Overspending is often the result of making a bunch of small purchases rather than one big one. As inflation causes prices for nondiscretionary items like food, housing and energy to rise, families may need to reduce their expenses in other areas to make ends meet.
Consider cutting these 13 recurring expenses to keep your budget on track:
1. Streaming Services
If you’re subscribed to the basic, ad-free versions of Netflix, Spotify and HBO Max, you’re spending nearly $400 on streaming services each year — $119.88 each for Netflix and Spotify and $149.99 for HBOMax.
Try a subscription cleanse: Cancel all your reoccurring subscriptions and after a few weeks, add back only those you truly miss.
“A lot of expenses that creep up on us involve apps and internet shopping subscriptions,” Kimberlee Davis, partner and managing director at The Bahnsen Group, says. “Those things eat away if you have a $10 subscription on an app you don’t even remember signing up for.”
2. Delivery Memberships
On top of streaming services, you may also subscribe to delivery services like Amazon Prime, which now costs $139 per year. And you might subscribe to floral or meal kit delivery services. Again, keep those you use and can comfortably afford.
[READ: What to Know About Amazon Prime.]
3. Credit Card Interest Payments
Spending beyond your budget tends to snowball when credit cards get involved.
“Nine times out of 10, you’re going to pay for that on a credit card, adding up to more credit card debt,” Davis says. “The very next step after budgeting is paying down your credit card debt.”
With credit card interest rates topping 20%, that debt has a way of eating up the wiggle room in your budget. Many experts suggest tackling credit card debt before other less expensive debt.
4. Data Storage
It might cost just a dollar or two but when prices at the grocery store and gas pump look the way they do today, every dollar counts. Check on your data storage subscriptions through services like iCloud and Google Drive to make sure you actually need the items you’re storing.
5. Cable Bill
Paying for cable and streaming services? Consider cutting the one you use least. There are many cable alternatives that won’t wreak havoc on your budget. Cable services tend to advertise one price, then tack on additional fees to charge customers a much higher price. Review your cable bill and consider alternatives if it’s too expensive.
6. Unnecessary Insurance
You may be paying for more insurance than you need, particularly if you haven’t taken a look at your policy coverage in a few years or if your life circumstances have changed. Retirees, for example, may no longer have a need for life or disability insurance.
7. Pricey Gym Memberships and Exercise Classes
Some gym memberships can cost hundreds of dollars a year, and even virtual exercise classes can be pricey — a Peloton app membership costs about $156 per year, for example (not including taxes, the bike or treadmill).
Take the time to see if these expenses truly fit into your budget and match your priorities.
“If you budget, it will allow you to get through good times and bad times without the whole house of cards falling apart,” Davis says. “A budget is equivalent to self-care. If you don’t have a budget, you are putting yourself in a situation where money is controlling you and circumstance is controlling you.”
8. Costly Gifts
A novice might forget to include seasonal expenses like gifts in their annual budget. Holiday, birthday and wedding gift giving can really add up.
“Giving in to impulse purchases (like buying lunch when you already packed one), comparing yourself to others — especially on social media — and not being honest with yourself and your spouse about your spending habits can attribute to hurting your financial health,” Rob M. Hayworth, certified financial planner and partner at Summit Financial Group, wrote in an email.
Consider creating a budget for irregular items and unplanned discretionary spending to give yourself some flexibility, he recommends.
9. Cigarettes and Vape Products
If you smoke or vape, you’re not just taking a monetary hit in your budget each month. Studies show smokers tend to earn less at their jobs than nonsmokers, and the cost of health, long-term care and life insurance is often higher for smokers than nonsmokers.
10. Expensive Cellphone Plan
Cellphone plan options are changing. Review the latest options and your current data usage to see if you can take advantage of a smaller data plan or a family saving plan. You may be able to negotiate your plan’s cost if you’ve been a long-term customer or are considering switching carriers.
[READ: The Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors.]
11. Takeout and Restaurants
Takeout and restaurant meals can add up after taxes and tip, and cooking at home is almost always the cheaper option. Takeout gets even more pricey when you’re having those meals delivered.
You may be able to pay less by signing up for a membership with a delivery app but that can also get expensive. DoorDash, for example, charges $59 the first year, then $96 per year after that to waive delivery fees.
12. Financial Fees and Commissions
Review the fees you’re paying to financial advisors, robo advisors, cryptocurrency exchanges, brokerage firms and other financial services. Some services are well worth the nominal expense but fees can also add up quickly or go completely unnoticed if you’re not careful. Know exactly what you pay your advisor and talk to advisors with different fee structures to find the one that fits your budget.
13. Full-Priced Items
If your budget is tight, it may be time to take advantage of sale racks, consignment shops and online thrifting options. You might find some good gems by using online clothing sites like ThredUp and Depop, or you could keep an eye out for store brand items, coupons and deals when grocery shopping.
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Expenses That Are Destroying Your Budget originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 03/03/23: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.