5 Simple Cuts to Curb Your Spending

5 Simple Cuts to Curb Your Spending

By Michael Peterson
In November 22, 2021

Living paycheck-to-paycheck is all too common. In fact, recent data indicate that three-fourths of American workers with salaries of $50,000 or less rely on each paycheck to make ends meet.

If you’re part of this (very large) group, chances are good that you’re also struggling with debt. To make a dent in your debt balance – or even pay it off for good – your best bet is to reduce your spending. By putting more money toward paying off debt than spending, you’ll pay off your debt faster and surrender less of your hard-earned money to interest.

The following are five real-world tips for making minor cuts to your budget. And these small snips can really add up to substantial savings.

Cut Dining Out

We all need food, but we don’t need to eat at restaurants! Sure, it’s a nice treat – but if dining out gobbles up a large helping of your discretionary spending, you’ll be able to save a lot each month by cooking more at home. This is a fantastic first step in cutting your spending.

Are you dining out because you’re short on time? Try prepping a week’s worth of reheatable meals to have at the ready. Are you more interested in the fancy fare that a restaurant provides? Try recreating those restaurant faves in your own kitchen. 

Cut Cable

Have you studied your cable bill recently? The fees you pay are exorbitant – especially if, like most people, you typically watch the same channels. There’s no need to pay a monthly cable bill to have access to 700 channels you don’t even tune into! 

cut cable

With the wide range of streaming services available today, you can pick and choose the channels you actually watch. Each streaming service has a monthly fee, but if you choose wisely, you can pay for two or three – which will cost a great deal less than an entire cable package.

Cut Impulse Buys

Prevent yourself from rushing into any purchases by implementing a 24-hour spending rule. If you see something you want to buy, make yourself wait 24 hours before making a decision. (Of course, you can always try a longer waiting period – say, a full week or one month.)

The rationale behind instituting a waiting period is that many times, you’ll realize you don’t need (or even really want) said item! In the moment, it looked great – but upon reflection, it’s just more clutter. And if you’ve waited diligently and decided, yes, you really DO want the item, you can be sure you’ve given it enough thought.

Cut Social Media Influencers

Following these “celebs” can cause you to spend frivolously. (Remember those impulse buys??) If you’re susceptible to “keeping up with the Jones’,” it can be difficult to appreciate what others flaunt without running out to buy something comparable. Taking a break from social media can be a refreshing change of pace.

The same goes for marketing emails. That barrage of messages from your favorite retailers, letting you know about their current promotions or latest gear makes it all too easy to click through and make a purchase on an item you didn’t know you needed. By unsubscribing from all those messages, you’ll remove the temptations.

Cut High-Interest Credit Cards

Do you know what you’re paying in credit card interest? The going rate these days on a new credit card is over 16%. This means if you carry a balance because your paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle can’t cover the entire bill, you’re contributing a lot of funds to your credit card company.

Give your lender a call to ask about a lower interest rate. You’d be surprised how often they are willing to negotiate this! If you’ve been working on paying down your credit card debt and making your payments on time every month, your lender may be amenable to an arrangement that works better for you. After all, they’d rather keep you as a customer, even if that means earning a lower rate, than see you transfer your balance to a different company.

If you’ve never done budget cut-backs like this, the process might feel strange (and almost daunting). But once you begin to make cuts, you’ll quickly start to notice other places to trim. The end result? You’ll have more money to allocate to your real priorities. If you’d like other options or further advice on budgeting or debt reduction, reach out to DebtGuru.com today. You’ll speak with a friendly financial advisor who will work with you to figure out the strategies that will work for you.

Michael Peterson

Mike is the author of “Reality Millionaire: Proven Tips to Retire Rich” and he has been published in a variety of local and national publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Deseret Morning News, LDS Living Magazine, and Physicians Money Digest. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of Phoenix.