Personal Finance

Five ways to cut down your budget

Take a few simple tips to stay away from the credit card and stay on budget.
Take a few simple tips to stay away from the credit card and stay on budget. AP

The benefit of a great budget is that it can start to work like a well-oiled machine. However, don’t forget to go back and revisit every few months to make sure you’re not spending unnecessary money. Just because you have something budgeted, and have the money for it, doesn’t make it necessary. Here are some examples of places you could trim your budget.

Revisit your subscription services

Subscription services are a huge culprit of disappearing money. They add up quickly in small amounts usually, and sometimes they end up being services we rarely use. Or services that could be bundled for a lower price point. Start with streaming services. If you’ve accumulated four or five different streaming subscriptions over time, take a minute to determine if you’re using them all, and if you are, is there a better option out there that combines all your needs into one lower monthly payment?

Call your service providers

Sometimes adjusting your budget can be as simple as asking. If you call your cell phone provider or internet service provider and discuss your service charge, you may be surprised what they’re able to do for you. Especially if you’re a loyal customer with a good history of on-time payments, you may be in luck.

Adjust your entertainment numbers

An easy way to shift your budget to be more savings oriented is to lower your allowance for entertainment, like eating out, going to the movies, or travel and concerts.

Re-evaluate your income

Is it possible that your income has changed? Maybe you’ve begun picking up extra shifts, a second job, or received a windfall. All of these would impact your income versus expenses ratio, and should be accounted for.

Start tracking your spending

If you’re really trying to change your budget, start being meticulous about tracking your spending. When you account for every dollar spent, you may be surprised how your habits have changed, or that what you originally allotted for a certain budget category may not be accurate any more.

Budgets are meant to keep us on financial track to our goals, but they’re also meant to be flexible to our daily lives. As our habits and situations change, our budgets should, too. Keep an eye on yours and make sure to evaluate every few months to be certain you’re getting the most from yours.

Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.

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