Budget tips

Twenty-three budget tips to improve cash flows:

1. Pack your lunch: Save money and eat healthy.
2. Shop smarter: Create meal plans, use a shopping list, check ads, coupons, etc.
3. Less soda, more water: Refill five-gallon water bottles from your grocer’s water purifier.
4. Adjust the thermostat: Putting on a sweater won’t kill you. While you’re at it, turn off lights that aren’t necessary and consider switching to energy efficient bulbs.
5. Drive smart: Carpool, plan your travel, and don’t make unnecessary trips.
6. Take public transportation: Ride a bike or walk when it makes sense.
7. Downsize your car: Bigger, more expensive cars tend to depreciate faster, cost more to insure, and typically use more fuel.
8. Buy used: When it comes time to buy a replacement car, look for the gently-used, one-owner vehicle with low mileage and a history of consistent maintenance.
9. Review & adjust your phone plan: A phone is a necessity, but an excessive, expensive phone package isn’t.
10. Cut the cable: Do you really need 200+ cable channels? Do you really need cable?
11. Eliminate bank charges: Are you paying bank fees, late fees, service fees, etc.? Why? Shop banking institutions.
12. Pay less interest: Consider refinancing your mortgage if it makes sense.
13. Stop paying interest on your credit cards: Only charge what you can pay off, in full, the following payment.
14. Shop your insurance (home, auto, life, etc.) annually: Get the right amount of coverage, at the best price, with a reputable company.
15. Reduce your dry-cleaning bill: Use an iron whenever possible.
16. Save money on books: Why buy books when the library is free? Amazon and other websites are great for finding low-cost reads, especially for school. If you’re in college, don’t be afraid to ask your professor if an older edition textbook would work.
17. Keep your car clean for less: Wash your car at home (on the lawn), if possible, to save money and conserve water. Or use a low-cost, self-serve car wash.
18. Buy used rather than new: Amazon, eBay, thrift/gently used clothing stores, and local classifieds are great ways to locate items for half the price or less.
19. Reduce your property tax bill: Appeal your property taxes if you believe they’re excessive. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
20. Have fun for less: Take advantage of inexpensive entertainment such as free local concerts, festivals, art shows, etc.
21. Shop your gym membership: Don’t be afraid to compare and haggle to get the best price.
22. Pay bills for less: Use online bill pay rather than issue checks. Save money on stamps, envelopes, time; it’s safer, and it’s better for the environment.
23. Increase your income: We should always be looking for ways to increase our income. Just
a few simple ways include:

  • Ask for a raise: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The worst thing that can happen is your boss tells you no.
  • Is overtime an option: If so, how much would your monthly cash flows increase if you work an extra ten, twenty, or thirty hours per month?
  • Get a second job: There are plenty of employers looking for good, reliable part-time staff.
  • Turn a hobby into a profit: Enjoy making homemade jewelry, photography, woodworking, painting, etc.? There’s likely a market for your pastime and you can make a little money on the side, doing something you enjoy.
  • Find a better, higher paying job: There isn’t a successful, growing company that isn’t looking for hard-working, reliable, motivated employees.