It may be time to go into emergency mode. If you just lost your job, received a giant medical bill, or otherwise experienced a huge financial setback and have an urgent need to cut your expenses, the following tips can help.
These suggestions can also be helpful if you just want to find some extra money to save or invest, but they might be more of a sacrifice than you are willing to make. If you are facing a financial emergency, these tips could be just what you need to stop the rapid depletion of your savings. You can make these changes quickly to help get a handle on your finances before things become desperate.
Cancel or downgrade your cable subscription. Doing this won't make you rich, but canceling your monthly cable bill will give you more money to spend on necessary expenses such as food. If you have any other recurring monthly expenses for entertainment, such as Netflix, you should cut those, too. If you have home Internet, consider cutting it down to the cheapest plan as well.
Cancel your fitness center membership. If you are not on a long-term contract, you should cancel your membership to your local gym or fitness center. You can still work out at home or go for a run in your neighborhood. If you weren't going to the gym on a regular basis, this wasn't a smart expense anyway.
Cancel your home phone. If you have a cell phone contract with a reasonable number of minutes, you should cut your landline. There is no need to pay for two phones. If your cell phone isn't under contract, you should consider cutting the cell phone instead of the landline. Do whichever makes the most sense for you. Also, check to see if there is a cheaper plan that would work for you.
[See How to Make a Basic Budget.]
Increase your insurance deductibles. All you need to do is call your insurance agent and you can reduce your insurance bills considerably. If you have paid your insurance for the next six months or year, they may even send you a rebate check for the difference. As soon as your financial emergency is over, start saving money in your emergency fund to cover the increased deductible.
Sell a car. If you are a two-car family, sell one of your cars if it is possible for you to get by with just one car. Not only will you get some cash, you will save money on gas, insurance, and registration fees. Being a one-car family can save you some serious cash.
If you were able to make all these changes in a month, you would see a rapid reduction in your monthly expenses. Taking these steps could help you make it through your financial emergency.
Andy Hough writes about frugality and living well on a small income at TightFistedMiser.com.