10 Ways To Find Hidden Cash In Your Budget

06.08.07 | Money | 12 Comments | by junger

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We've talked extensively about way to immediately start saving moneyproviding 20 tips on how to begin your savings journey.

But what about those of us who are trying to trim down our budget and cut costs? There's hidden cash in your budget — you just have to know where to find it.

  1. Re-evaluate Your Cable Plan
    Do you really watch all 800 channels you get with your cable subscription? If you don't, consider changing your cable package to a cheaper, less bloated option.
  2. Lower Your Cell Phone Minutes
    So many cell phone plans come from free in-network calling, and if you're like me, you have a lot of unused minutes because most of your calls are in network. Downgrade your plan today.
  3. Adjust Your Tax Withholding
    If you received a big tax return this year, adjust your withholding today. It's your salary — take it back from the government.
  4. Change Your Movie Watching Habits
    Everyone knows it's expensive to go to the movies. With tickets at $10 a piece and food nearly as expensive, going to the theater can break an entertainment budget. Instead, try renting movies — either from the library or from one of my favorite new discoveries, Redbox. It's a DVD vending machine that costs $1/day for a rental. If there's one near you — we have one at the supermarket around the corner — it's a cheap and convenient movie option.
  5. Switch to VoIP
    Don't worry — VoIP doesn't mean you need to be on your computer to make phone calls. It means that you're leveraging the pipes of the Internet to make cheaper phone calls, both local and long distance. Vonage is currently offering a prepay for a year and save deal.
  6. Unplug Electronics You're Not Using
    Just because something isn't turned on doesn't mean it isn't using electricity. Unplug the gadgets, lamps and clocks you're not using to save a few bucks on your electric bill.
  7. Lower Your Internet Speed, Or Try To
    Many Internet service providers offer different levels of service. Unless you're my old college roommate who downloaded lots of … video … you probably aren't using every bit of speed they give you. And if your ISP doesn't offer different rate plans, tell the customer service rep that the local competitor does and ask what kind of break they can give you. It does work.
  8. Buy Generic Brands
    Do you really think Claritin is any better than Walitin, the Walgreens brand? Are the fancy hot dog buns really any better than the supermarket brand? Doubtful. Get the same goods, but at a much cheaper price.
  9. Open Your Windows
    If it's hot in your house, let a breeze in — don't turn up the air conditioning. It's an obvious way to cut down on electricity bills and a way to freshen up your house.
  10. Make Your Own Coffee
    One coffee maker, $20. One bag of filters, $4. One can of coffee, $5. Total days of coffee, 20. Starbucks for 20 days, $80. You do the math.

Where are you finding the hidden cash in your budget?

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