Making New Year’s resolutions for your budget is easy, but following through is a different story. The number one reason most resolutions fail is because they are unattainable. That’s why it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself. Here are a few simple ideas to trim down your budget and support your progress in the Freedom Debt Relief program.
- Dine at home
It’s true. Eating out often costs more than eating at home. Dining out can be a nice luxury and a time-saver, but it can really add up. Even if you hate cooking, it pays to polish your cooking skills and learn how to make a few simple recipes at home. Resist the temptation to order take out or pop into a fast food joint. Instead, make large dishes over the weekend, and pack the leftovers to enjoy the rest of the week.
- Cut your cable bill
If you only watch a few shows, then paying for a fully loaded cable package is extra weight on your budget. Services like Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube can satisfy your TV cravings for a reduced cost or even for free. Watching less TV can also lower your electricity bill—a double savings whammy!
- Get creative this winter
There are plenty of free and inexpensive ways to keep your family entertained this year. Aside from reading and playing board games, why not try a treasure hunt? It costs virtually nothing and just takes a little time to plan. Use envelopes to hide the clues and lead the participants to an awesome prize at the end.
- Rethink your gym membership
If you’re using a gym membership less than twice a week, you’re likely throwing your hard-earned cash out the window. Besides, there are plenty of ways to work out and not pay a penny. If you’re serious about exercising, try following a DVD fitness program at home. Of course, it’s always free to run or walk outdoors too.
- Only heat the rooms you use
Heating your home may be one of the more expensive components of your utility bill. Luckily, making simple adjustments can reduce your energy consumption overall. Turn down the thermostat and use a space heater to keep yourself warm. Remember to unplug electrical devices when not in use. They’ll continue to draw power which adds unnecessary expense to your bills.
- Install LED lights
If you haven’t updated the light bulbs in your home, consider switching to LEDs. They’re much more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and last a long time. Extra tip: When comparing bulbs, look at the lumens, not the wattages. Lumens indicate the actual amount of light emitted by the bulb.
Chances are you’re overpaying for necessities and luxuries you can live without. With just a few tweaks to your budget, you can save money, adopt better habits, and continue to improve your financial health, even after you’ve completed the FDR program.