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We decided this is the year we are finally taking our kids to Disneyland. Our girls are jumping up and down excited, but as we plan more and more of our trip, we have begun to realize just how expensive a magical vacation can be. As we have looked over our budget we have found some places we have been throwing money away and they might just be the same places that are preventing you from taking a magical vacation too!
Exercise Equipment or Gym Membership you aren’t using. When was the last time you walked into your gym? If it has been a month since you have been to the gym, it is time to look into cancelling it. It may be nice to have a gym you can go to if you want to, but if it’s weeks or months between visits you would be better off paying by the class or finding a workout you enjoy doing outside of the gym.
Television. How many of your channels do you really watch? Are there just one or two shows you want to catch each week? You might save a lot of money each month by cancelling the cable and go with a subscription service. Between Netflix and Hulu you can catch just about anything. There’s also a great new service called Sling, which allows you to stream select cable channels on your device for a lower cost than a traditional cable bill.
Food and Waste. How often do you buy groceries and then throw them away a couple weeks later? When I buy things like meat I like to write down what is in my fridge on a small whiteboard so those things don’t get forgotten and wasted. At the end of each week I go through my fridge and see what still needs to be used and what should be moved to the freezer.
Insurance. Is the premium you’re paying going to cost you much more than fixing the item? Good insurance is really important on your big ticket items, like your car, but on smaller things like a phone ask yourself if the insurance premiums and the deductible on the phone are going to end up costing you more in the long run than just replacing the phone.
Credit Cards or Debit Cards. Using a credit card with high interest rate is a pretty obvious problem, but your debit card could be giving you fits too. A lot of debit cards have a specific number of transactions you have to make or there is a fee. Some banks will waive this fee if you use direct deposit; you just need to ask.
Kids Presents. The first time my daughter went to a birthday party I spent a lot of the present for the birthday kid. When I got to the party I realized the birthday kid was just as happy with the presents from the dollar store. Now when my daughter gets invited to a party we take $5-$10 and head right to the dollar store. I love to get things kids love that get used up, such as crayons, stickers, coloring books, bubbles and sidewalk chalk. Now this might not work for teenagers, but kids love it.
Software. We live in the day an age of great online software. Unless you really need the professional version of a word processing or photo editing software, you can probably find a free online version that will work great!
Your Debt. If you have a large amount of debt and are all only making the minimum payments every month, you are spending too much money on the interest every month. Add as much as you can to the paying down the debt with the highest interest rate first and work down from there.
Medications. There are generics for almost every single medication out there. You might be paying more for the same active ingredient and not even know it.
Holidays. You can give your kids a magical Christmas without paying a premium price as long as you plan. Do you remember the Christmas of Tickle Me Elmo? Everyone wanted one of those toys and the closer it got to Christmas the harder they were to find and the more expensive they got. Those who had planned ahead were able to buy the toy for a more affordable price. I start putting away a little money every month and looking for items I think my kids will like in July. It helps us to stress less about where the money is coming from in the budget and I am not racing around on December 23 looking for a Frozen castle.
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/aafid or your local Walmart for current pricing.
What kinds of things do you do to save money?