How to Cut Down Expenses on the Family Budget
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We have cut down over $8,000 OF EXPENSES OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS! It’s almost unbelievable. What were we even doing?! Once we started cutting down little expenses, it became easier to find more ways to cut and save in the budget. Related: How to Make a Budget for Beginners We are on a debt free journey to pay off over half a million dollars in debt, so cutting expenses was very necessary if we wanted to make progress! Learning to budget and cutting down our expenses did not happen over night. There has been a lot of trial and error with our family budget, along with learning to sacrifice, and really identifying our needs versus wants. If you want to follow along on our debt free journey to pay off over half a million in debt, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll get some fun and super helpful free budgeting printables right in your inbox! Today I’m sharing everything we cut from our expenses over the last six months, and hopefully you will be inspired to look for more ways to cut down your expenses too! One thing we learned over the last six months is that you have to work together as a family on your budget, and give yourself a few months of grace as you perfect (and sometimes fail) at budgeting. Related: How to Get Your Spouse on Board with the Budget Every month we get better at adjusting our spending, and sticking to the budget. Once you know how to budget, you’ll start to easily see where you can cut down expenses to save more or pay off debt. Want to follow our Debt Free Journey on YouTube? Head over to watch the latest and subscribe for Debt Pay Off Updates! Let’s jump in! We are doctors, so we do make a decent income (which is good with our massive DEBT), but don’t let that discourage you! We are living proof that you can have a high income and be totally broke! The key to paying off debt and building wealth is to live on less than you make (no matter how much that might be). Easier said than done, right?! We kept thinking if we just made more money, “someday” we would be able to pay off our debt. Turns out “someday” is not a plan, and leads nowhere! Related: How to Set SMART Financial Goals Here’s what we actually did to cut down our expenses in our family budget.
8 Ways to Cut Down Monthly Budget Expenses
Rent (or mortgage) Expenses: $1175 Savings
Two years ago, we decided that we needed more space! We were smack in the middle of starting our new medical practice and knew we were in no position to buy a house. We decided to rent something big and beautiful! We deserved it after all! Right?! We were shelling out a whopping $2500/month for two years, and stressed every month as we scraped by paycheck to paycheck. We knew moving to a smaller, more affordable home would be an instant boost in our budget. We downsized from a 3,000 square foot home to a 1,000 square foot home with our family of five! Not only are we now saving almost $1200/month, but we also made about $1700 between our garage sale and selling our furniture.
Utility Expenses: TBA
This is our first month in our smaller home, so I’m not sure exactly how much we will save here. I know the electric bill will be about a third of what we were paying in our other house. With the triple digit temps gracing our Texas summer, our energy bill would reach $300-$400 in July and August. Downsizing to a smaller home could save you money on electricity, water, and natural gas.
Car Payment: $455 Savings
We are in the process of turning in my current car lease (hallelujah!) and we will not be financing or leasing another car…EVER AGAIN! My husband’s car is paid for. We plan to sell his and buy two “beater” cars with whatever we get for his car. This will eliminate that $455/month payment! Cars depreciate quickly! Don’t spend all your money on something that goes down in value.
Childcare Expenses: $2,875 Savings
Oh yes! You read that right! Who knew childcare could cost more than a super nice mortgage?! Cutting out childcare won’t be right for everyone, but it can’t hurt to look in to creative child care options! We have three kids, five and under, and no one is in school yet. We realized after having our third baby last year, that full time childcare was going to be rough. At first, I went back to work part time and we did a “Mother’s Day Out” program which was just a few hours for a couple of days per week. This was much more cost effective and worked for a little while. Then, when we started to realize that we were having money problems, I looked around for full time work. This meant putting all three back in daycare at almost $3,000/month. I was basically breaking even by going to work, and when this new job started cutting back my hours, our budget suffered BIG TIME! We got creative once again, and decided to take turns staying home with the kids. It has definitely been an adjustment, but one that is financially and emotionally best for the whole family! Now, that $3,000 can go to debt in order to secure a better future for our kiddos.
Fun Money Savings: A LOT.
There was a time, when we were spending anywhere from $1,000-3,000 in MISCELLANEOUS spending. Where the heck was this money going?! A combination of little things like a Target stop here, and a Wal-Mart run there, a new bow for baby girl, or the coolest new toy car for our son. We never thought twice about things like this. We had money in our bank account, so everything had to be fine right?! So, so wrong. It pains me to think about how much further we could be on our debt free journey, if we had only been PAYING ATTENTION! Things look a LOT different today! My husband and I each get $100 dollars/month for fun and frivolous spending. We use our cash envelopes, and fill them up at the beginning of the month. When the $100 is gone, that’s it! Even if my BFF invites me to a last minute brunch…if I don’t have the cash it’s a no-go! It has really changed the way we spend money! I’m much more careful and picky about clothes, shoes, and home decor items that I used to easily overspend on (Oh how I miss you, Target).
Cable Expenses: $75 Savings
We are switching from cable to a streaming service! I’m actually shocked that my sports obsessed husband decided to make the switch, but these are the things that have been happening since we both got on board with the budget. It will be about half of what we pay now, and really just makes more sense for us.
Food Expenses: $500 Savings
We were easily approaching $1000/month between eating out, fast food, and grocery spending. This came down quite a bit when we stopped eating out and fast food ALL TOGETHER. It was hard at first, because eating out as a family was one of our favorite weekend activities. Once we started to see how much money we were saving (and how much healthier we were getting) just by eating at home, it was easy to continue the sacrifice. We use cash at the grocery store and stick to a meal plan. Today, our grocery budget stays around an average of $100/week…and we have both lost weight!
Health Insurance: $1500/month Savings!
When we first opened our practice, we wanted to be generous, and offer health insurance benefits to our employees. It’s a nice thought, unless you’re broke! Our health insurance policy almost bankrupted us…for real! The premium for our family alone was around $1500/month. We just couldn’t afford it, and for a little while we went without health insurance – I don’t recommend that!! Luckily, we are pretty healthy and because of this, we decided to try a health cost sharing ministry. We recently joined Christian Healthcare Ministries, and our monthly donation comes to a total of $135/month for all five of us (bronze plan). For this plan, we pay all of our regular doctor visits out of pocket, which is WAY less than $1500/month! If we have a hospital visit, or something catastrophic, the cost “sharing” will kick in over $5,000. If your family is pretty healthy, and you are looking for a biblical approach to health care, check out Christian Healthcare Ministries. All of these expenses might not apply to you, but hopefully you are inspired by one or two so you can cut down your monthly family budget expenses to start saving money and pay off debt at lightening speed! Make sure you follow our debt free journey on Instagram and YouTube, and subscribe to my weekly newsletter for free budgeting and debt payoff printables!