Monthly expenses add up quickly, and they can become a stressor if you live on a tight budget. You should always put some of your income away into savings in order to have an emergency fund. However, if you don’t see room in your budget, you’ve got a problem.
We’ve told you how to save on monthly expenses before–lose the gym membership; kick the Starbucks habit; unplug appliances when you’re not using them. But there are still more ways to save! Take a look at these five unnecessary expenses you can cut to save money:
1. Cable / Internet Video Streaming
Watching your favorite television show, catching the big game and streaming a new movie are all fun leisure activities, but they could be weighing on your wallet. Cable and streaming services like Netflix are luxury items–meaning you don’t need them to survive. Cut these items out of your monthly expenses until you have more disposable income.
You may feel like you can’t live without your account, but there are alternatives. Seek online providers that offer free limited accounts, like Hulu. You can also visit the channel’s website to see some of your favorite prime-time shows. A lot of networks now have apps where you can watch the latest episodes on your smartphone.
2. Beauty Salons
You do need a haircut every once in awhile, but you don’t need to pay salon prices. If you live on a tight budget, getting a pricey new do can eat into your grocery allotment or end up as credit card debt.
Rather than visiting Fernando every six weeks for a cut and color, look for beautician schools. The stylists at these establishments are students. Because they are attending a school, you don’t have to pay stylist fees, so the price is dramatically lower.
Getting a haircut from an inexperienced person might scare you, but there are checks in place. Instructors with years of experience under their belts monitor the students closely. They often come in and do some of the cutting as well to show the students the correct technique.
You can also color your hair at home. Box dyes might not be as permanent, but they come at a fraction of the cost of salon color services. Furthermore, semi-permanent dyes still let some of your natural highlights show through, so you won’t lose dimension.
Smoking is unhealthy and expensive. If you buy a pack a day, you’ll spend about $150 a month. That can totally be used elsewhere. Plus, your lungs will thank you.
4. Credit Card Debt
Eating out, going to the salon and catching a movie are all luxuries that you might charge to your credit card. Avoid doing this if you don’t have the money to pay your balance in full every month. Many credit cards that don’t have an annual fee have very high interest rates.
By paying off your card over the course of several months, you are increasing the amount of money you spent. This waste is totally avoidable by staying on budget.
5. Eating and Drinking Out
Making food at home costs less money than eating out, plain and simple. For example, a glass of wine at a restaurant can cost upward of $8. You can buy a whole bottle for that price at a grocery store! Save money and cut your monthly expenses by making nutritious meals.