Making a budget is tedious. It is almost impossible to plan on how much you are going to spend. Life is chaos and planning in chaos puts the "fail" in the saying, "Even the best laid plans fail."
Instead of planning on what you are going to spend, the more effective method is to stop spending in places you might already be wasting money.
While hindsight is 20/20, you should apply the wisdom of it when possible. Here are 9 things we suggest you can cut out to save money the quickest.
1. Premium Cable Channels
With Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime at most everyone's finger tips, paying tons of extra money for premium cable channels is a waste. Although you may not get to see Game of Thrones the night the new episode premiers, you will save some serious coin.
2. Dining out (especially fast food)
Dining out is convenient for sure. Sometimes making breakfast, lunch and dinner can be a lot of work especially in the hustle and bustle of the day. Still, there is no way to consistently dine out and save money. Save the dining out for the sometimes.
3. Data Overages
If you consistently go over you data plan, you are probably paying a significant amount of overage charges. Check with your provider to find out what the cost of raising your monthly limit compared to continually paying overages.
4. Pre-Made Meals
I am a big proponent of home cooking. I work 60 hours a week at least, so the lure of dining out or getting pre-cooked meals from the store is definetly there. What I have found is Crock Pot meals and simple meals like baked chicken make it incredibly easy to fight the attraction of easy meals and save money.
5. Dry Cleaning
If you have ever experienced walking into a closet full of dry cleaned shirts and pants you understand how difficult this one is. However, it is incredibly costly and decadent (to say the least). While productivity experts may tell you letting someone else do your laundry is a good thing, if you are trying to save money it may not be a good idea.
6. Premium Cheese and Meat
I will guarantee you that if you go get yourself a few good cookbooks, you will be eliminate all three of the big food related blackholes. I am a huge fan of good bleu cheese and goat cheese, but the minute I cut them out my food expense dropped by almost 10 bucks a week. That's more than 500 a year. It's just cheese after all.
7. Aimless Driving
You are angry, excited, frustrated or bored. What do you do? You take a drive. Unless you drive a Prius none of us can afford putting loads of pointless miles on our vehicles. Even if gas really does hit 2 dollars a gallon.
8. Expensive Coffee
While Starbucks may be notorious for how expensive it is, Dunkin Donuts can really get you with their premium drinks too. Coffee is coffee and I can guarantee you just a regular cup of joe will get the day started just as well (how do you think this article is getting done). Better yet, invest in a travel mug and brew it at home.
Don't kill me. A nice bottle of alcohol and case of beer should be treated as a luxury. Going to the bar is even worse for any bank account. There is something about alcohol that breeds generosity and this kind of generosity can be bank busting.
You don't have to cut them all out, but try a few and reap the savings.