Now that you’ve calculated your 3-month number, it’s time to focus on what you can change. If your 3-month number was in the positive, you’re on the right track and that should be very exciting for you. For most of us who start the budgeting/financial independence journey, we’re getting our finances in order and bettering our lives. Below I mapped out my top 5 suggestions on how to cut down your monthly expenses. I chose these 5 because I made these choices and have seen a positive increase in my monthly numbers.
Between February 2015 (right after the Superbowl) and August 2017, I didn’t have cable. It just wasn’t worth it, I was spending an extra 50 dollars a month and the amount of cable we were watching just was not worth it. Call your cable and internet providers and ask what they can do to decrease your monthly bill. Do the research into their competitors and be ready to switch if necessary, as long as the competitor has a better price for the same service. I ended up getting cable back in August 2017 because with our new provider we were offered the addition of cable to our internet for only 10 dollars a month more. We feel like 10 dollars a month is worth it for a few murder mysteries and some home improvement shows!
Cutting cable: I stopped cable and it dropped our monthly bill for internet and cable by 65 dollars.
Cell phone bill:
It seems like every month you open your cell phone bill and realize its crept up on you. Whether it’s overages, data increases or the 6 month introductory rate ended. If you’re like most people, you pay what the bill says because you need a cell phone. When’s the last time you checked how much data you actually use or if your plan is right for you. Call your provider and see what they can do to lower your rate. Just like with the cable bill, you might want to be ready to switch providers if they don’t budge. I switched cell phone providers from Rogers to Fido for my wife and I, and we were able to keep the same phone numbers which made the decision a no brainer.
Cutting cell phone bill: I switched my cell phone provider and cut the monthly price in half saving us 120 dollars a month.
Bank and credit cards:
I have been with my bank, CIBC for 12 years and there has been something to be said about customer loyalty at it. I was able to negotiate not paying service fees for my chequing account 4 years ago. I do know that if you contact your bank or credit union and ask what they can do for you, it won’t hurt. I called my credit card company in January 2018 after missing a payment by 1 day. I told them I mixed up the 12th for the 13th and they immediately refunded the interest for missing the payment. I was then asked if they could do anything else. Jokingly, I asked if they could reimburse the $129 annual fee on my credit card and he said he would! It never hurts to ask.
Banking fees: My credit card fees were $99 for the primary and $30 for the secondary card. My service fee per month was $13.90 per month. Together they equal just under $25 dollars a month saved.
Cut your bad habits:
Some are obvious for health reasons and some not so obvious but they put a huge dent in your wallet and financial plan. I’ll start with the easy one, smoking. The average yearly cost for someone who smokes a pack a day will be between 2,000-2,500 dollars. (assuming 15 cigarettes in a pack at 12 dollars a pack). Another costly bad habit is alcohol. I do enjoy the odd drink here and there but having even 2-3 drinks a day can really add up, especially if you’re out for dinner or with friends. Cutting down on alcohol could save you 100 dollars a week.
The last bad habit I’m focusing on is going out for coffees, lunch and dinner while at work through the week. The amount you could save by packing your lunch 4-5 times a week really adds up quickly. I am big on Starbucks coffee and have had too many nights where I would rather head to bed then prep my lunch.
Bad habits: I am not a smoker or a big drinker but I did cut down on coffees and lunch while at work, saving myself a weekly average of $48 dollars (7 coffees a week at $3.40 and 2 lunches at $12 a piece). Almost $200 a month saved!
Money comes out of your account every single month and sometimes it’s just not worth it. Two that immediately come to mind are gym and magazines. I have been guilty of both and have since cut both off. I am able to workout at work and try to be active with my family on my days off so it wasn’t that hard for me to stop the gym membership. If you insist on keeping your gym membership, look for one that costs less because there are big savings to be had.
Magazines aren’t for everyone but I was subscribing to Moneysense magazine and really looked forward to it every month. It was a magazine that focused on investing, real estate and personal finance. They stopped printing so the choice was made for me but I started saving $12 dollars a month! (check Moneysense Magazine online, lots of good information every month)
Have you found other areas to cut down costs? Let us know.
The information provided is opinion and for informational purposes only. It should not be considered financial advice. We are not your financial planners and have not considered your personal situation or needs. DIY Wealth does not make any guarantee or other promise as to any results that may be obtained from using our content. Your use of the information received is at your own risk.