These days, more and more people must strain their wallets to keep up with the demands of modern life. This can make it impossible to build up savings, pay down debt, or otherwise escape the cycle of paycheck-to-paycheck living. If you find yourself wishing for some extra wiggle room in your weekly budget, here are some easy strategies for stretching your dollar.
1. Pare Down Monthly Subscriptions
If you have multiple subscriptions attached to your name, take some time to evaluate which ones are truly necessary. Ditch subscriptions that you don't use on a regular basis, and eliminate subscriptions that have a free or cheaper alternative.
2. Cook Meals at Home
In most cases, cooking your own meals with ingredients you already have on hand will be cheaper than eating out at a restaurant or ordering take-out. This is because a single restaurant meal can cost the same as a week's worth of groceries. To curb unnecessary spending, focus on eating most of your meals at home and save restaurant outings for special occasions.
3. Shop at Wholesale Level
Shopping wholesale gives you the ability to buy in bulk, which often results in spending less per unit on an item compared to retail prices. To take advantage of this strategy, stock up on household necessities, health and beauty products, and nonperishable foods.
4. Pay With Cash
Some vendors may offer a small discount if you pay with cash, or they may add a nominal fee for paying with a card. Using cash also makes it easier to “see” how much you're spending in a day. When you develop a habit of only spending the cash you have on hand, you will be less likely to reach for your debit card for an impulse buy.
5. Drive Less
Considering gas and wear-and-tear on your vehicle, the cost of driving your own car can be significant over time. Instead of hopping in your car for every errand, try walking or biking to any destinations that are within a reasonable distance of your home.
6. Switch Insurance Companies
Your home, auto, or renter's insurance is undoubtedly important, but it's possible to minimize how much you spend on monthly premiums. In all likelihood, you can find a cheaper insurance plan than what you already have. Shop around for quotes from multiple companies. You can also work with your existing company to switch to more basic levels of coverage.
7. Adjust Your Thermostat
Adjusting your thermostat two degrees in either direction can save you pennies on the hour, which can add up to huge savings at the end of the week. Focus on maintaining a comfortable indoor climate, and try putting on a sweater or opening a window before resorting to changing the thermostat.
8. Reduce Debt
Carrying debt month-to-month comes with a hefty interest fee. To maximize your finances, prioritize paying off your debt as soon as possible. In addition, you should avoid situations where you can put yourself in debt, such as purchasing things with your credit card or taking out loans.