When you’re living paycheck to paycheck like many Americans, budgeting can be incredibly difficult. After all, how can you create a successful budget when you’re struggling just to pay your basic bills?

There are lots of ways to trim back your budget so you can breathe a little more easily month-to-month. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to build a practical budget that fits with your income, family and lifestyle – and hopefully takes some of the pressure off.

Cut Back on Food Expenses

When you’re trying to save money, generally the first thing to decrease is eating at restaurants. And with good reason! The average American household spends about $3,000 per year dining out.

Instead of letting that money go to waste, use online resources to help you create a cheap and easy meal plan. Plan out all your meals for each week, pack your lunches and avoid the drive-through like the plague. By purchasing groceries and ingredients instead of eating out, you’ll spend only a few dollars per person per meal and put some of that $3,000 right back into your own pocket.

Check Your Subscriptions

It’s easy to let a free trial turn into a monthly subscription – and they add up quickly! Even if you’re only paying $9.99 per month for your gym, if you’re not using the membership then you’re losing almost $120 per year.

Tally up all your subscriptions from streaming services, gyms, apps and other sources. See which ones you can live without and then cancel them. You’ll be surprised how much this small adjustment frees up your budget!

Shop Around for Better Service Providers

There’s not much negotiation when it comes to utility bills and rent payments. However, with services like insurance, phone and internet providers, you have options.

If your insurance and other service provider fees are stacking up, it may be time to shop around for new providers. Phone and internet service providers especially are constantly trying to undercut the competition, so use that to your advantage.

As for your car insurance, call your current provider and ask if you’re eligible for any discounts. If not, spend some time comparing rates and coverage online to see where you can get a better price that fits your monthly budget. 

Be Conscious of Utility Use

Our dads may just have been on to something all those years they told us not to touch the thermostat. Keeping your house a little cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer will do wonders for your electric bill.

Plus, little things like unplugging electronics that aren’t in use and washing clothes in cold water conserve energy. Not only will you save money, but you’ll be environmentally-conscious as well!

Track Your Spending

The key to effective, realistic budgeting is sticking to it. Once you have a hard-and-fast budget planned out, keep track of everything you spend so that you can be sure you’re not going over budget in any area.

You may even think about keeping a running tally in your phone of all your expenses and spending for each week. Then check in at the end of the week and anything extra you didn’t spend can be rolled over into next week’s budget or put straight into your savings account.

Plan to Save Up for Large Purchases

Need a new vehicle? Hoping to land a bigger TV? These types of big purchases are often made impulsively, but you can help your budget by saving up for them instead.

If you finance big purchases, you do get the immediate gratification, but you’re also stuck with a monthly bill plus interest. If it’s at all possible to wait, save up for your bigger items by setting money aside each month and then buying them outright once you’ve saved enough. This way you avoid paying extra in interest and getting bogged down in yet more monthly bills.

Take Advantage of Online Payday Loans

When you’re in a tight spot and cutting back simply isn’t doing the trick, there are still options available.  With LendNation, you can get an online payday loan to get you through that end-of-the-month stress and get your budget back on track without ever leaving your house. LendNation not only offers a variety of flexible loans, but also provides in-store and online options so you get the cash you need in the most convenient way possible. Get more information on LendNation title loans, installment loans and payday loans online. Then find a location near you or apply online today and ease your budgeting woes!