Everybody is feeling the squeeze these days. No matter how much income you bring in, there never seems to be quite as much as you want — or even anything! — left over at the end of the month. What even happened to that last raise, bonus, or tax return? It all just evaporates into the ether of our daily lifestyle, recurring bills, and large expenses.
But you can do something about this. By taking control and putting just a little bit of focus on cutting costs, you can rediscover the power of your income and start getting ahead. Because if you’re like many of us, you could be doing a whole heckuva lot better just by making some small steps.
To get a bit more breathing room, try implementing the following methods. If you take action now and understand how to start saving money in the final quarter of 2019, you will be able to start the new year on the right path to a more fiscally sensible future.
Cook More Often
Given how busy we all are, it’s easy to eat out all the time. Whether it’s sitting down at a restaurant, picking up takeout on the way home, or simply firing up the app on your phone, it’s almost too convenient to not cook for yourself. And this is before we even discuss doing the dishes!
Still, the cost adds up quickly, and anybody can prepare good meals on their own at a fraction of the price. Sure, it is tough to find the time, but there are great resources out there that have nearly turned meal prep into a science. So consider it a challenge to improve in the kitchen and start cooking up a storm. As an added benefit, you will likely be eating a lot healthier too and might even see an improvement on your waistline.
Get Better Deals
Chances are, you’re currently overpaying for something. In some cases, you may simply be paying an outdated rate that you could improve with a five-minute phone call. Data plans and mobile service are one common area. Do you even know exactly which plan you have with your carrier? Is there something else available through your provider? Simply checking could lead to significant savings every month.
The same goes for TV and internet services. Companies like Cox, for example, have various packages that allow you to bundle and save — even in some cases helping you strengthen and improve the WiFi signal you use to stream, surf, and brown the internet. Don’t keep putting it off or assuming the package you have is the best available. Do a bit of looking around and you’re almost certain to find some savings.
Find Free Entertainment
We all love going to the movies, attending concerts, watching Netflix, and going to festivals. Unfortunately, the seemingly small price tag on all these things can add up quickly. One easy way to put aside some savings is to cut all this out. It doesn’t have to be forever. But if you just tell yourself you are going to cut out entertainment spending for awhile — three months, six months, or maybe a whole year — you’ll be surprised how much of a difference you’ll see.
And don’t worry: You don’t have to become a hermit. From live music and library events to dinner with friends and community theater, there are many great free entertainment options available. If you really explore all the options around, you may even find that there’s a whole world out there you’ve been ignoring. So turn this time not into a period of suffering but a game to discover as many creative new activities as you can.
2020 Vision for Saving
Cutting costs and saving money doesn’t have to be painful. A lot of the reason that your money vanishes so quickly in the first place is because you aren’t being mindful about expenses. Just by paying attention and trimming the fat, you can make a very noticeable difference.
Start by cooking more at home. Then see what options are available to lower the cost of key services like phone, internet/WiFi, and cable television. And keep up the momentum by going on a hunt for new, free activities that can take the place of your current (and likely stale) entertainment options.
Not only will these small changes help fix any current financial issues you’re having, but you may even be able to start putting away real savings. Whether you then put that toward a down payment, new car, great vacation, or larger emergency fund to increase your peace of mind, you are certain to be happy with the results.