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How to lower your monthly budget

Updated on May 16, 2017

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I saved $268.58 per month

Frustrated over articles that told me to cut back on my dry-cleaning, lower my cable bill and stop buying lattes, I needed to find something to cut back on that I actually used. I haven't used a dry-cleaner in over 20 years, I don't drink coffee and I haven't paid for cable or satellite t.v. in over 5 years but I did find ways to cut over $268.50 out of my monthly budget. Here is how I got the money out of my budget:

The phone bill: I stopped getting annoying sales calls at dinner time by disconnecting my home service and exclusively useing my cell phone. Many cell phone companies offer unlimited minutes for about $40 so why would I pay $67 plus long distance charges? I get unlimited calls and text with 10g's of data for $40/mnth with an off brand cell phone company. I just use wifi where ever I go. My budget saved $97.50 with these two changes.

The car insurance bill: By reviewing my coverage, I was able to cut some unneeded coverage and save $35 a month. The bank I finance the car through would not allow a deductible of more than $500 but I was able to remove some extras like the large med pay. If you don't have health insurance, you should use the largest med-pay available, this will help pay for medical expenses if you should get into an accident. If your car is paid for, take the highest deductible possible. Put your savings into an account to save for your next car.
The mortgage and home owners insurance.: I streamlined my FHA loan to take advantage of lower interest rates. It did not cost me any money upfront, I did not need to verify my income, and I did not need to get a new appraisal. Right now, people are opting for 15 year mortgages and saving oobs of money.

I could have saved more, but I opted to skip one month's payment and add it to my emergency fund. With the new benefit of an emergency fund, I was free to increase the deductible on my home owner's insurance. These combined changes saved me $99.

Since I made this change, the mortgage insurance premiums (MIP's) have increased significantly but interest rates have also plummeted. If you have more than 20% equity in your home, it sill may be a viable option for you.

The car payment: Using my most recent tax refund and my super duper shopping skills, I went for the single payment option. I now own my car outright. I'm keeping my insurance deductible high right now until I can replenish my emergency fund.

Dr's appointments and medicine: Between co pays for the kid's doctor's appointments and 20% co pays on medicine, I averaged $20 a month in medical bills. This year I switched to the huge deductible plan my provider offers and I put the premium difference into a health savings account(HSA).

The 80/20 plan would have cost me $450/mnh but the high deductible plan cost only $300. I put the $150 into the health savings account. Instead of paying a copay at the doctor, I pay the entire bill, but I don't pay it out of my family budget. The money I use is from the tax-free HSA account and saved me an average of $20 a month. Unlike the Flexible Savings Account also offered by my employer, I do not need to use all of the funds in my HSA at the end of the year. It can stay there until I need it or I retire, and I never pay any taxes on it.

These personal budget reducers have reduced my 8 month emergency fund goal by $2148. Many of these reductions would not be possible without a healthy sized savings account. I can save money every month on insurance, for example because I am able to cover a higher deductible.

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    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks is done working on several other projects now:)

    • seanorjohn profile image

      seanorjohn 6 years ago

      Couponing has only really begun to catch on in the UK.Good luck with your book collaboration. I think you can get books published for free with an ISBN on something called smashwords. You can set the price and it sells on Amazon And Noble & Barnes etc. I think frugal living is a hot topic globally.Voted up

    • Apryl Schwarz profile image

      Apryl Schwarz 6 years ago from Nebraska

      Great hub. I'm right with you; I get so tired of reading things on how to save money that talk about cutting out frivolities! We already have so few extras that we spend money on. But you have some great and practical tips that almost anyone could check into!

    • jwhitman profile image

      jwhitman 6 years ago from Albany, New York

      These are actual real life tips that people can use- excellent job! Like you, I can't stand magazine articles that tell you to save money by cutting back on Starbucks, not eating your lunches out, cutting out the dry cleaning- these don't apply to the majority of the people. Voting up, interesting and useful = )

    • DeborahFantasia profile image

      Deborah 6 years ago from Italy

      Very practical and good advice !

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for stopping by Dan...I am just now getting back to couponing. I used to feel the same way about coupons until I met this woman I wrote about on examiner. She showed me how to wait until the coupon item is on sale...that's how you get the big savings. We may be collaborating on a book..I'd love to get your opinoin when its out:)

    • danfresnourban profile image

      danfresnourban 6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      These are great tips that we all can probably use. Another one that is gaining traction these days is internet coupons. I tried it when I was in law school, but most of the coupons were for things that I would not ordinarily buy, so I saved money over the retail price but overall I spent more money that I would have if I did not use any coupons.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      I will be all ears, frugalfamily. Maybe you can write something about taming impulse shoppers!

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Hey Credence, I'm glad I can give you some ideas...impulse shopping is a whole different beast!

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Welcome aboard, frugalfamily. Thanks for the invitation to join your team. This was a great article, as the missus is what is commonly known as an impulsive shopper. I have to sit on both her and my wallet. I hope you enjoy some of my articles and I look forward to reading more from you.... Best regards Cred2

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks Lizzers, I'm glad I could point out something new.

    • lizzers profile image

      lizzers 6 years ago

      I like these tips..most of the budget trimming advice you read is not very practical, but I found this to be very useful.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for the comment and the welcome Scott. Hubpages looks like a great place to be:)

    • swb78 profile image

      Scott Biddulph 6 years ago from Gainesville Georgia

      Very good Hub, interesting and useful, good job. Welcome to the Hubpages. I see you are an Examiner, I use to write for the Atlanta Examiner. Scott