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Glass Budget Jar

There are two sides to the financial equation: income and expenses. The only way that you can improve your situation financially is by either increasing your income or cutting your expenses. Often times increasing your income can be a challenge, so here are 10 ways that you can trim your budget:

1. Cancel unused memberships

When was the last time you went to the gym? How often do you get a Netflix DVD in the mail? Do you go to Costco enough to justify the cost? These are some questions to ask yourself. If the answer indicates that you don’t use these memberships much anymore, you should consider cancelling them.

2. Ask your existing service providers for a better deal

I was able to this with my internet provider, satellite company and cell phone service. All I did was call and ask them how I could get a better deal. The internet company gave me about 30% off for a year because I was a “loyal” customer. The satellite company downgraded my package saving us roughly $20 per month. The cell phone company offered me a lower cost data plan which was about $15 less than I was previously paying.

3. Wait to use the washer, dryer and dishwasher

Most utility companies will charge you significantly less if you run these appliances in the off-peak hours. It varies from state to state, but here is an example of the off-peak hours by APS to get an idea of what type of savings is possible.

4. Take your lunch to work

This could potentially save you a ton of money each month. I easily save $3 per day by bringing my lunch to work which is a total savings of about $60 per month. If I eat out at lunch, I generally pay just over $6. If I brown bag it, I estimate the cost to be around $3 for a sandwich, pretzels, fruit, and nut mix.

5. Pay off your debt

This one is sneaky. But if you think about it, every month you have debt, that is more money coming out of your pocket and into somebody elses. See my previous posts on Paid Off $52,000 in Debt in 18 Months or Get Out of Debt Fast to see how to reduce your debt with a vengeance.

6. Combine your insurance plans

This is a great way to save money with little effort. My wife and I have most of our policies through one provider which includes insurance on our home and two cars. They give us a discount for having multiple policies with them. The bundled discount is so good that every time I have shopped around I can never find a better deal.

7. Do it Yourself projects

Instead of paying someone else to do something, consider doing it yourself. If you don’t know where to start, you can search for your project on Youtube or to see if someone has posted step by step instructions to help you learn how to do it.

8. Turn off electronics when done

This includes turning off your Blu-ray player, fans, computers, lights, just about anything that uses electricity. Every little bit helps, right?

9. Install a programmable thermostat

This was one of the first things I did when I bought my own place. I realized that the old thermostat would kick on whenever it dropped below the target temperature, even when no one is at home. After installing my Programmable Thermostat. I instantly noticed a decrease of around $15 per month in my electric bill.

10. Buy used whenever possible

This seems obvious but it needs to be said. Why pay full price for something that you could pay a lot less for? I recently bought a used Macbook Air for my wife for a little over $500. If I would have bought one new, it would have cost over $1,000. Now you might think that is risky to buy used, but there are broken ones selling on Ebay for $400. So if it doesn’t work out, I will be able to recoup most of the cost. Besides, if you buy a used product from a reliable manufacturer, chances are is that it will still have a few good years left in it.

What way will you choose to trim your budget?