12 Realistic Expenses You Need to Cut Out Of Your Budget In 2020 – Are you looking to scale back and seriously cut costs this year? Here are 12 realistic expenses you need to cut out of your budget to save more money this year.
When’s the last time you sat down and really (and, I mean REALLY!) scrutinized your spending?
If you’ve been reading here awhile you may have caught a recent post about why your budget might be failing. In that post I encouraged everyone to sit down and analyze their spending with a fine tooth comb.
Why? Knowing where your money is going is a vital first step in creating a long-term budget solution that will work for and not against you.
In that post I went over 5 pretty common reasons why your budget is likely failing you. And, today I want to take it a step further and compile a solid list of realistic expenses you need to cut out of your budget to save more money or pay off debt more quickly.
Before I get started though, I just want to head off on a small tangent and express how important it is that any cuts your make to your budget are realistic.
It would make absolutely no sense for me to encourage you to slash your grocery budget by 80% or to bike 75 km to work each way to save on fuel. So, I’m not suggesting anything radical here. Just keep in mind that any changes you do opt to make need to be realistic to your lifestyle over the long term.
Each of these realistic expenses you need to cut out of your budget are pretty common sources of spending for the average person. And, that’s the key here: average person. With that in mind, you may do all of these or none at all.
So, if you’re spending in more than a few of these categories then by all means try cutting to save a couple of extra bucks each month.
If you’re not spending on any of these extras then my advice is to look over your last 3 months of spending.
If you can identify some extra expenses you are accruing each month then it’s always worth trying to eliminate in favor of saving more.
12 Realistic Expenses To Cut Out Of Your Budget In 2020
1. Eliminate Bank Fees
You should NEVER be paying to use your own money. Have a look at your most recent bank statement and tally up what you’ve spent to spend your money.
Beyond paying the basic monthly service fees (which can be waved in most cases by maintaining a minimum balance), anything related to automatic withdrawals, writing checks or excess transaction fees need to be avoided at all costs.
If you’re consistently being charged extra fees then it’s time to either reevaluate your banking needs or make changes immediately.
The goal is to stop spending money to use your money.
This is a perfect example of one of those realistic expenses you need to cut out of your budget to save more money.
Just to put this idea in perspective, it costs upwards of $3.00 per transaction to withdrawn money at an ATM in my area.
So, if I need $20.00 cash to buy milk and bread – that transaction will end up costing me $23.00. If I do this 10 times over the span of one month, I’ve now spent $30 of my money to pull out $200.
Crazy hunh? If we take it one step further that’s $360 per year to withdraw my own money from an ATM machine.
Total waste am I right?
2. Late Fees
Whether the late fees are accrued from paying a a bill, credit car or other expense after it’s due or something as simple as not returning a library book on time – you are wasting valuable money.
Sure, sometimes life happens and you either don’t have the cash to pay on time or you completely forget.
Either way, try and find a system that allows you to pay all your bills on time and get that book back to the library when it’s due.
If keeping track of bills is an issue, using your phone to send you automatic notifications as a reminder is an easy solution.
Better even, pay EVERY bill the second you receive it.
At first this approach might be a strain on you financially (especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck). But, once you get into the habit and out of that cycle it guarantees that bills get paid in timely fashion.
If funds are an issue and you’re looking to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle why not pick up a side hustle to get ahead for a couple of months?
Side hustles are an awesome way to pad your bank account and get you out of that paycheck to paycheck cycle quickly.
3. Dry Cleaning
Outsourcing your laundry is a total waste of money. Sure, certain pieces of clothing need to be dry cleaned to maintain their quality.
But, paying extra attention to tags and making sure you’re buying clothing you can launder yourself is a great way to save a heap of cash.
Business professionals and folks who work in an office setting are especially susceptible to this.
Next time you go shopping make sure that the pieces you are adding to your wardrobe can be washed at home.
Dry cleaning costs a small fortune and can be totally avoided by paying special attention to what type of clothing you buy.
4. High Insurance Costs
Are you sure that you’re getting the absolute best deal on your auto, home and life insurance?
When’s the last time you picked up the phone and called various insurance providers to see who could negotiate the best deal for you.
Sure, it’s time consuming and generally a pain in the butt.
But, the amount of money you can save can be pretty impressive.
A small investment of your time can save you at least a couple of hundred bucks per year.
Pro tip: Many companies offer hefty rebates if you take out multiple insurance policies with their company. We’ve combined our home and auto insurance to save over $200 per year!
5. Your Landline
If you’ve got a cell phone (which you probably do!) you should be asking yourself if you really need that landline.
Gone are the days that you need a landline for internet access so there really isn’t a very good reason to be paying for a home phone number anymore.
6. Gym Memberships
Gym memberships can come with pretty impressive price tags. The number of people who have an active gym membership and don’t use them is astounding.
If you’re an avid gym rat and get your money’s worth then, great!
But, if you’re paying to use the gym twice per month then maybe it’s time to start re-evaluating whether the costs of that membership are truly worth your investment.
There are so many completely free and amazing ways to get in a good workout!
7. Expensive Haircuts
We all need haircuts. Having said that, the cost of cuts, colors, high lights and other hair related expenses (for women especially) can get pretty expensive.
My mum is a hairdresser so I know just how pricey a good cut, color and set can be. Why not look around for a cheaper alternative?
I know, I know, you just adore your hairdresser. If that’s the case (and I totally get stylist loyalty) why not spread your haircuts out a little.
Rather than going every 3 months, stretch it to 4 which will drop your visits from 4 to 3 per year. Woah, that’s a lot of numbers – I hope you were able to follow all that!
8. Bottled Water
Don’t get sucked into this idea that bottled water is better for you.
According to this report some bottled water is actually sourced from tap water which is probably what you’re trying to avoid by buying bottled in the first place am I right?
9. Morning Coffees/Teas
If you’ve been reading here for some time you probably already know that I’m adamant about brewing my own coffee and tea to save money.
I did some frugal math in this post and shockingly you can save over 100k during your career if you make a point to bring your own coffee rather than stop at the local coffee shop every morning!
Related Reading: How brewing the best cup of coffee can save you thousands
10.Lawn Care Services
If you’ve got a company coming out to fertilize and cut your lawn you might want to consider doing this yourself.
Buying a good lawn mower (<—this is what we use) is totally worth the investment when you calculate the amount of money you will save long-term.
Not only is cutting lawn care services great for your budget but it’s good for you too! Cutting the grass, weeding and spending time outdoors is healthy too!
11. Cleaning Services
Got a cleaning company coming out to your place to clean your home?
With a little planning and scheduling I’m sure you can totally take care of doing this yourself and save yourself a heap of cash.
Cleaning your home when you don’t have the time might seem like an overwhelming task.
But, breaking up tasks and doing small things every day can really help eliminate the need for a cleaning service altogether. Trust me, your budget and wallet will thank you!
12. Dining Out
Dining out whether it be fancy meals or convenience foods costs a ton of money.
If you’re eating out a lot and still spending a small fortune on grocery you might want to reconsider how many times you order take out.
If you haven’t already read my post about brown bagging lunch you absolutely should.
Making one simple change (i.e taking a packed lunch to work or school every day) can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars.
Actually, cutting this expense from your budget can accumulate to a HUGE amount of money over the long term.
In that post about brown bagging lunch I discovered that by brown bagging lunch alone you can save the equivalent of a down payment on a home!
Related Reading: 5 easy ways to save thousands by brown bagging lunch
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