Today, Ali from Meanwhile At Naptime is going to help us find 6 things to cut from our budget when there’s nothing left to cut. If you’ve ever felt like you’re living on your bare bones budget and there isn’t room for you to save any more money, this post is for you!
6 THINGS TO CUT FROM YOUR BUDGET WHEN THERE’S NOTHING LEFT TO CUT
When my husband finished his graduate programs I was ecstatic.
We’re going to have some money and can stop being poor college students!
He landed a great job and we moved our little family across the country for it. I was so excited to get rid of our hand me down couch with the broken leg and thought about all the other stuff we’d be able to buy now we had a job.
But it didn’t work out that way. Graduation was accompanied by student loans. We had a lot to pay off and they weren’t going to go away before retirement with only minimum payments.
We had a lot of debt to pay off and very little money left over each month to do it.
Since we’d spent the last 4 years with only a part-time job, graduate school and me as a stay at home mom we were pretty good at living frugally. We knew how to stretch a dollar.
I was an avid budgeter and I knew we’d already cut our budget and wasn’t sure what was left.
We had already cut out dining out, slashed funds for entertainment and found free options. We even saved thousands each year by owning only one car.
What was left to cut?
I had no ideas but I knew we needed to cut somewhere because we had plans for our future and those student loans weren’t part of them. We were determined to get out from under them.
We made a debt repayment plan and set our financial goals. Now we were ready to look at the budget and slim it down some more.
So when you’re living frugally and there’s nothing left to cut what can you do?
What to Cut from Your Budget
This can be tough, especially when you have kids. We’ve slashed our clothing budget to almost nothing and have done so for years. We really have saved a lot of money this way.
Try out this challenge: don’t buy any new clothes for a year.
For adults, I’m confident that you can do it. If you just can’t make it, because you have kids and they grow faster than weeds, then buy second hand. Or see if someone in your neighborhood is getting rid of stuff.
I got tons of hand me down baby clothes once I started having kids and it has saved us a bundle. $40 here and there doesn’t sound like much but it really does add up.
Negotiate your bills
Unfortunately, you can’t cut them completely but chances are you can lower them. Most people miss this one because they think bills are bills and there’s nothing you can do about them, but that is the farthest thing from the truth.
Start by calling around to make sure you have the best deal.
Our garbage company price matches and after a few calls I was able to cut my trash bill by $20. Call around and see if you qualify for any discounts on insurance as well.
You can also cut your heating bill by 3% for every degree you move your thermostat. Many companies offer a discount if you sign up for autopay. Make sure to ask because sometimes they only apply the discount if you ask for it. That’s how we lowered our phone bill.
We also cut our internet bill in half by asking about their current promotions. This alone saved us $360 this year. Once you start adding up all savings you found on bills you’ll find several hundred dollars in savings.
Eat cheaper meals.
Put together a meal plan that regularly includes beans, rice, potatoes carrots, and pasta. Buy more frozen veggies and canned meat.
Remind yourself this is only temporary.
You’ve probably already cut out fast food, but make sure the meals you’re making at home are simple and inexpensive.
You’ll be surprised how good simple meals can taste!
Bike or walk when you can.
We walk to school every day. We are blessed to live close enough to do that because it saves us a lot of gas each week. It’s also one of my favorite ways to spend time with the kids.
Another way we saved thousands of dollars each year was to be a one car family.
We often drove my husband into work which could be boring. So when we drove in him to work, we’d all yell “woo” every time we went under an overpass. It was so much fun for our daughter and helped make sharing a car a lot more fun.
Also, try to batch your errands. When you’re headed out for groceries pick up anything you need from nearby stores to avoid making a second drive out there.
Hang on to that toilet paper though! Get rid of your paper towels, use Tupperware when you can instead of plastic bags and bake with reusable cupcake liners.
You’ll have to clean more but it can save you quite a bit of money in the long run.
See if you can make it yourself. There are lots of things that are cheaper to make and you probably already have a lot of the ingredients on hand.
For example, I make my own surface cleaner using water, vinegar, baking soda and a drop of dish soap. All things that I already have in my house anyway.
Cut your Budget
Even if you have a slim budget, chances are there is still something that can be cut. Take a long look at your finances and see if you can find it. Remember why you’re trying to save money to help you stay motivated.
Related posts about ways to cut your expenses:
- 5 Lifestyle Changes that will save you $100 every month
- Top 10 Frugal Food Tips
- 6 Meal Prep Tips for Busy Nights
Ali is a stay-at-home mom to three kids. She is mastering the art frugal living and helps stay at home moms learn how to control their finances while running a home.
If you’re ready to be debt free be sure to sign up for her FREE Debt Buster E-course!
How have you cut your tight budget? Let us know in the comments below!