Last year, my husband and I made a decision: we were going to (try to!) become mortgage-free in five years. Why? Because we both hate debt – and with interest rates set to rise, we decided we wanted to wipe out our mortgage sooner rather than later. But since neither of us is expecting a big raise any time soon (or a lottery win!), we had to come up with the extra money another way: by cutting back on our spending. When we first checked out our budget, we weren’t sure we’d be able to find much to chop – after all, we were always able to make ends meet and pay all our bills every month. But when we took a closer look at our budget, we found three major areas we could cut. Here are our top budget savings finds:
This was a huge cost for us last year. We have two kids under the age of four and busy jobs. Cooking at the end of the day can be a chore, and picking up the phone and ordering was so easy — in fact, we were getting takeout three times a week on average. And since we love to eat a lot, we used to spend up to $100 week on takeout easily. Now, we can’t remember the last time we had takeout.
Total savings: $5,200 a year or $100 a week
Rates have gone down considerably since we got our first mortgage on our house. Since we were nearing the end of our term (and interest rates are headed up), it was a perfect time to ask our lender for a new mortgage at a better rate. Eager to keep our business, they came up with a better rate and waived the penalty we would have normally paid for breaking our mortgage early.
Total savings: $4,200 a year or $350 a month
Now that we don’t get takeout, we have to make sure the right food is on hand to prep our meals at home every night. Meal planning is key and it’s made a huge difference in our kitchen. At the beginning of the week, we determine what we want to eat every day and what ingredients we need to make it. We stick to our list and now we’re a lot less likely to overbuy or spend on impulse items. For a family of four, that adds up to major savings.
Total savings: $2,400 a year or $200 a month
There are many other areas we want to cut back on – cable, insurance, cell phones. But these were our biggest and easiest spending areas to cut – what are yours?
Feel free to share below.