At the heart of every frugal lifestyle, there is a budget. Chances are, you’ve visited that budget a number of times— tried to cut costs, adjust it month to month, or just confirming everything is as it should be.
While there are a number of ways you can try to stretch your budget, at some point you’re going to find yourself at a stand still with (seemingly) no where left to go. Here are a few tips on how to handle the moments when you have nothing left to cut from your budget, but you still need to figure out some changes.
1) Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Before you dive in to a serious analysis of your budget, try to think about what all you’ve accomplished so far! Chances are your budget has come a long way, and even though there are still improvements to be made, you should not write off your progress. Also, try not to compare yourself to others. Your income and expenses are not identical to anyone else, so don’t try to budget like them.
2) Cut your spending— again.
If you’ve cut your spending and you’re still coming up short each month, you’ll probably want to consider making some more cuts. Here are a few things you might not have thought of the first time around:
- Start coupon-ing and try to combine them with sales.
- Shop at the right places— Aldi, bulk stores, and thrift stores!
- Buy the store brands. It’s the same ingredients, guys.
- Reduce any energy costs and unplug any electronics you arent using
- Use public transportation
3) Need or want?
While you’re cutting your spending, the question you should ask about each item on your budget is, “Do I need this? Or do I want it?” The best examples for this are phones and cable. Do you really need 100 channels to watch at night for $50 month? Probably not. And, that isn’t to say you have to cut out television all together— Netflix is a great alternative, and much cheaper than cable. You can probably cut out a lot of luxuries this way; those new shoes, your unlimited data phone plan, and all that fast food you’ve been eating.
4) Boost your income
If you are really at a dead end road with your budget, you’re gonna have to explore options other than cutting costs. First, you should definitely inquire about a raise at your job. If that isn’t an option, you may consider supplementing your regular job. There are a lot of options for working from home or you can try selling some items that you’ve had laying around for a while.
If you’ve tried everything you can think of and you’re still not making ends meet, I encourage you not to be afraid to ask for help! There are a lot of programs in place to help those going through hard times, and you should contact your local government to inquire if you feel the need.
How do you guys cut costs when it seems like there is nothing left to cut? Share with me in the comments!