Budgeting is so hot right now. Unfortunately, inflation isn't going away, and promotions remain hard to come by. So when workers can't secure additional revenue streams, the only way to stay afloat is to shrink the budget.
Fortunately, several proven strategies exist for downsizing budgets and surviving trying financial times. So here are ten recommendations from a frugal online community on what changes can be made to lower your monthly budget.
1. Downgrading Streaming Services
Though some may consider YouTube Premium, Paramount+ without advertisements, and other top-of-the-line streaming services to be necessary expenses, others can stomach commercials. If you fall into the latter camp, consider downgrading to bare-bones streaming services to save a few bucks.
You might even (gasp) whittle your streaming services down to two or three essentials. Side Tip: Tubi and Pluto TV are free streaming services with thousands of TV shows and movies.
2. Placing a Hard Cap on Dining Out
Once per week, one frugal commentator says. That's how often they allow themselves to get take-out or dine out. Are your at-home meals going to taste as good as a trained chef's? No. Will you save money by giving your stove and grill a workout? Yes.
3. Having “Zero-Dollar Days.”
One competition-minded saver explains that their family has “zero-dollar days.” On these days, they see who can last the longest without spending a single dollar. Eventually, zero-dollar days will pile up, saving you several dollars over the long run.
4. Shopping Strategically
Rather than hopping in the car whenever you need something from the store, or purchasing an Amazon order every third day, get more strategic about your errands and online orders.
Pre-plan multiple errands for a single day and wait to order until you have several items in the cart. You'll save on gas, time, and shipping fees.
5. Avoiding Impulse Purchasing
One shopper who struggles with impulse control explains that every time they walk into a convenience store, they walk out with $15 of junk they didn't need. So whether it is 7-Eleven, Costco, or another store, avoid places where you know you'll be tempted to buy more than you need.
The shopper mentioned earlier brings food with them before leaving the house, and you can devise strategies to avoid problem stores.
6. Deleting Food Delivery Apps
The convenience economy has proven expensive, huh? One quick-fingered consumer found that deleting their Uber Eats app has shrunk their food budget. Between the cost of restaurant-prepared food and the tips, budgeters will benefit from deleting their food delivery apps.
7. Eating What You Already Have
Food-centric hacks are hot because everyone eats. Rather than trying out a new recipe that requires a trip to the store, review your pantry and fridge and whip up the best meal you can. You'd be surprised at how long you can go without going to the store, eating well the entire time.
8. Finding More Cost-Effective Energy Solutions
Rather than heating the entire house with costly propane or electric heat, will an electric blanket do the trick? Will opening the windows and turning on a couple of fans provide enough airflow, rather than cranking up the air conditioner?
Energy costs can eat up a substantial portion of a budget. Embracing unconventional solutions can spare you from handing over your paycheck to Con Edison, Duke Energy, PG&E, or another energy provider.
9. Explore Insurance Providers
Don't let your insurance company take you for granted. If another provider is offering better rates, you must accept them. One insurance shopaholic explains that “there are no benefits to loyalty” when purchasing insurance benefits.
10. Embrace Promotions and Sales
Don't ask questions when you see a buy one, get one deal. When your favorite podcast host offers a promo code for a product you use, consider whether swapping brands might be worth the savings. Now more than ever, BOGO and promo are music to our ears.
This thread inspired this post.