Chances are your finances suffered in 2020. Studies suggest that more than 4 in 10 Americans lost some portion of their income as a result of the pandemic and its aftermath. With many people looking to cut costs and save money, Consumer Credit Counseling Services compiled the list below. Put these budgeting suggestions to work in your back-to-school plans and regain control of your finances.

Five fast ways to save money

  • Cancel subscription services. From streaming sites to meal delivery, there is a lot of waste in monthly subscription services. Overpaying for each item as well as the shipping to get it to your front door is compounded dollars down the drain. Luckily, these services do not generally require long term contracts. Turn them off today and save money tomorrow. This is a fast and easy way to find room in your budget.
  • Monthly memberships to gyms or clubs that you no longer utilize could be money moved to more important priorities. Utilize community based programs with per-use pricing to get the most out of your disposable income. Alternatively, consider an investment in home-based equipment that will last for years to come.
  • Entertainment requires more creativity today, and that’s OK. Outdoor hikes, an afternoon at the local fishing hole, a nap in the hammock--there are many great ways to relax without breaking the bank. Expand your idea of what it means to have fun. Expensive dinners and fancy shoes have their place, but you can easily live without them. 
  • Second-hand stores are your new favorite places to shop. Vintage boutiques, thrift stores and garage sales make more sense than ever. There is plenty of stuff in the world. The sooner we learn to reuse existing things, the better able we will be to reduce pollution and the amount of trash we produce each year. This is an all-around good time to shift your shopping habits toward sustainability. 
  • Shop local! Support your community and buy from local businesses. The overall health of the economy depends on the mom and pop shops that have served us for generations. When you have a choice about where to spend your hard-earned money, make it count by buying local. We’re all in this together and the local business owner you support today benefits all those working to build back our communities.

Be proactive, get professional help

Shifts in your budget generally require shifts in thinking. Instead of moping about money, take control of your spending. Be intentional, prioritize what you truly care about. Make a plan, be disciplined and get the results you want. The suggestions above don’t require suffering or hardship. They are minor adjustments to your routine that you may actually enjoy.

CCCS is here to provide financial literacy, budgeting advice and credit counseling for all Kansans. Are there suggestions missing from this list that helped you save money? Share your ideas in the comments below. Reach out today, online or over the phone. Speak with a trained financial counselor dedicated to helping you take control of your finances.