Your circumstances can change overnight for any reason: job loss, illness, unexpected medical bills, the end of a relationship, or something like the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended countless lives. If your income is diminished, waiting for it to get better just makes things worse. Take a step back and consider whether you can eliminate some of the bills coming in. It can be hard to imagine changing your lifestyle, but it will give you back some control over your life. These are three of the best ways to cut down on expenses fast.
Cancel Your Cable
Life in a world without constant entertainment? We would never suggest such a thing. But there is less need for cable now that services such as Netflix and Hulu are probably already on your phone. If you have a smart TV, you can stream their programming there, on a laptop, or a tablet. Some of us have put our cable bills on autopay, and haven’t taken time to reflect that they can top $200. Even if you’re not ready to completely give up on cable, you might want to mention to a customer service representative that you’re thinking about it. You’ll find that your bill is suddenly very negotiable.
Budget for Food
You’ve already seen the financial benefit of not eating out as frequently. If you’re in the habit of multiple meals in restaurants a month, cutting back on those outings will yield results quickly. But you can go a step further and overhaul your entire food budget, maximizing your money for the most meals. Try one of these little fixes: extreme couponing, cooking from scratch, letting go of brand names, paying attention to sales, shopping in season, and freezing meals in advance. If you notice the change in your bank account, try combining some or all of these tips until your bills are more manageable.
Reconsider Your Car
You’re used to life with a car, but do you really need it? Can you still justify the costs? Your new situation may not require a car, and you can cut out all the expenses for maintenance, insurance, and gas. You may be working from home now, or not taking advantage of public transportation. You may want to try walking or bicycling—for your health and your budget. If you’ve been holding on to a luxury car out of sentimentality or pride, you can sell it for a substantial influx of cash. Or if your family has two cars, maybe there are ways that you can share one. This one change alone could get you through a tough time.
Learning a few ways to cut down on expenses fast can produce an immediate effect on your situation. Even if your finances recover more quickly than expected, you may find that you prefer letting go of those extra expenses permanently. Indulgences are never worth more than your peace of mind.