One of the hardest obstacles a person faces when they are first creating a budget is what to cut from the budget. I think a lot of that confusion initially comes from the question, “Where is my money going?”.
Here is what we cut from our budget in order to put more towards paying off debt and figure out where your money is going.
Going out to lunch during the workweek and work happy hours.
The average lunch is $8 per day. If you purchase lunch every day, that is $184 a month! Starting to pack your lunch every day helps to avoid those extra purchases. The easiest way to do this, whether you are cooking for 1 or 6, is to cook extra! If you hate meal planning, and you are cooking every night, just make extra and pack up the leftovers for lunches and snacks! It has definitely been a lifesaver for us!
Full Priced Items
Honestly, we never pay for full price on ANYTHING! From groceries to underwear, even our bigger purchases. There are ALWAYS ways to save money, and to avoid paying full price! At the grocery store, I challenge myself to beat my saving percentage record. I saved 80% on a grocery purchase, and my total was under $70. I average between 50-60% but my goal is to save as much as possible. The easiest way to do that is to only buy items when they are on sale! In my opinion, just because you have a coupon, that doesn’t mean it is on sale. The item needs to be on sale and then I can purchase and use the coupon.
We started to choose to walk rather than taking the bus to different places. Walking is actually one of our favorite activities in the summertime. We walk around Chicago to see the sights and explore our amazing city. I was also able to change my schedule at work to mirror Tyler’s so I am able to drop him off in the morning and pick him up when I am off work. This saves us over $50 a month.
Honestly, we never eat out. I couldn’t tell you the last time Tyler and I had a date where we went to a restaurant just the two of us. It is expensive and we save so much by just eating at home. It is a bummer sometimes because the food in Chicago is amazing and there are so many restaurants, but we have goals!
Useless Purchases or “Stuff”
Tyler’s mom likes to kid around with me on this one. I basically have a rule that if it does not serve a purpose, we cannot buy it. So when we are shopping, and we find something we like that we had not planned on purchasing, we ask ourselves a couple of questions. 1) Do we need it? 2) What is its purpose? 3) Where is it going to go? 4) What will it replace? We normally determine the item isn’t needed and we walk out without the item with our money still in our pocket!
What did you stop buying when you started a budget? Have you made any more budget cuts? What do you not buy anymore?