10 Expenses that Can Play Havoc on Your Finances

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If you want to lower the amount you pay on your household budget, think about cutting the following expenses. For example, cable is a major expense; however, some homeowners cannot envision life without the amenity in their home. However, there are other expenses you can reduce that can even out your budget overall.

1. Cable – The average cable bill costs about $80 per month. However, the Internet can be used to replace the expense. If you only watch certain shows anyway, then paying full price for a cable package might impact your pocketbook or wallet less. If you can go without cable, you can replace it with such services as YouTube, Netflix, Roku or Hulu.

2. Cellphone – Why sign up for some expensive two-year contract when cellphone carriers offer plans with no long-term contract commitments? For example, some carriers offer plans that begin at about $35 per month compared to unlimited plans that can cost as much $120 per month. You will save almost $100 per month by going with a less expensive carrier.

3. Energy Usage – Did you know that you can save as much as 3% on a heating bill for each degree you lower your thermostat? For example, if you regularly set the thermostat at 75 degrees but lower it 3 degrees, you can save almost 10% on your utility bill. That amounts to almost 10% on the dollar.

4. Transportation – If you live in an urban area, taking public transportation can save you on both gas and auto repairs. It also cuts the cost of insurance. You can substantially reduce your expenses by taking a train, bus or subway versus paying for an auto car insurance each month. That also includes the parking tickets you may receive every once in a while.

5. Dining Out – Dining out can also cost a good deal more than cooking at home. Therefore, if you do not like to cook, think about preparing fast microwave recipes. Avoiding the temptation to eat out or drop in at a fast food restaurant can make a significant difference in what you spend overall.

6. Gym Memberships – Gym memberships can also put a strain on the budget by about $50 per month, which, in turn, adds up to hundreds of dollars annually. You actually can work out for free by taking advantage of a company wellness program or following a fitness program on a DVD at home. It’s also free to walk or run outdoors.

7. Groceries – On average, it costs between $550 and $1,075 per month to feed four people in a household. If you want to cut your food costs, try shopping at a warehouse club where you can purchase bulk items for less. Just avoid those large bags of perishables. Don’t buy items that can expire in a short period.

8. Daily Coffee – While you might think that enjoying a morning coffee is a nice way to begin the day, the cost can also be prohibitive. Paying out $4 each time can also hurt the budget. Why not make your own favorite brew by paying for a coffee or latte machine?

9. Prescription Medications – Paying for prescription drugs can also hit you in the pocketbook or wallet. Generic drugs are the bio-equivalents of brand-name medications. However, they cost about 85% less. If you sign up for a pharmacy discount card, add about another 10% in savings.

10. Shopping – Reduce your shopping costs by taking advantage of online discounts or becoming a member of an association like the AARP. Students, veterans and seniors should all take advantage of the shopping discounts that are provided to them in retailers and online.