5 Easy Ways to Cut Your Budget Now

24 October 2012

“Five Easy Ways to Cut Your Budget Now” is a guest post by Joe Wood of TimelessFinance, a Canadian personal finance blog that’s a wealth of knowledge about building wealth.

Cutting back is a good thing. Not only does cutting your budget save money, but it also makes your life easier. Here are five simple ways that you can cut your budget today:

1. Reduce your utility bills

You are wasting money on electricity, heating, or cooling as we speak. Cut it out!

Electricity is way too expensive already, and it gets worse every year. During the summer, hang your laundry to dry outside. In the winter, if you don’t have the space for a laundry rack in your basement, then cut back on dryer time. Pick up some dryer balls at the dollar store.

If you have CFL light bulbs, then stay on the lookout for inexpensive LED bulbs. If you’re still using incandescent bulbs, get a few six-packs of CFLs and make the switch NOW!

Turn down your thermostat in the winter and dress warmer. Turn it up in the summer. Most importantly, stop heating and cooling the outside! Take a Saturday and make your home more energy efficient. Buy some window wrap kits at the dollar store. Put new weather stripping around your external doors. Close off vents and rooms that you don’t need to heat or cool. More ways to save on utilities here.

2. Cancel your cable

The average Canadian’s TV bill is $60 a month and it has been growing by 5% a year. That’s ridiculous. The internet is all you need nowadays. Hook your laptop up to your TV. Watch free shows on a Canadian network’s website. Buy episodes on iTunes or Amazon. If you really like getting TV channels, pay a few hundred dollars to install a high quality free-to-air UHF receiver. More ways to save on your cable TV bill here.

3. Slash your food waste

We all know about the latté factor. But what if you really enjoy going for coffee on your break? Well, go somewhere cheap. Make your lunches out into a treat – do it on Friday and go to special events, rather than blowing $12 every day – and start “brown bagging” more often.

You probably aren’t on BargainMoose if you hate clipping coupons but, if you do, then at least shop for things on special. Start with a weekly meal plan – you’ll save money on shopping and spoilage. Here are some more grocery budget savings tips.

4. Learn that it’s OK to buy used things

If you bought your car new, then your pride cost you a lot of money. What’s wrong with buying your next TV stand on Kijiji? Nothing. There are lots of designer labels at the thrift store, and it’ll make shopping more of an adventure. Here are 8 items that you should consider buying used.

5. Cut your landline

If you have a cellphone, your partner has a cell phone, and your kids have cellphones, then why in the world do you have a landline?

Get a better deal with your cell phone carrier. $56.25 covers my entire smartphone bill, including tax – I get data, lots of long distance, and even call display. I just negotiated the same for my girlfriend. Even if you’re under contract, don’t forget to call up your cellphone provider and demand a loyalty discount if you’ve been with them for a while. I do this every year and I always get something! Or see about switching over to VOIP!


Big organizations – companies, governments, charities – often use a system called “Zero Based Budgeting”. Instead of budgeting the same amount for everything each year, they start each budget item with $0 in funding. Each expense needs to justify itself every year. “No good reason” means “no money”. We’d profit from applying this idea to our own spending. Have you got any more quick tips that you've been emplying to save money?

(Image credit: Sharon Drummond)


  • Lauren
    You have kids and want to ditch the landline? That would make me nervous. If you call 911 from your cell and can't talk for some reason, they're not likely to know where to go. The location they get when you call from your cell isn't usually right. However, if you call from a landline they will always know where you are even if they can't hear you. Also, cell towers can get taken out by bad weather. Landlines will still work in bad weather 99.9% of the time. So if you live in an area prone to tornadoes or earthquakes or ice storms or hurricanes or any other natural disaster... you might want to get a landline. You can get a landline for around $20 a month. There are even pay as you go landline plans becoming available in certain areas. I think it's worth it for the peace of mind. If you really can't afford the landline and you have 3+ services with one provider (satellite/cable, phone, inet, cellphone), call them up and say so. If you have always paid your bills and are willing to go on contract, most of them will offer you a free basic phone line.
    • Joe
      Really? I was under the impression that 911 would (1) get your cellphone's "address" info from your service provider and (2) be able to triangulate your position from cellphone towers. I assume that you realize your Bell line, although self-powered, can still be cut, whereas a cellphone can often access multiple towers. If you're using a less expensive VOIP solution (not just MagicJack but perhaps any cable solution, e.g. Cogeco) then a loss of power to the router puts you in an even worse position. If I wanted a landline, I'd need to throw myself at the feet of Bell's monopoly because I live in the country atm. I already depend on them for internet. We pay about $150 a month for our total telecomm bill. That includes Bell's high speed internet and our non-Bell BlackBerry Bold 9900s for me and my partner (I get 200 mins local, 100 mins LD, "My10", ultd text, 1 gig data, call display, VM; my partner gets the same except only 30 mins LD). We get free basic satellite TV through Shaw's CRTC-mandated "LTSS" program, and we supplement this by connecting our 51" flatscreen to one of our laptops. Soon we'll be getting a free Sony Internet Player from MBNA (there was a Sony MasterCard signup bonus to get a free one) and we'll use that instead of a laptop.
    • Anna Waters EDITOR
      I was thinking about that recently too Lauren. My little girl is 2 and a half, and was thinking it's almost time to teach her what to do in an emergency. Though, she's so familiar with the cellphone, I think it would work ok... plus they'd have our address on record with the provider.
  • bina e.
    here, where I live, if I cut my landline I cut my internet. Not every place has cable and towers like live.ca are hugely expensive (my sister tried it and went back to dialup, the only option in her town) I also do NOT own a phone, why on earth would I need one? When I go out, I am with my husband or kids, and at work there are telephones to contact me in case of emergency. Its also illegal in my part of the country to be talking or texting while driving (but I don't have a car either lol, we only need one, not two) As well, quite a few of us have never had cable or a dish. A satelite dish is expensive and we've not had tv now for well over 9 yrs (and you can tell by my kids marks!!!) I also buy very few brand names (I worked in a meat manufacturing plant so KNOW how the brand game works, esp when our plant had most of the labels out there) I am doing the menu plan and any left overs tend to go into lunch boxes around here, and we tend to run out of things (veggies or fruit) before they can expire LOL

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