February 20, 2019

8 Ways to Reduce Costs and Expenses to Stay Within Budget

MONEY MONEY MONEY!!! A lot of us worry about money - whether we have enough, are saving enough, are spending enough (or too much), etc. If you have noticed, there has been a huge spike in topics of Personal Finance across the internet. Topics from Budgeting to Investing to Saving to Debt Repayment, and more are getting big draws. I've shared some of my Money experiences with you myself, and someone who answered the 2019 Berry Dakara Blog Survey said they'd like to read more blog posts about money. Because I care about you guys and take your suggestions for blog posts, (like with the Things I Learned about Pregnancy), here are small ways that you can cut costs and reduce expenses to help you make and stay within your budget. Well, these are the ways I have reduced my costs personally.

  1. I stopped getting my eyebrows done at the salon. I used to be that person who would get her eyebrows done on a monthly basis. I enjoyed heading to either the mall, or a Threading salon to feel the glorious pinch of my eyebrows being shaped. Well, this costs me between $8 to $12 a pop, and if I multiply that by 12 months, I've saved $64 to $144. Instead, I bought eyebrow razors, tiny scissors and spent almost 45 minutes watching various "How to Shape Your Eyebrows" videos on Youtube. My eyebrows might not be as nicely shaped as I usually like, but it's a small sacrifice to make until I increase my monthly take-home pay.
    Annual savings: approximately $100.

  2. I canceled my HBO subscription. I cannot lie, but cancelling HBO was painful to me. There are sooooo many HBO shows that I enjoy watching, but the monthly $15 subscription fee had to go once I determined to focus on decreasing my expenses to help me attack my debt. Besides, my brother-in-law has HBO so I can watch my shows when I want to.
    Annual savings: $180

  3. I drastically cut back on eating out. My name is Berry, and I like food. I especially like food from all kinds of restaurants - fast food o, pizza places o, fine dining o, all join. Guess what doesn't like all that eating out though - my body and my bank account. Last year, I spent $72 on McDonald's and $40 at Chick-Fil-A alone. If I sit down to calculate how much I spent on eating out, it may probably top $300. Now, this is not to say that I'll never eat out. I'm just more conscious of how much I'm spending and would rather leave the restaurant visits to special occasions or on an as-needed basis.
    Annual savings: approximately $250

  4. I stopped going for pedicures at the salon. You guys know that I'm all about Self Care (read my Post on my 12 Ways to Indulge in Self Care). One of the things I used to enjoy doing on a monthly basis was getting pedicures. I love getting foot massages too. As a matter of fact, if my money was right (and it WILL GET RIGHT before you and I know it), I would indulge in pampering myself regularly. Anyways, salon pedicures cost about $25 to $30 here, and now, I do them myself.
    Annual savings: $300

  5. My Clothes/Shoes Shopping is on an As-Needed basis. I'm not much of a shopper as I used to be. There were times when I enjoyed going to the mall and heading for the sale racks at New York and Company, H&M, Old Navy, etc. I enjoyed browsing for shoes on DSW or Payless websites, and my dad even said I should buy Nine West shares as I bought shoes from them all the time (that's when I had 60 pairs of shoes). Anyways, with my changing money mindset, I had to admit that I have A LOT of clothes. I may not have great style, but I can work with the clothes I have. I worked in retail for some time, and I think would spend about $300 or so (sales racks yo!).
    Annual savings: approximately $300

  6. I reduced my Cell Phone Bill. For a long time, I kept a second phone line in addition to mine, for whenever my husband would come visiting. Our combined phone bill was about $120, and for a while the payments were made mindlessly. One day while talking money, we agreed that it would be best to drop the second line as it was an unnecessary expense. I now pay $70 monthly, which might still be high for some, but I'm fine with it. I'm saving $50 a month.
    Annual savings: $600

  7. I stopped being a Product Junkie. My sister would roll her eyes and shout, "YES YES" to this one. I can be a product junkie. Even though I don't like shopping, I can spend a good hour in the beauty aisle of any store. My weakness is skin care, sometimes makeup, and also hair care. Again, this did not bode well for my bank account. Even though I shopped mainly at TJ Maxx or bought drugstore brands, the little $5 to $10 here and there, quickly added up! So now, I don't buy anything unless I have finished the same or similar product at home. I have maybe 5 bottles of shampoo at home - why do I need that many, and why do I want to buy more? Nope! When they're done, I will replace them.
    Annual savings: $100

  8. I went back to the Library. As you know, one of my goals for the year is to read at least two books a month. I used to be a voracious reader as a child, and somehow dealing with adulthood in the past 2 years stopped me from reading. However, once I determined I wanted to get back into it, I had two options of getting books inexpensively - I would either buy books from the Dollar Store (I've gotten some really great books that way), or join the library and read the books for FREE! Most of the books I've read or listened to in the past 2 months have been from the library. I'm currently listening to Michelle Obama's 'Becoming' and have 2 hard copy books, and 1 e-book also from the library. If I had to buy these books from a bookstore or online, I'd probably spend upwards of $20 a month. (See my Tips on How to Read More Books)
    Annual savings: approximately $240
I'm pretty sure if I dig deeper, there are other ways that I have reduced my expenses to help stay on track with my budget. But just these 8 things alone can save me approximately $2000 a year!!! CHINEKE!!! And tomorrow I'll be wondering why I didn't have enough savings to put towards my medical bills. Well, now I know. Of course, I still indulge in some things here and there - I will buy a book on occasion, or treat myself to a pedicure, and I need to replace my face serums. But the point here is that we can all find ways to cut costs, and instead put that money towards savings. 

If you have the income and are living below your means, please go ahead and enjoy the money you're working hard for. But if you don't have a healthy savings account, or looking for money to put towards investments, these are some easy ways to find that extra money.

This post is not sponsored, but you can check out Clever Girl Finance to start learning how you can become financially independent and successful. I especially love the members only Facebook group, as we support each other and give advice on how to save and make more money.


  1. These are such great tips for savings! Beauty can really break the bank eh? I too have made some sacrifices for the sake of my financial well-being. I stopped getting my hair done at the salon and especially when it comes to buying braids or weave extensions and putting them in every couple of months. I now keep a short low cut and it suits me well. It costs only $25 at most to get a nice hair cut every 3 months or so...I also stopped buying clothes which is ironic because I'm a fashion blogger but on the real, can't keep up with that expensive lifestyle. I still love writing about fashion but would rather not blog about my own personal style anymore, lol

    1. OMG, beauty care is so desirable to me, but my bank account isn't always happy about it.

      After I moved back to the US, there was no going to a salon for me - except maybe once a year (I'm due for a trim now that I think about it). But yeah, hair care is expensive if you're not in Africa.

      You found a good way to keep up with fashion blogging without spending your own money. Way to go!

  2. Well done Berry! It seems you are already on the right track. There is a lot I've cut back on already but I could do more. At the moment I'm hanging on for dear life to my Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions. I just don't have the heart to cancel these...

    1. I'm lucky because other people at home have Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions, so I don't have to pay for a separate one. But if they left, I would happily pay for Netflix.

  3. These are really great tips Berry! For me, I have drastically reduced "traffic snacks" from my budget. It's very painful because now I just sit and sulk in Lagos traffic for over 2 hours but i'm slowly getting there.


    1. LOL! Awwwww, you can buy snacks in bulk and take a few with you every day as you head to and from work. I always pack a snack and my lunch for work.


I'd love to hear from you about this post! Let's all learn and share our worlds.