16 Things to Cut From Your Budget To Help You Save a Couple Thousand

Stephanie Allen

Couples making Budget

Could you use a couple of thousand dollars in your bank account to pay bills or build a nest egg? Most would say yes. Saving that kind of money may seem daunting, but it’s easier than you realize. 

You probably spend money each day on things that are nice to have but that you don’t need. It may seem like a few dollars here and there, but those dollars add up over time. Reducing or cutting these things out of your budget quickly adds to big savings.  

1. Cancel Subscriptions

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Do you have subscriptions to print or online magazines and newspapers you don’t have time to read? Do you subscribe to multiple television and music streaming services? 

Choose the essential magazines and streaming services and cancel the rest to save money. If you want to subscribe to them later, take advantage of new subscriber discounts. 

2. Use Refillable Water Bottles

reusable water bottle
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Buying individual water bottles every day can be costly. Purchasing them by the case is cheaper, but both are bad for the environment. 

Using refillable bottles saves money and also means there’s less plastic being disposed of. Add up the cost of single-use bottles, and it may surprise you how pricey they are over time. 

3. Cut the Cord

Couples cuddling while watching tv
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It’s not an exaggeration to say that cable television costs are high. They seem to get more expensive each year. 

Instead of paying a high cable bill, subscribe to a less expensive streaming service that includes live TV. That way you can still watch your local channels and premium content for less money. 

4. Buy Generic

Man buying shoes
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Buying name-brand foods is normal because they’re familiar, and you know the quality you’ll get from them. If you’re not accustomed to purchasing generic foods, you may be wary of the taste and quality you’ll get.

Believe it or not, many generic food products are made by the same manufacturer as name-brand products. You’re not sacrificing quality or taste in buying generics; you’re paying for the label with name-brand foods. 

5. Credit Cards

Young woman holding credit card
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Unless you pay your credit card balance in full monthly, you’re paying interest on the balances. The larger the balance, the more interest accrues. 

Use cash or debit cards instead of credit cards to pay for routine purchases. Save the credit cards for urgent or emergency expenses, and pay them off as quickly as possible. 

6. Pack Your Lunch

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If you routinely buy your lunch every workday, try this experiment. Save your receipts for a week, and see how much you’ve spent. Calculate the totals for a month and a year, and the amounts may surprise you.

Next, go to the grocery store and buy enough lunch foods for a week. Calculate the total for a month and a year. Compare the amount to the cost of dining out for lunch. See the difference? Pack your lunch instead.

7. Restaurants

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There’s no denying that dining out is fun. Having someone else prepare and serve your meals is a treat that gets expensive if you go out frequently.

You don’t have to deny yourself the restaurant experience, but avoid dining out multiple times a week. Dining out, even at fast food restaurants, should be the exception and not the rule. 

8. Late Fees

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Paying certain expenses late, like credit cards and cell phone bills, often results in penalties for not paying on time. These extra fees can be avoided with a little bit of planning.

Making payments on the bill as soon as it’s received immediately eliminates the threat of late fees. Setting up automatic payments before the due date is another worry-free approach that saves money. 

9. Pay Off High-Interest Debt

paying off debt

Calculate the annual percentage rates (APRs) of your store credit cards, personal loans, credit cards, and private student loans. You’ll see paying them is tantamount to throwing money away. Except for the ultra-rich, who can afford to do that? 

Use store and personal credit cards sparingly and pay off the balances in full each month, if possible. Take out personal loans when needed and pay off or refinance private student loans. 

10. Refinance Your Mortgage

refinance mortgage
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Refinancing your mortgage can save thousands of dollars a year. If the current loan carries a high-interest or adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), it’s time to shop around. 

Check to see if your current lender offers a fixed-rate mortgage at a lower percentage. If not, look into other banks and mortgage companies. Don’t forget credit unions, which frequently have competitive loan rates.

11. Lower Your Car Insurance Costs

touchscreens in cars
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Car insurance isn’t just a good thing to have in the event of an accident or other incident. It may be required depending on which state you live in.

There are numerous ways to lower your insurance costs. Contact your insurer to take advantage of any discounts. Check other insurers for cheaper rates. Increase your deductible and keep your driving record clean. 

12. Make Coffee at Home

Man brewing coffee
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Need that morning cup of coffee to get your day started? Save yourself the hassle of waiting in line and save money by making your coffee at home instead of going to the coffee shop.

If you like coffee from a particular chain, many sell K-cups or bagged coffee in their shops or at the grocery store. A bag of coffee or a box of K-cups pay for themselves in no time. 

13. Change Cell Phone Plans

long distance phone calls
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Opting for the highest tier unlimited cell phone plan comes with perks. How many of those add-ons do you need or even use? 

Search your cell phone carrier’s website for lower-tiered plans that meet your requirements. Prepaid cell phone plans are also an option to keep your monthly costs low. 

14. Shop at Thrift and Consignment Stores

Woman purchasing in Thrift store
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The stigma once attached to shopping at thrift and consignment shops is no longer. Shopping for gently used clothing and home furnishings has become all the rage.

Considerable savings can be found on designer items sold for a fraction of the price at thrift and consignment stores. As a bonus, thrifting is a sustainable way to shop.

15. Buy In Bulk 

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Unless you use them quickly or can freeze them, fresh and perishable foods are best purchased in smaller quantities. Non-perishable food and other dry goods are a different story. 

Buying dry food and household items in bulk saves money in the amount spent per unit compared to smaller sizes. You also save money by not making as many trips to the store. 

16. Limit Food Delivery 

Food delivery apps
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Getting food delivered to your house is more convenient than cooking. Today’s delivery services make it easier to order from different restaurants. 

The convenience of home delivery can become an expensive habit if you’re placing orders more than once or twice a week. Limiting deliveries to a few times a month and preparing meals at home is easier on your wallet.

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