Trimming the Fat: Where to Slim Down Your Budget

December 16, 2016
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Did you enjoy binge-watching the Gilmore Girls Revival on Netflix over the Thanksgiving holiday? Maybe you finally caught up on WestWorld with your DVR. Maybe you skipped the festivities altogether and ordered-in, it doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that all of these little things are costing you money, and it adds up, fast.


Hidden Costs

When you’re trying to save money on expenses so that you can pay your bills and breathe easy, cutting costs in any little way is essential to your endeavor. We need electricity, groceries and the internet. We need a roof over our heads. But we also pay for services we don’t necessarily need, they’re just things we want.


It’s easy to forget just what we pay for when we have signed up for automatic electronic payments. That $10 going to Spotify every month isn’t given a second thought, and it’s because we don’t see it.


Let’s imagine that you pay for the following entertainment services (basic plans only) on the average American’s $54,000 salary:



























If you pay for these basic entertainment packages, you are spending close to $50 a month just on streaming services. Here’s my question: do we need this many? It seems a lot of Hulu’s content is commercials, and AmazonPrime plays HBO content, two streaming services can get knocked out right there. Plus, some of these services are free, we only pay extra to avoid those annoying commercials strung between songs and videos.


With the average cost of rent falling somewhere between $500-$1,500 and excluding the cost of electricity, internet, groceries and other bills, it seems like we have enough left over for the absolutes: rent, bills and groceries. While it seems like we’ll have enough left over, it doesn’t mean we will.

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Luxury Goods

As stated in the paragraph just above, the average rent is between $500-$1,500. For argument’s sake, let’s say you are paying $1,000 for rent. Now consider how much your other bills cost. Do you have any school loans? What about auto loans? Are thinking about cutting back on your auto and renters insurance to save some money? Don’t! These are needed services. In fact, auto insurance is required by law. If you’re looking to save money, start with your luxury services. No one needs four content streaming devices, right?


Saving Money on Insurance

After you have determined which luxury items to forgo (are commercials that bad?) it’s time to try your hand at comparing auto and renters insurance quotes with comparison tools offered by sites like CoverHound. All you have to do is enter some general information about yourself and your living situation, and boom—you have a list of competitive insurance quotes from highly respected insurance companies such as Progressive and Allstate.


After you have gathered your quotes, it’s time to narrow down the selection from there. Look at what each policy is offering based on its price. You might want to throw out the most expensive of the affordable packages right away, but don’t. It might cover everything you need, while the low-cost (cheap) insurance package only covers a few things, and not even touch on what you’re really looking for.


Next, call the insurance company you have decided to go with and speak to a representative to try and get the premium lowered even more. Ask about discounts and mention that you are comparison shopping. The insurance agent will want your business and will do what he can to make you a happy customer, including lowering the premium cost.


And voilà, you’re saving money all over the place—look at you being all responsible!

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