12 Money Saving
12 Money-Saving Budget Tips That Will Save You $500/month or More - Guaranteed
One of the most popular articles I’ve ever written was designed to be a home budgeting tip sheet. As you’ll see below, these are simple, quick money savers that don’t negatively impact your lifestyle. Now, I’ve rewritten it for you, the small business owner.
Your personal nut (amount you need to bring home to cover household expenses) has a huge impact on your business. If you can get by on $60,000 a year, earnings above that can help your company build a rainy-day fund, create a marketing campaign to help grow the business, or even build up reserves to open a second location or add a new product line.
One sage said: “It is easier to save money than it is to make more.” That may or may not be the case for you, but if you follow the budget tips below, I can pretty much guarantee you that you will save at least $250 a month and maybe $500 or more on your personal household budget. But notice how many of these same techniques can be used for your company overhead, too.
Another fantastic benefit of adopting the following cash-savers is that you will likely see a bump in your credit rating. Maybe by 30 points or even more. That will reduce the cost of future borrowing. Ok, let’s get to the list.
Get rid of recurring charges you don’t need anymore – Go through every bank statement and every credit card statement. Look for recurring charges that you have forgotten about from online resources, magazine drives, newspaper subscriptions, and more. We’ll assume you find one of these at $10 a month. You might find way more. Now follow the same budget tip for your company accounts. Be sure to look at both bank checking accounts AND your credit card statements. It is easy to agree to a recurring charge of $6 a month, put it on a credit card, and never even notice it again. I think you’ll find at least $30 a month in savings on the business accounts.
Call your cable TV provider. Tell them you are considering going off-grid or switching to satellite. If you have a satellite, call the provider and tell them you are thinking of switching to cable. Watch the dance begin. You are very likely to end up with at least $20 or more in savings. Now call the competition with your new rate and see what they will do. You are likely to end up with the same or better rate and some kind of promotional money or free stuff for switching.
Take this same approach at your business with any utility or other supplier. There are plenty of ways to save money today on almost any product or service you buy. Sometimes your business practices have changed, but you are still paying for your old needs. Three years ago you needed an extra trash bin. You don’t know, but you still pay for it every month. You can delegate this one. Maybe the best budget tip here is to pay a bonus for each bill that gets cut.
Go off the grid on cable. Between Apple TV, Hulu, NetFlix, RedBox, Amazon Prime, and other TV offers, it is hard to justify any upgrades to basic service on cable or satellite. The savings for getting off of cable could easily be $50 or more.
On to your cell phone, Internet, and landline providers. This gets a bit more complicated, but the cost of all this is dropping fast. By changing providers, bundling, unbundling, and just shopping, you are very likely to end up saving another $30 a month and improving MBPS. Recently I tried to end my landline service, but the bundle cost less with it than without.
Here is one that is certainly likely to result in big savings for your company. The Internet and phone companies are all battling for your business, and costs are dropping while the products are improving. Your savings on this one are almost certainly going to be $50 a month or more
Saving on your utilities. The water company (at least in California) will be happy to help you cut down your water use. Check with your supplier to find out how to get free or reduced costs products to reduce use in bathrooms and irrigation. Then check to see what the recommended water needs are for your yard. The electric company will help you with lighting and other ways to save on electricity. LED lights are fantastic and save a huge amount of money. Switch appliances to natural gas to save even more. Saving $25 or more per month for these changes should be a cinch.
For your home, check into solar. It is likely that Tesla or other solar companies will install solar panels and an electric battery supply in your home, and your monthly power bill will drop. The more power you use, the more you will save.
You can do the same with your building if you own it. Since most of your power is used during peak, you can save serious coin by going solar at the factory or warehouse.
Budget. Keep a dollar-by-dollar ledger of all expenses for 3 months. There are many online tools that can help with this process. Once you see where the money is going, you will almost certainly be able to find ways to cut that won't hurt even a little bit. We’ll put this down as $25.
Zero-based budgeting is a must for your business, but any budget effort starts the same way for your business as it does at home. How is your office accounting system? Are you keeping track of all expenses, and are you creating great reports that help you analyze your expenses? I recently looked at the books of a $2.5M company and found that their expenses had crept up by 5%. By using zero-based budgeting, they saved $50,000 the next year.
