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How to Reduce Your Budget

written by: Nicki H•edited by: DaniellaNicole•updated: 6/29/2011

Are you wondering how to reduce your budget? Many families focus on cutting back on entertainment spending or other small costs. However, targeting the largest spending categories will help you save money month after month.

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    Cut Housing Experiences

    According to MSN Money, American households spend 32 percent of their income on housing. Interest rates are still low; consider talking to your existing lender about refinancing. Often times, they don’t charge closing costs, which makes it free (or low-cost) to lower your monthly payment.

    Also, target household expenditures on electricity and water. Before running a load of dishes, make sure the dishwater is full. Instead of using traditional light bulbs, try energy efficient bulbs (and turn off the lights when you aren’t using them).

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    Lower Transportation Costs

    Transportation makes up 18 percent of American’s budgets, according to MSN Money. Trim transportation costs by joining a carpool if you commute long distances. Planning errands better can also help. Group activities in similar locations together.

    Raising auto insurance deductibles can also lower transportation costs. Talk with your agent about other possible discounts as well. For example, if you previously drove a high amount of miles because of commuting (and now you don’t), your insurance company may provide a discount.

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    Cut Food Costs

    How much food do you throw out every week? Try to minimize this amount by using everything possible before going grocery shopping. If you buy lunch at work, consider packing a lunch. When grocery shopping, purchase fruits and vegetables that are in season; they’re less expensive.

    Unhealthy habits like smoking, eating high fat foods, or drinking soda are another way to trim expenditures. Instead, stock up on healthy fruits and veggies, which are less expensive.

    Also, consider cutting back on your daily latté. Buying coffee everyday can really add up. Scale back to once a week, or buy a fun coffee cup and make your own at home.

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    Minimize Service Expenses

    According to MSN Money, people wear a small fraction of what they own. Cutting monthly expenditures on clothing can help trim budget expenses. It doesn’t mean you can’t purchase clothing all together. Simply purchase it less often, and make smarter buys. Purchase classic pieces that don’t out of style.

    Are you still feeling like there’s nothing to wear? Have a clothing swap with friends to pick up some new clothing pieces. Thrift stores are also a great place to find gently used clothing items.

    Also, avoid dry cleaning, unless absolutely necessary. This can be very expensive. Instead of visit an expensive salon, consider making an appointment at a beauty school. A hair cut costs a fraction of the price, and students are under the careful supervision of an instructor.

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    Track your Success

    To best implement these tips on how to reduce your budget, make goals for cutting back on each spending category and track your success. If you don’t hit the goal the first month, don’t worry. Continue to brainstorm new ways to trim expenses from the category. Track your success every month. As long as expenses are decreasing, you’re headed in the right direction.