Five budgeting tips that help cut the cost of convenience

A typical fast food stand on Blackpool promenade.

Eating out is a major convenience cost. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Christian Cable/Flickr)

Instant gratification may feel good, but the truth is that the cost of convenience is killing budgets everywhere. Whether it’s a matter of “keeping up with the Joneses” or partaking in smaller daily indulgences, impulse spending can challenge the best budgets, particularly during a recession. With a little help from Wise Bread, here are five smart spending tips that will help you tame the runaway cost of convenience.

Cut back on cleaning services

If you have the means to support small cleaning businesses in your community, then by all means keep the wheels of the economy spinning. However, maid services are definitely a luxury for most people. Do it yourself and save. You’ll even get some exercise in the process.

Cut back the cell phone bill

Mobile devices are ubiquitous these days, but for most people who don’t rely upon them for business, they are yet another cost of convenience. Land lines are cheaper, and cheap VOIP telephone services are available for people with a computer and broadband connection.

Cut back television

Thousands of channels and still nothing to watch tends to classify cable and satellite programming for many people. Not only do TV addicts think they need the variety, but some will have multiple televisions within the same household, so ingrained is the passive habit. Read a book. Use the radio or Internet for news. Go outside and exercise. These options are cheaper than television and better for you.

Cut back on your ride

Having reliable transportation is necessary for school, work and other obligations, and in well-designed cities, public transportation serves the public need. However, most U.S. cities do not have adequate public transportation systems, so having a car is helpful. For those who need a car, buy based upon need, rather than signing up for all the bells and whistles. Paying for more car than you need is a prime example of the great cost of convenience. Try riding a bicycle instead.

Cut back on eating out

Cooking is an essential life skill that many Americans, unfortunately, never learn. Simple meals are not difficult, and as MSN Moneycentral reports, U.S. families with children tend to spend $300 per month or more eating out each month. With some planning, eating out can be cut to a minimum and save recession-starved families a few thousand dollars per year.


MSN Moneycentral

Wise Bread

Other recent posts by Steve Tarlow