Be sure to pick up a copy of my new book,
“Making Money Out of Thin Air”,
and check out more useful budget tips.
Shop your car insurance. Don’t forget to check Costco or AAA. It is not unusual to save $100 or more. You should also review your other insurance policies annually to make sure you have the coverage you need and to see about savings on rates. Life insurance is another very likely savings point.
Business insurance is often a major expense: Fire, theft, marine, work comp, general liability, product liability, errors, and omissions. It adds up. Do you just let your agent tell you the rates for next year? Aggressively shop your requirements. I will almost assure you that the savings you find will be significant.
And you’ll notice I left out health insurance. If you are offering health insurance, you can save money using multiple techniques. Just tell your agent you want to see all the options. Suggest that you need to see savings or you’ll check with other carriers. Remember, some companies do not use brokers, so it pays to call them for comparative rates on health and all other lines.
Grocery savings at Costco are real and significant. Costco marks up all items by 15%. What they buy for $10.00, you pay only $11.50. Most discount department stores mark up 50% to 100%. So you would pay $15.00 - $20.00. I know you have to buy huge quantities at Costco. Find nooks all over the house for storing commodities. Buy an extra freezer. A one-time small cost for huge savings. Multiple online sources report Costco as cheaper than Walmart, Sam’s, and Amazon Prime. Imagine the savings compared to your local chain market. Potential savings of at least $25 per month per person.
What is true for your home is also true for your business. Check into Costco business supplies. You may find other suppliers on some items that are cheaper, but add them to your list of possible resources.
Amazon Prime. When it isn't a Costco item, why not buy on Amazon Prime? Pricey toothpaste, supplements, household items, and more are almost always cheaper on Amazon than at Target or CVS. And there is no freight and no auto expense. When you need more, you have a record of what you bought. Savings of another $10 per person per month.
I buy everything for my family and my business at Costco or Amazon, if possible. If you are still buying commodity items from local companies because you want to support local businesses. I applaud you. Keep up the good work. However, sometimes you may want to use Costco and Amazon pricing as a way to negotiate a better price with your local supplier.
Get an interest-free credit card and transfer all balances onto the interest-free card. Now, be sure to pay off any remaining high-interest credit cards as quickly as possible. Use the savings from these other suggestions to first pay off all credit cards with interest rates higher than your mortgage interest rate. The only good use for a credit card is to build credit. Pay them off every month. If you owe $10,000 on credit cards that charge interest, and you put this on an 18 month no interest card, you’ll pay 3% for the transfer ($300) and save at least $1800 if you pay the card off in the 18 months for a savings of $100 a month. Most families will save at least $25 per month. If you owe more than that, try a credit union for a low-interest loan. If you owe a lot more, consider a HELOC.
We are in an era of historically low credit. Refinance your home and take out equity to grow your business, pay off high-interest rate cards, student loans, HERO loans, or car loans. If you want to be debt-free, make extra payments on your new mortgage with your savings on all those cards. However, will interest rates on mortgages around 3-4%, why pay that off.
As your credit score improves, you may find other resources for borrowing that are sub 6%. Any decent business should be able to leverage 6% of the money for improved future earnings.
We promised not to suggest changes to lifestyle, but if you want to add another huge amount of savings, get rid of one expensive, useless or worse, habit. Smoking, buying booze in bars, daily Starbucks, fast food, gambling (including lotto.) This could be the biggest savings of all. An expense of just $10 per day is $300 a month.
Take your lunch to work. Eating out a lunch is expensive and usually not great for your waistline. A normal lunch you make at home will cost under $2.50. Savings of $100 a month and maybe 10,000 calories.
What indulgence do you have at work? A business consultant once saved my company $40,000 a month by showing me that I was basking in luxury. I had 1.5 bookkeepers when one was plenty for my needs. I had three artists but only needed two. I was attending trade shows that hadn’t been profitable in years. And I considered my company to be running lean and mean. Nope.
We would love to hear from you in the comments. How much did you save? What will you do with the savings?