Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Have you overlooked your budget? Losing money? Look for these hidden things that break the budget and learn how to avoid them.
Hidden Things That Break The Budget and How to Avoid Them
Check you out! You created an amazing budget. Suddenly, your hunk of a budget isn’t looking so hot with all those unexpected monthly expenses.
And you worked so hard to create a budget that works best for your family and yet something is not right. Today I want you to take a dig deeper at items that may, in fact, be draining your budget. There may be some hidden things that are breaking your budget.
Keep in mind, the budget that you have created each month should be flexible. Life changes and sometimes emergencies happen. But looking at line items that are costing you more money, in the end, is just SMART! Each dollar saved is a dollar put away for those items that you were not expecting to buy.
Your furnace just bit the dust. (ouch! that could really hurt and break the budget)
Hey! You got this. It was unexpected, but you have been working hard at creating a budget that works best for your family. Let’s get straight for a moment and dig even deeper into those items that may be costing you more than you realize.
First thing is first – Give yourself some grace.
Most of us have them. The key to using credit cards each month is simple…PAY THEM OFF! If you’re not paying off your credit card balance each month, you’re overpaying for the purchases you charge on your cards.
So, what’s the problem with carrying a balance? It simply boils down to three letters: APR. (or annual percentage rate). APR means in the simplest terms that this is the price you will pay for borrowing money.
The interest each month on a credit card bill can actually be as high as 30% APR. YIKES!
A smart way to use credit cards: My husband and I have actually been using this method since we got married. We budget for our basics each month, groceries, gas, etc. Then we use our credit cards to make those purchases. Paying them off each month. We specifically have chosen credit cards to earn us the most points back.
We take those points earns which equates to a dollar amount and use it too often to pay off that credit card. In the end, saving us money. I do know that this method will not work for everyone. I am sharing a great way to earn extra while maintaining a zero balance at the end of the month.
Want to know the best Credit Cards that earn the highest rewards? I listed a few below.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card – Earn 3% cashback in your choice category (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) – No Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar on all other spendings – There is a $95 annual fee, but this fee is waived your first year.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card – Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. No Annual Fee.
Takeout and Delivery Meals
If you are not planning these meals in your budget, now is the time to start. Often that quick trip to the cafe for breakfast once a week as a special treat adds up.
Did you know that the average American family eats out 3 times a week, spending between $225-$400 each week on restaurant food?
I don’t need to tell you twice that purchasing groceries from the store and cooking at home can save you loads of cash.
However, as a special night out with your family these restaurant meals should be treated as a special occasion. They also should be listed in your budget as well. My husband and I budget going out to eat twice a month with our family. We plan for it. It is no surprise that we spend $100 a month on a special treat.
Paying Full Price For Items
With so many strategies to buy items on sale and comparison shop across retailers, it’s CRAZY to pay full price. A good deal can save you and upwards of 50% off.
It is now time to think about becoming that frugal shopper. The time it takes you to research the items you will be purchasing, finding the best deal and save you an incredible amount of money.
Whether you are in a grocery store or a high-end fashion store at the mall. If you spend a few minutes preparing, you will find a number of store coupons, sales and even ways to price match to get much better prices. The price you pay is completely up to you. A little bit of legwork can pay off with a huge discount at the register.
You can start by checkout these money saving smart phone apps.
Doing all this will help you not to break the budget!
That Cable Bill
The competition to provide you with the best in home entertainment is on the rise. Right now, American subscribers spend more than $100 per month on pay-TV services. That is an extra $1200 a year. Now I know some of you are paying much more than that average price of $100.
It may be time to just cut the cord all together! Getting rid of cable altogether is the ultimate money-saving tip and will absolutely lower your cable bill. If you are ready and onboard to stop paying for cable, there are other options for providing you with some amazing shows.
I’m an advocate for cable cutting if you do it for the right reasons. Here are some services that can help.
- Mohu Sky Antenna – This is a digital antenna that provides many channels. Mohu makes some of the best antennas. You can find this antenna on Amazon or on Mohu’s site.
- Netflix – Netflix is the world’s leading subscription service for watching TV episodes and movies.
- Amazon Prime Instant Video – This is just part of our existing Amazon Prime membership. We use it for the free, two-day shipping, but it gives us a little more content we both like and can’t get on Netflix. Don’t have Amazon Prime? Here’s a 30-day free trial.
- Disney Plus – Get endless entertainment from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Starting at just $6.99 a month, this is a family favorite in our home.
- Sling TV – With Sling TV’s streaming services, you get to pick your channel lineup & personalize your TV experience. Start with the level that’s best for you, then customize with extras like sports, comedy, kids, news and more. Try 7 days free or start as low as $20/month!
In The End
All of these items are pretty normal expenses, but many of us simply forget to budget properly for them. It doesn’t matter how much money we make, it’s always a good idea to have an accurate budget that works.