By Younas Chaudhary
With inflation at 8.26%, and rising costs of groceries and other essential items, here are 10 ways you can tighten your belt starting NOW!
- Scrutinize your monthly subscriptions and cancel those that you do not use.
Are you subscribing to Hulu, HBO Max, Netflix, Prime, Spotify, ESPN, Disney, YouTube and so many other programs and you are on autopay? Realistically, how much time do you have to watch these programs?
Be prudent and immediately cancel all those programs that you are not using. Little things add up, for example, each subscription can cost you hundreds of dollars annually that you could easily allocate somewhere else.
- Do not buy a car in debt, do not lease one.
Do not buy a new car by taking on debt unless it creates business for you. Keep in mind as it rolls out of that fat lender’s lot, it has lost at least 20% of its value. Never lease a car as certain salespeople will fleece you. Simply buy a car when you need one. If you are desperate, know that it is easy to get swindled by slick salespeople who will talk you into desperation as if there are no cars being manufactured anymore. They will talk of supply chain woes, COVID in China, and stories of huge demand and less inventory. You must look at all options before you decide on this big-ticket item especially during a recession.
And, for those who think they will solve climate change tomorrow morning with an electric car purchase, think twice before taking that huge debt. I live in Texas where there is a gas pump at a stone’s throw and on average it takes only a few minutes to fill your tank.
- Mattress is old? Hang on to it.
Never follow buying habits coming from a culture of spending that will tell you to buy a new mattress every Labor Day because that’s when dealers give discounts. Hold on to that old mattress, nothing will happen.
- Save on utility bills – gas, water, and electricity.
Keep a close watch on how you are using water, gas, and electricity. If you have sprinklers, make sure there are no leaks. Check for water leaks regularly and turn off lights unless in use. Turn your thermostat up one degree in the summer and down one degree in the winter. You probably will get used to the difference quickly and save money in the long run.
- Build an emergency fund and get on a budget today!
You must always have 3 to 6 months of take-home pay sitting in your emergency fund. Remember, use it only for an emergency and not eating at a restaurant.
- Put an immediate freeze on all online buying.
This advice will make you think that I am living in another world, but I can guarantee that you will save a lot by ending online shopping. This is temptation from the devil who wants to take you on a web cruise to empty your pockets quickly.
7. Do not be tempted by impulsive buying at the grocery store.
Standing in line at the grocery store? Pay for what is already inside your cart and do not add candy, chewing gum, lip balm, and all the nonsense lined up on the cashier’s aisle. Resist temptation.
- Use coupons and look for deals.
Be a coupon hunter and get the most of everything using sale prices and coupons.
- Cook at home and reduce eating out.
Every 23 seconds an individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the United States. Restaurants and drive-throughs add needless sugar, fat, sodium, and negatively impact your health. I do not need to emphasize why you need to eat at home rather than eat junk from outside. Cooking and eating at home is cheaper, healthier, and makes you live longer!
- Shop for discounts on everything from car insurance to home insurance.
If you have been with the same car insurance carrier or broker for the last decade, it is time to start shopping to save hundreds of dollars every month. Negotiate and look for cheaper rates from different insurance brokers and carriers. Blessings!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.