If you are struggling to climb out of debt or just finding it difficult to set money aside for savings, it is probably time to reevaluate your budget.
While this might seem easier said than done, there are probably excess expenses you can trim from your budget without drastically changing your lifestyle.
1. Reduce Grocery Store Spending
You can cut your food costs just by shopping at a different grocery store. Switch to discount grocer Aldi, and you can significantly shrink your monthly grocery budget.
In December 2015, Business Insider found that groceries are about 30 percent cheaper at Aldi than at its competitor Walmart.
If your monthly grocery bill is $500, shopping at Aldi could reduce it to $350. Rest assured that you will be able to find plenty of options at Aldi; the chain has increased its product selection and carries a wide variety of foods, including organic and gluten-free items.
2. Shop Secondhand for Clothing
Whether you are shopping for yourself or buying for your kids, clothing costs can really cut into your budget. Lower this expense by buying used.
Head to Once Upon a Child to buy gently used clothing for your kids. Most little ones grow out of their clothing so fast that it never wears out, so the merchandise offered at this secondhand store is often in pristine condition.
To snag good deals for yourself, consider browsing eBay, an internet marketplace where sellers offer nearly new clothing for a fraction of what you would spend in department stores.
Instead of shelling out $50 for a new pair of pants for work, you can likely find a comparable pair on eBay for $10-20.
3. Drop the Gym Membership
Regular exercise can keep you fit and reduce your healthcare costs, but a gym membership might not be worth the monthly fees.
According to the website Statistics Brain, the average gym membership costs $58 per month, but $39 of this fee is wasted due to under utilization.
Instead of paying fees for a gym membership you might not even use, work out at home or around your neighborhood.
A walk or jog outside is a no-cost way to get some exercise. If the weather prevents you from heading outside to work out, you can stay fit with basic exercises like push-ups, squats, and jumping jacks, or invest in a set of dumbbells and workout videos for use on rainy days.
4. Trim Your Entertainment Budget
Chances are that you are spending more than needed on entertainment. If you are paying for an expensive cable package but only watch a few channels, consider switching to a more basic package. Or, if you only watch one or two shows, drop the cable completely and subscribe to Netflix.
You can also save money by socializing at home. Instead of regularly meeting friends for dinner at a restaurant, where meals can easily cost $15-20 per plate, plan a potluck dinner at your home, or order a pizza and split the cost among friends.
5. Ditch the Expensive Latte
If you head to the local coffee shop for a latte every morning before work, you can easily shell out $20 a week, or $80 per month on your coffee.
Make your morning java at home and take it to work in a travel mug, and the money you save will probably be enough to cover your monthly water bill.
You can buy a month’s worth of coffee for less than what you would spend every week at the coffee shop.
You probably will not miss grabbing an expensive coffee drink on the way to work every morning, but you will notice the extra cash in your wallet.
Cutting out seemingly little expenses like this can add up, especially when combined with other strategies, like canceling a costly gym membership or switching to cheaper retailers.