7 Ways to Downgrade Your Budget This Year ...

Heather

Maybe this year you’re looking for a few ways to downgrade your budget to save money, or to become better at managing your finances. I can join you in saying this is one area in my own life I’d like to improve as well. Luckily, there are some pretty easy ways to downgrade your budget that don’t require too much sacrifice when you look at what you’ll gain in the long run. If you have any tips of your own, be sure to share those with me too. I’m all about learning new ways to save more money this year!

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1

Check Your Cell

One of the best ways to downgrade your budget this year is to check your cell phone bill. How bad have things gotten with your bill increase, or the overall costs? Overage charges, going over your daily allotment of minutes and paying for services you don’t use are all simple ways many of us waste money on cell phone bills each year. You don’t even have to get rid of your smartphone to save money. Cell phone plans can differ anywhere from $10-$70 a month! For example,I have a very low amount of allotted minutes for only$39.99 instead of unlimited because I don’t use my phone for voice calls that often. Yet, I’m willing to pay $20 for unlimited texting because I use it more and don’t want to pay overage charges. Insurance is usually around $5 per month, and some companies offer it free. Also, be aware that even if you pay for phone insurance it doesn’t cover water damage, one of the leading sources of problems with cell phones. Scrutinizing your plan and looking at all your options is the best way to lower the cost of your plan.

2

Avoid the Mall

I have to tell you, if I go to the mall or other shopping centers, I’m going to buy something. The only thing that works for me is all or nothing. So, I just avoid it all together. This includes everything from shopping malls to individual stores. I have clothes in my closet I don’t even get a chance to wear, so there’s no need for me to buy more if they aren’t essential. Getting smart about your budget means you’ll have to be honest with yourself. Even if that means avoiding that cute pair of boots or that amazing top that’s just the perfect fit for you. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did. Besides, strength is a muscle and you’ve got to work it to learn to avoid temptation!

3

Grocery Shop Smart

One of the best ways to downgrade your budget this year is to shop smarter on groceries. Also be sure to shop only once per week and count how much you’ll need to get you through the week of each item, instead of just winging it. This will keep you from buying too much, and keep you from running out, making you go back to the store later. This is one of the easiest ways to downgrade your budget, and as a bonus, you’ll become a better shopper for it too! Learn to watch for weekly deals, sales ads, and always, always make a list and stick to it.

4

Cut out the Gym

I thought six years ago when I had to give up my gym membership that my life might end. What I learned was actually the opposite. I’m now more fit than I was then because I’ve had to get creative with my workouts. I now either work at home and do cardio outside or if it’s cold, I do it on a treadmill indoors, or do a video. I do yoga, kettlebells and body toning exercises as well. My muscles are working harder than they were when relying on machines to do all the work, plus this is such a much better way to use your time. No more wasting travel time to the gym! Just slip on your clothes and go to it! By the way, my room is incredibly tiny and I don’t have a lot of space. You’d be surprised what you can do with your room to create just enough floor space to workout in it. If you need ideas, just ask!

5

Cut out Subscriptions

Do you pay for magazine or newspaper subscriptions you don’t use? What about online subscriptions of some sort, or even other kinds like food or beauty delivery subscriptions that often go wasted if you don’t like the items being sent? It’s time to nix those and save that money for something else. Cut out all unnecessary subscriptions from your budget and you’ll see a pretty noticeable difference in how much money you have each month.

6

The Library

If you frequently buy books and never read them again, quit! And that includes your Kindle. I mean, how many of us really go back and read books on our Kindle or other reading device anyway? Now, I always check the library first to see if they have the book I want, or when and if they can get it in for me. I’ve learned to not only appreciate books better, but also don’t mind reading a used book as much as I do seeing another book sit in my closet or in my reader that I’ll never read again.

7

Sell Your Stuff

Another tip for making money this year that will help you downgrade your budget, is to sell what you don’t need. Clothes, CDs, DVDs, books and jewlery can all be sold on Craigslist.com, Amazon.com, eBay, and what you don’t sell you can list on Freecycle.com to giveaway. While it might not make you too much money, it will help you declutter a few things at least. If you can make money from things you don’t need, that’s the best way to get yourself out of debt quickly. Two summers ago when I was without work, I sold books on Amazon.com for two months that were like new, and made almost $600 in the process. It sounds impossible, but it’s really quite simple.

If you have any ideas for downgrading your budget, or fun ways to make money, I’d love to hear from you! What’s your best budget cutting tip for the new year?

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