What you can do to have more money each month.
How would you feel if I told you that it’s possible for you to have an extra $300 each month? It will not require getting a new job, getting a raise, starting a side hustle, or selling anything. Sounds pretty good, right??? However, it might require a little bit of time and sacrifice. Would you want to know more details? Well, I’m going to give them to you! Today I am sharing exactly how to find extra money in your budget with these two strategies.
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1. Analyze Your Fixed Expenses
The first strategy to having more money in the budget each month is to analyze your fixed expenses. Your fixed expenses are the item in your budget that you have to spend money on each month and usually stay the same. Common fixed expenses are rent, mortgage, utilities, etc.
I encourage you to look over your fixed expenses FIRST, because these are often the expenses most people think can’t change. But, they can!
Make a list of each of the fixed expenses you pay each month. Once you have made your list I want you to put a star next to the items you believe you can lower.
Here are a few examples of fixed expenses that you might be spending to much money on:
Insurance: The great thing about insurance (and I’m talking ALL insurance, home insurance, car insurance, life insurance, etc.) is that you can shop around to many different providers and agents. First, call your current insurance agent and explain to them that you are wanting to find a way to lower the cost. Ask politely if there is anything they can do to decrease the amount you are currently paying.
Next, call a few different insurance providers and ask them for a quote. After you have a few different insurance quotes you can then make the decision of whether you would like to switch to a new provider, or stay where you are. Either way, the amount you are paying should be decreasing. If your current agent wasn’t willing to lower the rate, it might be a good time to switch to someone new. In many cases you might find the best deals by having your car insurance with one company and life insurance with another.
Cell Phone: A monthly cell phone bill can get expensive fast, fortunately there are cheaper options out there. Look into a few alternative cell phone companies, such as Tello Mobile or Red Pocket Mobile. We have used both of these and were so impressed with the high quality service and super cheap rates.
Cable TV: Still paying for cable? That’s OK, you’re not alone. But, this is one of the easiest fixed expense to cut. Cancel your cable and replace it with one, maybe two, streaming services. Look into Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, Disney+, Paramount+, etc. until you find the right fit for you.
Internet: If you haven’t negotiated the price of your internet yet, I suggest you do so now. If you have been a loyal internet customer, they will usually work with you in lowering the price. All you have to do is ask!
- Related: 5 Bills You Should Negotiate
Utilities: Try to come up with a few strategies to decrease your utilities costs. This might include fixing seals on doors and windows, turn your thermostat up or down a few degrees (depending on the season), taking shorter showers, etc.
Monthly Subscriptions: What are the subscriptions you are paying for each month? Your subscriptions might include your TV streaming subscriptions, magazines, beauty boxes, gym membership, music subscriptions, phone apps, meal plans, etc.
Choose one, two, or maybe even all of those subscriptions to remove from your budget.
One thing that has helped me with subscriptions is to put them on a rotation. For example, if I currently have a Netflix, Disney+, FabFitFun, and IPSY subscription, I will choose 2 of them to keep and cancel the rest.
After a few months of using the subscriptions I kept I will then cancel those and renew 2 more. I keep rotating my favorite subscriptions so that I can enjoy all of them throughout the year, but only paying for a few of them at a time.
Here is a quick example of what a rotation schedule might look like:
January-June: Pay for FabFitFun and Netflix.
July-December: Pay for IPSY and Disney+.
2. Analyze Your Variable Expenses
The next step to finding extra money in your budget is to reduce your fun spending. After you have examined your fixed expenses, it’s time to look at your variable expenses.
Variable expenses are the expenses in your budget that change month to month.
Take out your list you made of your Fixed Expenses. Now, I want you to add all of your Discretionary Spending categories to the list. Look at each of the things that you spend your money on closely. Put a star next to the items you think you can spend less on.
For example, your updated list might look like this:
- Car Payment
- Cell Phone*
- Cable TV*
- Eating Out*
In many instances variable expenses are HARD to cut from the budget, because it is usually the spending that makes life a little more enjoyable. I’m hoping to show you a few not so difficult tips for decreasing your fun spending.
Eating Out: How often do you go out to eat for lunch or dinner. Are you constantly stopping and buying a Starbucks or other treat on your way to work?
I challenge you to cut the number of times you eat out a month in half.
So, if a normal week for you includes 5 Starbucks, 3 fast food lunches, and going out to dinner twice, cut that in half to: 2 Starbucks, 1 fast food lunch, and out to dinner once in a week. You can do it!!!!
Groceries: I know that we all have to eat, and groceries are a part of life. But, are there some things you can do to lower the amount of money you spend on groceries each month? I bet you can!
Take a look at my article, 10 Quick Ways To Lower Your Grocery Bill, to find a few tips for spending less. Choose one (or all) of the tips in the article to start implementing into your grocery routine.
Clothing: Another common variable expenses is clothing. If you don’t need any clothes at this time, avoid going to any clothing stores or browsing online clothing stores.
However, if you are needing some new clothing items, shop at discount stores, such as Ross or thrift stores, like ThredUp for the clothes that you need. You can find good quality clothing, for a fraction of the price, if you are willing to change where you shop.
- Related: How To Save Money On Kids Clothes
Entertainment: If you are looking for how to find extra money in your budget, entertainment is usually a good place to look. There are SO many cheap ways to entertain yourself and still have fun.
Rent a movie instead of going to one. Check out books from the library instead of buying them. Invite friends over for a pot luck dinner instead of going out to eat.
When choosing cheaper forms of entertainment, be willing to try new things and get creative. You just might find a few new favorite hobbies!
- Related: Cheap At Home Date Night Ideas
Travel: Do you love to travel? I do too! As a matter of fact I love it so much that we consistently contribute money each paycheck into our travel sinking fund.
If I was needing extra money though, travel is something that can be made cheaper. For example, plan a staycation instead of going somewhere. Look for fun (cheap) activities you can do around your hometown so that you don’t have to pay for flights or hotel accommodations.
We love contributing to our Travel Sinking Fund, but if something came up where we needed more money in our budget, this is one of the first things we would cut.
- Related: The Best Budget Travel Tips
Finding Extra Money In Your Budget
Now that you have examined your budget closely, and made a list of a few expenses you can decrease, it’s time to put it into action. Look at the items you have placed a star beside on your list. Using the tips I shared above, choose a few of your starred expenses to spend less on this week.
Keep implementing your plan even on the weeks it feels hard. It won’t always be easy to change your spending habits, you will get spending urges! Fortunatly, spending urges pass if we wait, so be willing to wait out those urge and remember your big money goals.
Now that you are spending less in both your variable and fixed expenses, you should have some extra wiggle room in your budget. Make sure to use that money we found wisely, hopefully to pay off debt, save for your future, or another important expense.
You got this! I believe in you!