If you need to save $200 fast from your monthly budget, here are 4 stupid simple strategies I used THIS MONTH – even though my budget is pretty tight to begin with.
My Strategies to Save $200 Fast
I love budgeting. It’s a little weird, I know. But every time it turns over to a new month in YNAB (that’s the budgeting software I use and recommend), I get excited to fill out my budget categories.
Seeing a full grocery category brings a little thrill. Knowing I can cover an unexpected car repair with the money I’ve added to my Car Maintenance category is reassuring. (I told you I’m weird.)
But after you’ve got your budget categories set, and your income sources and side hustles humming along, it might be easy to think your budget is done.
Even if you’re super frugal (and into some extreme frugality tactics), you can always find ways to save a little more.
- How to Live Frugal: 21 Tips to Master Cheap Living
- 11 Easy Ways to Save Money When Living Paycheck to Paycheck
- 25 Simple Ways You Can Improve Your Finances Today
Strategy #1: Change Internet Providers ($30/mo)
For my family, fast home internet service ranks as highly as electricity and water as a service we require.
About 8 years ago, we switched to “business class internet” since we constantly hit our usage caps and were incurring large fees. We needed reliable internet for our work at home – and since we were cord cutters, we used so much bandwidth on streaming that our residential provider was threatening to cut us off.
We paid a little more for business service but with no caps we weren’t worried about overages. This situation worked great for years, but we found our service getting worse and worse. We held off for years, worried we didn’t have any options but to put up with it.
Finally we took some frugal action. We simply called the old residential provider to see what plans they offered. It turns out we could get better service based on our current usage – and STILL save $30 a month going forward over business class.
It was a painless way to cut $30 from our monthly budget and get to save $200 fast.
If you haven’t tried switching Internet providers in a while, definitely try to negotiate a better rate with your current provider or attempt to switch.
Before you try to negotiate, identify how much bandwidth you’re using in a typical month (your current provider can tell you this) so you can accurately evaluate any offers or plans.
Strategy #2: Switch from a Major Phone Carrier – Mint Mobile Review ($105/mo)
As with our internet service, we’d been with the same major cellular provider for almost a decade. Since smartphones were available!
Living in a rural area has limited our options in terms of phone service. Since we don’t have a home phone, I was reluctant to try an alternative provider, not knowing if we’d have to endure spotty coverage and dropped calls.
But, in a fit of budget trimming, we decided to give Mint Mobile a try. They offered the best deal I could find with great coverage in our area. I couldn’t find a lot of Mint Mobile reviews, but I liked what I saw on their website in terms of pricing options.
Their intro offer ($20 for 3 months of service/per device) was amazing, and the service was easy to setup. My husband did all of our phones in less than an hour. After receiving our Mint Mobile SIM cards, my husband easily ported all of our numbers (you have to have an unlocked phone to port your same number). They say it can take up to 48 hours, but it took less than an hour for ours to be ported.
Here’s my Mint Mobile review: after a week of service, we’ve had no dropped calls and no problems with service even in our rural area. The only thing I dislike is that there’s no Mint Mobile family plan – so we have to reup our service separately for each family member.
To me, that’s worth it to save a whopping $105 a month from our budget. Added to our internet savings, and we were on our way to save $200 fast.
If you’re interested in switching from a major carrier to prepaid cell service, definitely give Mint Mobile a try. Before you buy, you can check coverage maps on their website (it let me evaluate my exact address before I signed up) to make sure you’ll get good service. They offer a 7 day refund policy, so if it doesn’t work for you, you can switch back with no money out of pocket. Love it!
Strategy #3: Cancel a Streaming Service ($40/mo)
Are you a cord cutter? We haven’t had cable TV for close to 10 years, long before they even called it cord cutting. We prefer the ease (and lower cost) of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. But in the last year, my husband found himself missing network sports like football and basketball.
Youtube TV seemed like a great option – and priced at $40 per month, it was still cheaper than cable.
But there was a problem.
After years of not having network sports, we rarely tuned in to watch them! It was definitely a waste of money.
So, as we were cutting other bills, we decided to drop Youtube TV, too. Since we canceled our service, we’re saving an additional $40 / month on our budget – if you’re adding, we’re at $175/month savings – pretty close to our save $200 fast goal.
Strategy #4: DIY Haircuts ($25/mo)
I held off on this strategy for a while, not feeling confident about my novice haircutting abilities.
But my son doesn’t have a complicated hairstyle and I figured if I could do it even half the time, I’d save about $25 a month. He’s a big fan of the fact that he doesn’t have to drive to the salon, so we’re both winning.
Youtube is definitely your friend when it comes to DIY haircuts for men. There are tons of instructive videos to make it easy to cut this item from your budget.
If you don’t have your own hair cutting set, they are fairly inexpensive and last a long time. After one cut, the haircutting set will pay for itself. Here’s the haircutting kit I use to save every month (it even comes with a cape, which makes cleanup a snap).
How Much Can YOU Save?
None of these strategies were hard or difficult – anyone could try them – and over the course of the year, I’ll have an additional $2,400 in my pocket. In total, we spent about an hour saving $2,400, which is an awesome hourly rate.
What strategies have you used to shave costs from your monthly budget and save $200 fast? Let me know in the comments!