Do your New Year’s resolutions include getting your finances under control so you save for emergencies, large purchases, and life goals like going back to school, buying a new car or home, getting married, or starting a family?
If it’s been difficult to get ahead in the past, don’t be discouraged. We’ve all had financial setbacks, often without adequate savings to cover getting laid off, paying big medical bills, and covering other expenses. But that doesn’t mean you can’t finally get ahead in 2023 by trimming certain expenses or cutting some altogether.
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If you’re committed to paying off debt so you’re in a better financial position this year, start with these four expenses and surprise yourself with how much less you’ll spend each month.
1. Monthly subscriptions
Many of us got carried away with subscriptions to multiple streaming services when we were locked down and reluctant to go out in public due to the pandemic. Now that pandemic fears and precautions have eased, you don’t really need all those streaming subscriptions.
If you have four or five subscriptions averaging $15 each and cut all but one, that’s $45 less you’ll spend each month. Maybe you have music or podcast subscriptions you could pause or cut, too, to save even more.
Read more: Cut Out “Junk Spending” to Save More Money
2. Convenience store purchases
You’ll never get ahead if you’re paying inflated prices on bags of chips, dips, toilet paper, cat food and canned goods at convenience stores on your way home from work. If you’re making daily stops at convenience stores for items you ran out of or just because it’s more convenient, you’re wasting a lot of money each month.
To spend less, make a list before you visit the grocery store each week and stock up on snacks, toiletries, pet food and other items you might pay double for at a convenience store. You’ll be surprised at how much less you spend, maybe even saving in excess of $100 a month.
3. ATM and cash advance fees
Hitting up the nearest ATM with your credit card every time you need cash means credit card cash advance fees can add up quickly. You’ll also pay higher interest on cash advance amounts, which your payments will automatically go towards first.
When you use your debit card at an ATM that isn’t owned by the card’s bank, you’ll pay a fee to your bank plus a fee to the bank that owns the ATM, totaling $5 or more for each transaction. Fortunately, all it takes to stop this bank-account draining habit is some advance planning.
Instead of tapping ATMs, figure out how much cash you’ll need for the week. Then withdraw it from your own bank’s ATM, drive-thru or lobby.
4. Dining out
In 2022, Americans spent an average of nearly $200 a month on dining out, according to credit and financial resource The Ascent. And that’s likely in addition to your weekly grocery bill.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of all dining out or takeout experiences. But preparing most meals at home and taking your lunch to work will free up a lot of extra money each month.
Don’t stop there
Once you’ve trimmed excess expenses — possibly even giving some the boot for good — look for more ways to save. Can you consolidate errands to use less gas? What if you cut your grocery bill in half by shopping at discount grocers such as Aldi or Savers?
Maybe you could spend more time on healthy activities to clear your mind and stay well like taking walks, bike rides or working out at the gym instead of sitting in front of the TV, mindlessly watching expensive streaming channels.
Once you see how much money you can save by cutting expenses and watching your spending, you’ll be well on your way to better financial health in 2023.
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How to cut costs now for a better retirement later
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