10 Budget Hacks That Will Save You $1,000s

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Do you struggle to reduce your spending each month? There are many possibilities out there to cut the costs, you just have to know where to look.

Taking an honest look at your spending can go a long ways towards making a better life for yourself where you do not have to worry about money. Money conscious thoughts can become second nature.

Below are 10 budget hacks that can help you on your way to living a frugal and stress-free lifestyle.

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1. Cut The Cable

At the top of the list is cutting cable television. With all the options out there these days to watch TV over the internet there is hardly a reason to keep paying for cable. Just look at the cable companies these days. They are the same companies that provide internet service.

Is this a coincidence? No. The cable companies know they are being replaced by the internet, so they adapted to the changing times and are now the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) as well.

To replace cable you can watch many of your favorite television shows online from the network’s websites. If you are not able to find enough of your desired content there, you can always head on over to Netflix and get unlimited shows every month which even includes exclusive content.

Check out these products for ideas to replace cable:

Cost Savings: $600+ per year

2. Internet Service

After cutting your cable you will likely be reliant on the internet for cable’s replacement. This is okay, but you can look into your internet package and make sure it is optimized for your needs. ISPs offer many different packages based on usage. If you have a family of 5 and you are all streaming different shows on separate devices at the same time and you host your own website from a home server, then you will need a different package than a single dude living by himself. Call your internet company and make sure you are not overpaying for internet service.

Pro Hack: Call once per year near the end of your service agreement and ask about a lower price. You will be surprised how many times they will give you better pricing if you just ask. If that doesn’t work, you can always hint at leaving them, which entices them to offer a better deal on your current package.

Cost Savings: $100+ per year

3. Entertainment

When you are not at work, do you pay for your entertainment?

If you do, you are giving up hard earned money when there are near infinite possibilities of fun activities that are free for all. Here is a short list of fun activities that are free:

  • Hiking at the local park
  • Cycling
  • Walking around town
  • Swimming at the local lake
  • Swimming at the local stream or creek
  • Reading a book
  • Playing cards with friends
  • Playing board games
  • Etc, etc, etc.

There are so many activities you could be doing that are free. There is no need to go to the movies and spend $15 per person plus super expensive popcorn.

Cost Savings: $1,200+ per year

4. Mobile Phone Plan

The major carrier mobile phone plans are a joke! They are so outrageously expensive I have a hard time not laughing. I was morally outraged when I first learned that a friend was spending $180 per month on their cell phone bill for 2 people. How is that even possible?!!!

Needless to say, there is a better way. You can check out Republic Wireless, Google Fi, Vonage, or a myriad of other discount carriers. The most interesting service out there today is Google Fi which offers a full-on smartphone package starting at $20 per month and going up depending on data usage.

Cost Savings: $1,200+ per year

5. Groceries

Going to the grocery store should be the way that you save money from not dining out. However, if not done correctly, you can end up wasting a lot of food at home when it goes bad.

The first hack for grocery shopping is to never shop while hungry. Shopping while hungry results in lots of impulse buys you don’t need and probably won’t finish before it goes bad.

Second, if you have a hard time keeping to a reasonable amount of food, then you should be going grocery shopping with a list. The list helps to not forget what you need and not buy what you don’t need. It allows you time to reflect on what you need before getting bombarded by all the ads and products at the store.

Cost Savings: $600+ per year

6. Coffee

Coffee is a luxury. Period. But so many people love it and cannot go through the day without their cup of joe.

The reason coffee is expensive is that so many people buy it out at coffee shops where it is a true rip off of major proportions. Take for example Starbucks. The average cup of coffee at Starbucks is ~$5. This is one cup of coffee. If you get a cup of coffee every day during the week while going to work, you are spending $100 per month on coffee. A good bag of coffee from a wholesale store like Costco or Sam’s Club cost about $30 and will last more than a month at the same consumption rate as buying out at Starbucks.

The best thing you can do for your coffee habit is to make it at home. Don’t buy it out. Your budget and savings will thank you.

Cost Savings: $600 per year

7. Dining Out

Eating out at restaurants or even just grabbing food from the local fast food joint adds up quickly. In addition to the cost of eating out, is the fact that it is generally not as healthy as cooking at home, adding to your possible medical costs throughout the year. If you treat dining out as a luxury instead of a mainstay you will generate huge savings. Dining out does not have to be banned, it just needs to be limited so that you appreciate it more. You can also look at dining at cheaper restaurants instead of the fancier ones. If you must dine at nicer restaurants, they usually have budget conscious choices on the menu to help you reduce cost.

Cost Savings: $1,200 per year

8. Auto

Take a good look at your trips around town that you drive. Do they have to be taken by car or could you be riding your bike?

It is easy to start to substitute car trips for bike trips. Realistically, anything under 5 miles can be easily done by bike if you live in a relatively flat area. Even in the mountains, it is possible if you are truly committed to limiting your expenditures.

You can also apply the same Pro Hack from the internet to your car insurance each year. Do not let the car insurance company dictate the terms. You are in control. It is very easy to threaten to leave your current insurance company which results in you getting better rates. They will never remember from year to year if you do this annually.

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Cost Savings: $300 per year

9. Brand Name Products

When you purchase a brand name product you are paying mostly for the logo. Take a pair of Nike sneakers for example. A pair of Nikes easily cost $60, but an equivalent pair of Fila, the cheap brand that I tend to wear, cost $30. The difference? I didn’t get the cool “Swoosh” on my shoes. Functionality and fit wise they are the same shoes and likely made in the same factory in China.

Buying brand name products is how you “keep up with the Jones’s” not how you pursue financial freedom. Cutting out brand names and simply replacing them with cheaper alternatives can save 50% each purchase.

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Cost Savings: $600 per year

10. New Products

Buy used. Check out your local thrift store. Check out Ebay and Craigslist. There are tons of used products out there and most of them are practically new. Why pay the premium for a new product when you can let someone else pay the first 30% of the value for you and you pick can pick it a few months later at a steep discount?

My favorite example of used goods is the suit that I wear for interviews and presentations. Suits are incredibly expensive and need to be fitted to really look good. I am 6’2″ and 160 lbs, so not a normal height and weight, but when I visited the local thrift store, I found a suit that fit like a glove and looked like $1,000,000. Well, maybe not a million bucks, but it looked and fit very good. I paid $8. That suit probably cost the original owner $300+.

Keep a lookout on your local used markets and you will find deals out there for the things you need. It can easily save $1,000 throughout the year.

Cost Savings: $1,200 per year

TL;DR All Budget Hacks

Budget HackMonthly SavingsAnnual Savings
Cable$50$600
Internet$8$100
Entertainment$100$1,200
Mobile Phone$100$1,200
Groceries$50$600
Coffee$50$600
Dining Out$100$1,200
Auto$25$300
Brand Name Products$50$600
New Products$100$1,200
Totals$633$7,600

As you can see, there are lots of opportunities out there to hack your way to a better life. If you can focus on just one of these areas each month and then move to the next, you can be well on your way to financial freedom in under a year. Just think what you could do with an extra $7,000 each year… You could invest it in your future self. Your future self will thank you.

Do you use these budget hacks to save money? What else do you hack away to trim your budget? Let’s discuss in the comments.

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