Money is the biggest cause of stress in the world. It affects our health, our relationships, our career goals — everything. If improving your financial standing is one of your goals for 2018, you’re not alone. Finding places in your budget to trim, however, can be tricky. Here are 4 sneaky expenses that are slowly draining away your expendable income.
Credit Card Interest Charges
If you carry a balance on your credit cards, your interest charges may cost you hundreds of dollars or more — for example, the CareCredit card packs a whopping interest rate of 27%! Reducing your balances will result in direct savings, and eliminating your balances will eliminate this often overlooked expenses. Better yet, keep a healthy savings account and try to pay cash for large purchases rather than credit cards and loans.
A Landline Phone
Some homes still have a landline as a matter of habit or because residents believe it is necessary for an emergency. However, with the prevalence of smartphones, a landline is no longer needed. Basic landline service with unlimited minutes generally run $15-$30/month. It’s not a fortune, but you’ll appreciate the extra breathing room.
Most households receive 189 channels but only watch 17 of them. By cutting the cord, you can save $50/month or more. One way to save money with this expense is to downgrade your cable service to a basic package. Another way to reduce spending is to switch to an Internet-based TV. There are many options available now, and providing convenient access to the shows that you love for less than what you’re paying for cable.
Snacks and Sodas
Your grocery bill may seem like the one thing you absolutely can’t trim down — and this is true, to an extent. How much are you spending on extraneous “grocery” purchases like snacks, fast food, soda, coffee, and alcohol? These extra indulgences are most likely not essential, and probably not healthy for you either. Processed food, in general, is more expensive than whole food or homemade options. Cutting out these purchases and spending a little more time in the kitchen can make a big difference in your monthly budget. In addition, you can look for coupons or use one of the many money-saving apps to save even more money on groceries each week.
You need your car to run errands, get the kids to school, commute to work, and a thousand other things. Like groceries, it may seem impossible to limit the money that you pour into your fuel tank each month. But there are ways to adjust your driving routine to reduce gas consumption. For example, you can run errands on the way to or from work to avoid making unnecessary trips out. You can carpool with neighbors to get the kids to school, and you can carpool or even take mass transit to work.
Many expenses that you may think are necessities in your budget actually can be reduced or eliminated. Implement these savings ideas today to start putting your money where it really matters.