I am so incredibly excited to have my very first guest post today. I found I was ALWAYS pinning her articles on Pinterest, and more often than not we exactly agreed on how to handle finances and run a household! I also discovered she is a fan of The Walking Dead, and well, that just sealed the deal for me!
I want to introduce you to Jessi Fearon of The Budget Mama. She graciously wrote this post for us, and I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I do!
When you are trying to live life by a budget, dig your way out of debt, or save up an emergency fund you will more than likely give up a few luxuries to do so. However, often times we still end up paying for things that drain our budgets without even realizing it.
During the summer months, I am horrible with this. I will purchase bottle water by the case to keep in our garage fridge in order to have quick access to water. Truthfully, our money is better spent elsewhere. It is convenient to have water ready for us whenever we get in the car or play outside but in the end, the expense does not make sense. We have a fridge with a built in water filter and we live in a country where we have quick access to drinking water just by turning a knob.
Instead of purchasing bottle water, invest in a water filter and reusable water bottles.
I will be completely honest here; I do not understand the obsession with magazines. I used to keep, no actually make that horde, magazines because I believed they held some sort of value for me. However, I would never, and I mean never open up one of those magazines after initially reading it. They ended up collecting so much dust and added to clutter that I recycled them all. I have not missed them.
If you are still paying for a magazine subscription to a magazine that you hardly or never read, cancel it. Save yourself not only money but also space from having to store those used magazines. If you actually use your magazines to reference certain articles, consider creating a binder with the articles you want to reference. Simply tear out the articles from the magazine and insert them in a sheet protector in the binder. You could use dividers to help you categorize the articles for easy referencing.
If you simply cannot live without magazines in your life, consider using a site like Recyclebank.com where you can earn rewards points for doing good for Mother Earth and receive magazines for free.
It has been almost a decade since I had cable. I will never forget when my hubs moved into my apartment and realized I had no cable – only rabbit ears on my T.V. He was determined to get us satellite until he found out that where the apartment was located could not receive a signal without placing the satellite on the apartment grounds (which was against our lease). It has been seven years and my hubs has not missed satellite T.V. or cable.
We use Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch our favorite shows and movies. Of course, the argument is always about sports and how do we watch SEC football. We make a dish, head over to our neighbor’s house and enjoy the company of our friends while watching football. Simple as that. The days when we cannot watch football at our neighbors, we keep up-to-date with the ESPN app on our phones.
If you are on the fence about parting ways with your cable or satellite provider, have your account suspended for thirty or sixty days and start watching T.V. via Netflix, Roku , or Apple TV. I know for us, we simply do not watch enough T.V. to justify the cost. Another benefit to watching T.V. through Netflix or Amazon Prime is that there no commercials, thus less temptation to purchase something simply because the commercial makes it seem awesome.
Checking Account Fees
If you are still paying checking account fees – stop. Yes, stop paying checking account fees. Contact your bank and tell them that you will no longer pay for checking and that you will happily switch banks in order to avoid paying for checking.
If your bank will not comply (most will), I suggest trying CapitalOne360. The first account we set up with them was our emergency fund and I have been in love ever since! They are a great bank to work with and have amazing customer service and no checking account fees.
Seriously, do not pay for a checking account.
Unless you are a gym rat who is in the gym working out almost daily, get rid of your membership. Opt to work out at home for free by investing in the gym equipment you actually need and will use. Start small by purchasing hand weights, yoga mats, and any work out DVDs/programs you may need.
Another option is to look at what classes you actually take at the gym. Do you regularly participate in a yoga class? Several yoga studios have popped up in recent years and are often times cheaper than a gym membership. I have even found some with free childcare available! There are also studios that concentrate solely on specific forms of martial arts and specific workouts like cycling.
If you are a mom, in some areas there are moms groups that meet up twice a week at local parks to walk/run with their children. It is amazing way to bond with your kids and connect with other moms.
These are just five of the things that you could stop paying for in the New Year in order to add more back into your budget. If you are still searching for ways to cut costs in the New Year, look over your expenses from the last three months and determine where you spend the most of your money. Is it something that you can cut out or at least reduce the amount of the expense? If you need more budgeting help, my Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting can help you set up a basic budget.
What would you add to this list of things to cut out in the New Year?