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Most of us have had periods of time where money is tight. But going through a tight period is different than being completely broke.
If you’re flat out broke, you have to know that you can improve your financial situation. The only way to do that is to either increase your income (like by starting a blog), cut your spending, or ideally both. So now we are going to be talking about cutting your spending.
I want to put on my personal finance serious face for a second and say that, though we laugh about being broke, being broke is a serious thing. Being broke all of the time means you will never become debt free, you’ll never retire, and you’ll never have the means to live the life you want right now. You absolutely have to make some sacrifices to improve your future.
Trust me, making a few cuts now will allow you to live the life you really want to live. If you’re constantly living from paycheck to paycheck, you’ll never get the life you want. No one should accept living under that much financial stress.
Luckily, there are a few simple expenses you can cut out while you get your financial situation in order. If you started cutting out all 10 of these tips, you could save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars a month, depending on your current spending.
Though that would be incredible to cut out all 10 things, it’s not to say you are bad with money if you still choose to do some of these. Personal finance is personal and everyone has different priorities. But here are some ideas to get you started 🙂
Cable is pricey! And in all honesty, it’s a high price to pay for a bad habit. If you’re a serious television watcher, there are many cheaper options, like Amazon Video (included in the price of an Amazon Prime account!) or Netflix.
Missing out on a few of your favorite shows is worth the savings of $60-200 a month. And nowadays, you can usually steam shows online after a few months.
2) ATM Fees
Though an occasional ATM fee might not seem like a big deal, all of those little expenses add up. And have you ever thought about how silly it is to pay that much to access a few dollars of your own cash?
You can easily avoid this fee by making sure you always have a bit of cash on you, or by driving through or stopping in your bank before you go somewhere where you need cash. And you can keep tabs on what ATMs are free for you depending on where you bank.
3) Entertainment and Alcohol
FOMO is real and no one wants to miss out on anything his or her friends are doing, but you gotta be honest about your financial situation. If you can’t afford a $50 bar tab and an Uber every Saturday night, you can’t afford it.
Fortunately, you can still go out and be the DD, or you can host parties at your place. Having a social life is important, but there are so many cheaper (and healthier) ways to do so.
4) Eating Out
Sit-down restaurants can be very expensive, but yet, they seem to be a common social place to gather.
If you can’t sacrifice eating out in its entirety, you can commit to eating a quick bite at home before you get to the restaurant and only order an appetizer. And skip the drinks!
And fast food is another must-go. Though you might not think it’s expensive, it does add up. If you’re even just spending $6 a day on fast food, that’s $180.00 a month. And that’s just for one meal a day!
5) Clothes Shopping
I’ll admit, this is my biggest pitfall. I love shopping and clothes. And sometimes it’s hard to pass up a really great deal.
But when times are tight, or we have big savings or debt repayment goals in place, I don’t allow myself to shop, unless I desperately need a new pair of something I wear frequently (like tennis shoes or heels for work that I wear all the time) Other than that, it’s really amazing what you can come up with when you shop your own closet!
Glam bags, magazines, gym memberships, and any other type of subscription service can save you a lot of money now and in the long-run if you cancel them.
A lot of these items are fun, but not necessary in daily life. You can exercise at home or outside instead of going to the gym, or buy makeup as you need it instead of getting a glam bag of items you don’t even know if you’ll like.
This is #1 the best thing you can do if you’re broke. If you live in a city with a family member, moving back in with them can save you a ton of money.
I know, I know, few people want to do this. But this can save so much money. You can use your would-have-been rent money to save or pay off debt instead. If your rent is $500 a month, that’s $6,000 a year!
Obviously, this includes big trips, but I’m also talking about small travel too! Even a day-trip to a nearby town can get expensive when you factor in gas and food.
9) Trips to the Salon
I know this is unpopular, but you really can forgo trips to the salon.
I know girls who spend $200 every 2 months on their hair. That’s $1,200 a year for just hair.
If salon trips are a must for you, try spreading out time in between visits, or stop coloring your hair entirely. You can probably trim your own ends between visits and not botch it up, or have someone help you for free. Remember, these are sacrifices!
10) Gifts for Others
If you’re like me and love giving gifts, this can be hard. I love to mail gifts for birthdays or celebrations, but it does get expensive.
Luckily, friends and families should be the most understanding when it comes to gifts. If you feel like you have to give them something, you can always lower your budget or just send a card.
Remember, you need to take care of your own finances first before you can be responsible in giving gifts.