spend no matter how small the amount could be. Luckily today there are various Android and iOS Apps that can allow you to track your expenses from your mobile devices in no time without having to write them down on a piece of paper one by one. Examples include: Wally, Spendee, Pocket Expense 6, Mint, Spending Tracker, Money Lover, Moneyfy and Expensify
You will be surprised how much you spend on certain items but that’s a good thing because you will have a good chance to adjust accordingly once they’re organized into a budget.
You may also compare your spending habits with friends who are doing better than you moneywise.
2. Make a Monthly Budget You Can Stick to.
Budgeting is another excellent way to cut expenses on the family budget or hold yourselves accountable altogether. Creating a basic budget requires three things: Knowing how much you earn, knowing how what your expenses are, and establishing a realistic plan to spend lesser than you earn so you can save the money that’s leftover. In other words, it requires you to know what your monthly income streams and expenses are so that you can prioritize your spending to accomplish your financial goals.
Although it’s wise to keep records that account for every penny, that method won’t work for everybody. You can use this rule-based budgeting approach instead: 50-30-20 rule. With this approach, you get to allocate 50% of your total income to your household needs (basic housing, food, clothing, utilities, insurance, taxes, and debt payments), 30% for things you want (eating out, entertainment, and luxuries) and 20% for savings. It will require a lot of discipline on your part not to spend that amount allocated to savings.
This approach will work best for you if you can differentiate between your needs and wants or find different ways to cut your expenses.
3. Find ways to pay less
While budgeting is very crucial, it’s also important that you find various ways to pay for items that you have already put in your current budget. Take time each week to go through items on promotional discounts online or in newspapers. You may also take advantage of coupons and save towards other expenses or even deposit into your savings account.
4. Ditch the credit cards
If you want to achieve your financial goals, it’s important that you stop using credit cards. Stop making excuses for accumulating a lot of debts; credit cards make it normal to spend more than you need which is one of its drawbacks.
You could save hundreds of dollars every month if you could just freeze your credit cards or not use them at all. You should always pay in cash whenever necessary and you will be surprised how many expenses you will be able to cut from the family budget.
5. Cut down on grocery bills and cook at home
Cooking and eating fresh meals at home is cheaper than eating out or ordering takeout and can help you save a lot of money.
You could do weekly meal planning where you figure out whatever you will eat for the whole week, plan it then stick to it. If you won’t have time to prepare meals during the workweek, you could also treat yourself to home-cooked meals over the weekend.
There are a lot of health benefits attached to preparing your meals at home because you can also control the ingredients that go into them.
6. Re-Evaluate Your Subscriptions and memberships
The other effective way to cut expenses is to cancel unnecessary memberships and subscriptions. A lot of people have several subscriptions on top of their monthly bills, from cable TV or streaming services like Netflix to online services like Spotify, food delivery services, and gym memberships, you name it.
While you may not be able to stop all subscriptions and membership ago, you must check that they are not automatically charged without your consent unless you’re sure you’re getting good value for your money and you can always downgrade them or cancel some of them until you get your finances in check.
You should also check your statements to make sure that you’re not still paying for subscriptions you forgot all about.
7. Reduce Electricity Use
A family can reduce electricity consumption by reducing “Vampire Loads” and using energy-efficient appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines that use less energy compared to other models. You may also have electronic devices around the house that are turned off but still using energy because they are plugged in. This wasted electricity is what is known as “Vampire Loads”
Reducing “vampire loads” can save a household $100 USD per year.
If you usually forget unplugging things like your TV, buy smart power strips that automatically cut power once the device is no longer in use. Unplugging your electronics when you’re not using them protects you from power surges.
Electricity bills usually account for about 12% of the average household budget.
8. Consolidate Your Debt and Lower Interest Rates
One way to significantly cut expenses is to consolidate debt. Owing money can be so stressful especially when you have several different debts to pay off.
Debt consolidation simply means combining multiple debts into a single monthly payment. It can be very effective especially when the end goal is to reduce what you pay in interest, lower the monthly payment and pay the debt off.
Reducing the monthly payment will allow you to save a lot of money on interest costs and cut expenses on the family budget.
You can consolidate your debts through a debt consolidation loan (apply for a bank loan to pay off your debts) or simply use a debt management plan.
9. Reduce Your Insurance Premiums
Another way to reduce monthly expenses is by making adjustments to your home and car insurance. If you want to cut costs, look into how much it would cost to reduce your premiums whether by bundling both your premiums at the best rates or paying a smaller premium amount.
Bundling your policies can increase your savings by 25%
10. Shop with a grocery list and stick to it.
If you want to avoid wasting money at the grocery store, always make a list of items you want to buy and stick to it. Having a shopping list gives you a clear idea of what you need and eliminates impulse buying that might lead you to overspend on unnecessary items.
Take a look at your kitchen shelves to determine what you need before you head over to the store and do your best to stick to the list as you shop for the items.
You can also take advantage of deals that are usually advertised in flyers in many supermarkets or websites to cut costs.
Other Ways to Cut Expenses on the Family Budget include:
- Bring beverages from home instead of buying them.
- Renegotiate your rent or house payment.
- Cut back on or quit vices like smoking.
- Use public transportation instead of driving
- Take shorter, cooler showers.
- Sell things you don’t need to make some money.
- Pay with cash when you’re shopping.
- Identify needs, wants, and unnecessary items when shopping.
- Adjust your thermostat to reduce heating/cooling costs.
- Downsize your current living arrangement
- Cut your cable TV or landline phone.
- Set your phone to use Wi-Fi whenever possible.
- Check for sales and use coupons.
Cutting expenses on a family budget is a great way to save money and reduce the stress of knowing that you don’t have enough money in savings to cover emergencies and any other problems that may arise in the long run.
You don’t have to wait, hesitate, ponder or contemplate on the decision to cut expenses on your family budget because the sooner you start, the sooner you finish and the more you save.
Share with us in the comments how one can cut expenses on the family budget! Cheers!