As a family of four, we are always careful about our spending’s. There are not many new ways to cut some of our expenses. On the other hand, there are many things that we have done in the last three years. Over these years, we have learned that “Every little dollar saved adds up to our savings jar.”
One thing that I don’t like when people talk about budgets is when they say “cut out the meals every day”. I think we should not cut on eating because we eat to live and exists. Yes, eating outside can be limited by cooking food at home! I don’t think me or my family have any extravagant daily habits, so cutting something out everyday meals does not work for us anymore. The things that I have done are realistic for me and us as a family.
Now check out different ways that I have used to lower our budget;
Take-away eating is a BIG NO NO
We as a family used to spend around $450 per week on food i:e almost $1500 a month. It was horrible and a massive leakage in our savings. I decided to reduce our outside eating budget. We would eat out every day (breakfast, lunch, plus dinner). We used to have different work and school schedules. Busy life made it harder for us to cook and eat meals, so we would regularly feed on the go. Now, we follow a strict schedule and find time to prepare and have fun with it. Till this date, we have saved around $1100 a month. We used to go to a lot of Mexican restaurants, and popular fast food chains honestly, but hey they’re cheap!
Yes, we have groceries with an average of $360 per month. We are more aware of what goes into our stomach, how much food consumption we actually have, and what is there in our fridge. Cooking food has helped us a lot to save money and avoid food wastage. Do you want to know my grocery spendings per month? Let me know. Happy to share.!
Buying a new car was a bad decision
Buying a new car continues to be one of the toughest lessons I have learned. In the year 2013, we purchased a new vehicle. Ahhh! I wish I could have done some research.! Let me know if you want to know my car buying failure story. But some good news was after I paid my car loan in the year 2017, I was literally on cloud nine since I saved almost $425 a month.
Entertainment expense cuts your wallet
We were, and we still are avid lovers of concerts, movies, music festivals, etc. My brother and I used to spend a lot on those. But, now we have limited those expenses and save a lot of money. We saved almost $20 per month.
I used to indulge a lot in parties and alcohol. But, then I got a lousy alcohol belly. I decided to give it a full stop. It has now given me a healthy lifestyle with lots of money saving. I saved $30 per month.
I increased our amount of repaying the car loan in later 2015. Due to this, my credit was paid off as quickly as possible. At present, our car insurance rates are already meager (Less than $400 every six months for my bumper to bumper covered 2013 car). Also, I am a safe driver, so no accidents or tickets were there on my license, which was also a factor for the lower insurance rate.
No Cable TV
These days everything is available readily on the internet. Cable TV providers are also coming in packages with the internet service provider. Initially, we had a cable provider that used to charge us $40 per month. But then we took Xfinity internet and TV deals for $18.36. It came with 108 channels that we loved and the internet speed of 125MBps. Negotiation is the key over here.
Our family is a big believer in using renewable sources of energy. Our home has solar panels that provide electricity for our home. It reduces our home bill by almost 50%. Similarly, we used to use the Air Conditioner for a more extended period, but then we decided to open windows while sleeping at night and also created a vertical garden that is helping us in Summer. Initially, our bill was 150$ a month, but now its almost 50$ a month.
Cell phone plan
I recently lowered our family cell phone plan by around $20 per month (it was 40$ per month previously). Not significant savings, but at $240 a year, it adds up. Also, we were not calling so much, so having a high calling, and the messaging plan was merely an overhead for us.
Not buying unnecessary stuff
Whenever I used to shop for any clothes, instead of purchasing the clothes I need, I used to end up buying unnecessary stuff. When I calculated, I used to end up buying sunglasses, bags, fancy shoes, etc. Arghh! Total leakage of money. Then I decided to plan my buy list. And accordingly, I ended up saving almost 70$ to 80$ a month.
Now, after having these countermeasures, how much did we save? In the end, we did cut out approximately:
$34,601 per year or $2883.46 per month.
It’s enormous, but yes, we have managed to save that much. And yes, please keep in mind that we are a family of four so, these savings are a godsend blessing for us.
All of the things above are going to sound materialistic, but it’s 100% true. We were wasting money before, but thankfully that did not go on for too long. The majority of our budget killers were food and my car. I’m so happy that it is over! We are also much healthier now that we have been eating at home. Since we have all of these savings every month, I was able to pay down my student loan debt faster, whereas before I barely even touched it. In the next couple of days, I plan on posting how I cleared my 40,000$ in 18 months. So please do watch out for that!
What are the different ways you have used to cut down your or your family’s budget?