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When you look at people who get paid huge amounts of money, pro athletes probably come to mind. Stars like Odell Beckham Jr. and LeBron James make millions on salary alone, not even counting product endorsements. But did you also know that most athletes that retire from pro play tend to go broke? They might be good at cutting lanes but not so much at cutting the budget.
The reason for this is lifestyle inflation. This happens when you increase your income, like getting a raise, but your unnecessary expenses also grow along with it. This doesn’t just happen to athletes, though they are one of the most extreme examples. Going broke despite a huge paycheck can happen to anyone.
But cutting the budget can be challenging. After all, you might not know where to start. But, that’s why I’m here to help. Here are 20 ways you can consider cutting your budget:
There are many ways you can go about trimming your grocery budget. Here are a few tips and tricks that I know:
Instead of going out to buy coffee at Starbucks or Tim Horton’s, make your coffee at home instead. When you break down the price, a homemade cup of coffee costs less than $1 to make. Compare this to a $5 cup of coffee from an expensive coffee shop, and you’ll never want to go back.
When going grocery shopping, you can save more by using coupons. You might think that they’re a hassle, but the truth is that they’re safe, cheap, and easy to find.
Here’s my list of the top 20 coupon code sites you can visit right now.
Did you know that you can reduce your monthly budget for cleaning products by buying in bulk? By getting the bigger containers of bleach, soap, and other products, you’re getting more for your money. Doing this cuts the budget for cleaning products in my household by $10/month! Saving $10 a month saves you $120/year, sis, and you can do a lot with that money.
You can even make your own cleaning products with ingredients you probably already have stocked. Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can clean just as well as most cleaning products and costs you way less.
Fresh produce tastes great, but it won’t stay fresh forever and is more expensive to boot. Cutting fresh produce from the budget and instead buying canned or frozen goods will save you more money. Not only are they more affordable, but they’ll also last longer.
For many households, single-use disposable items like paper towels can be a waste of money. If you’re using them to dry cutlery, just use washable dishtowels instead. Not only is it better for your wallet, but it’s also better for the environment.
There’s no reason you need to wipe the counter with paper towels. Use a dedicated cleaning cloth and save yourself a heap of money.
If you think that your utility budget is set in stone, you’d be wrong. There are a few sacrifices you can make when cutting the utility budget that you might not be doing. Let’s take a look.
Do you watch cable television these days? 35% of Americans have ditched cable, and that number is only growing with every year. Most popular shows are on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or similar streaming services. If you don’t have a particular need for cable, like watching sports, then it might be time to cut it. You’ll be fine without ESPN and NBA TV, just try.
Do you track how much data your household consumes? If you don’t, then you might be paying too much for your internet and phone bills. It might be time to shop around for a new, more cost-efficient plan.
Turning the lights off in an empty room or unplugging electronics will contribute to saving you money over time. Do this consistently, and you’ll see a change in your electricity bills.
It drives me crazy when I see my husband forgetting to take out the plug from the wall when he unplugs his phone. You still pay for the electricity when the plug is in the wall, even if it’s not attached to your device. Make it a habit to unplug from the wall as well as your device.
Water is another essential that you might be budgeting too much for. You can save more money on your water bill by building habits like only using the dishwasher when it’s full. Much like electricity, being more deliberate with how you use water will help cut the budget.
It’s 2022, sis! If you’re still paying late fees, then it’s time to set up an automated bills payment scheme. This will help you get rid of those annoying late fees once and for all.
This is always a tricky thing to write because wants are also necessary. Nonetheless, you can always cut down on your wants budget. Here are things you can start cutting from the wants budget:
Fancy dinner dates are romantic, but it’s best only to have them to celebrate milestones or birthdays. There are plenty of other fun date ideas that won’t break the bank so that you can do them more frequently.
Valentine’s Day is coming up, and you might be looking for some inspiration. Here’s my article on 25 romantic date night ideas for some inspiration.
The idea that you need and deserve an upgrade is exactly what product developers want you to think. You don’t need to get a new iPhone, even if the most recent model has many new features. Get into the mindset of using a phone until it stops working. That way, you’re getting the most value out of your phone purchases.
Many people don’t need new clothes every few months, but they still go shopping anyway. It may not be the more “fun” option, but you may want to save that money instead if you do this.
Additionally, instead of buying trendy clothes that go out of style fast, try to purchase high-quality wardrobe “essentials.” I’m talking about clothes you can wear to almost anything like t-shirts, jeans, jackets, and socks.
There’s nothing quite like the experience of traveling or going to your favorite musician’s concert. That being said, these might have to be a necessary sacrifice for a while. It may be better to put off these things until you’re in a better position financially.
Gifts are a nice gesture, especially for a birthday. However, many recipients will feel guilty receiving a gift that costs a lot of money. If you’re not in a comfortable financial position, then it may not be time to give extravagant gifts yet.
While cutting the budget is important, it can only do so much for your wealth. If you want to grow your wealth even more, here are a few final tips to keep in mind:
A 50-30-20 budget is a popular template for how you allocate your money. 50% goes to living expenses, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings. It’s a good starting point if you don’t do serious budgeting yet.
When I followed that template, I learned to live with less. Even 30% of my income felt too much, so I’d end up putting even more money into savings and investments.
Whenever you receive any income, immediately deposit 20% of it. Then, whatever extra money you save from the rest of your budget should either be saved or invested.
You also have to know what “wants” to allow yourself to have, like budgeting towards your hobbies or passions. After all, these passions are what keep you sane. Funding them is one of the reasons you work so hard.
To beat lifestyle inflation, you have to teach yourself to be satisfied with less. By cutting the budget, you’ll teach yourself what you really need in life to be happy. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses to be happy. Stay in your lane and stay sane.
The best way to consistently squeeze more money out of your budget is to always learn new tips and tricks. As a member of the financial fam, these tips will be sent directly to you at no cost! Occasionally, I’ll even throw in a freebie or personal message. Joining is free and easy, so sign up today!
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Dollars Makes Cents by Shaquana, Financial Coach and Wealth Expert, resources helps professional millennial women of color with the tools and skills they need to eliminate their debt, amplify their savings, and build generational wealth — without having to compromise their lifestyle.
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