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How to keep Small Items from Killing Your Budget

As 2016 kicks off, it’s time to start planning our budget for the year. We all know that it’s important to pay attention to the top 3 expenses. For most of us, it’s housing, transportation, and food. If you want to see how your spending stacks up to others, here is an article that shows American spending by household income.

Once you’ve analyzed your top 3 expenses, it’s time to start looking at the small items that tend to kill your budget. Here are items you may consider reviewing:


Budget Eating Out

Some people include dining out in the food category, but many included it in an entertainment category. Many people eat out 3-4 times a week and most average $40. By cutting out just one of these dining out experiences, you can save $2,080 for the year.

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Budget Automobile Insurance

Each year, auto insurance tends to increase. When your insurance comes due, why not search around for a more affordable policy? Look at increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000. If your car is older and is worth less than $5,000, consider ditching your full coverage policy in favor of a collision policy, it can save a few bucks.


Budget TV Budget

Look at your cable bill and decide if you need all of the premium channels. If you’re paying for HBO, Showtime, and other premium stations, consider replacing that with Netflix or Hulu. Many TV providers like Dish and Direct TV offer a better rate for the first year if you switch. You normally have to commit to 2 years, but if you analyze your entire spend over 2 years, it may be a better option to switch. Bundling your TV and Internet may also save you a few bucks.


Budget Phone

Many of us buy more phone data that we need. Most carriers have an online portal where you can log in and see your usage. If you are paying for 5GB per month of data and use less than 1GB, you are leaving savings on the table.  Try to reduce your data usage and save a few dollars.

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After you’ve looked at your 3 major expenses, drill into the smaller expenses. If you’ve found expenses to trim that I may have overlooked, please share it below in the comment section.


Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

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