Personal Finance

5 Painless Ways to Trim Your Budget in '09 


With the new year approaching, many of us are working in to our resolutions a way to save more. A key to that equation is spending less, but are you doing everything that you can to trim your budget? I recently asked myself the same question and was able to cut back in a few areas that really surprised me.

1. My cell phone plan: I had no idea how many minutes I was using so I called my cell phone provider and found out that all my usage data was stored and accessible online when I logged into my account. It turned out that I was able to bump down a level without changing any of my calling habits, saving me 33% per month and about $240 dollars per year.

2. Trips to the coffee shop: I know we all love to stop for a cup on the way to work (and during other parts of the day) but the truth is that coffee costs real money. When I did the math, I found that taking that cup of joe to go from home could save me about $480 per year. I was even more pleased when I realized that I'd be using about 240 less paper cups per year as well.

3. Cosmetics: I was off on a cosmetics binge the other day at the mall; I spent $123 for one pressed powder, one lipstick, one eye shadow quartet and one mascara. At a drug store I bought comparable items for $18.73. You do the math! Sure we all love expensive personal care products, but their less-loved, drugstore counterparts can be just as good when we're trying to stick to a budget.

5. Bottled water: I'm not telling you not to drink it, just be careful where you buy it. On average you'll spend a dollar (sometimes more) for the typical half-liter bottle. I buy bottled water by the case (each case contains 24 bottles) at the grocery store for $4.99 -- that's 21 cents per bottle. If you drink two bottles of water a day that you bring from home instead of buying them on the spot, you'd save about $577 annually.

Have your own tips for making it on a slimmed down budget in the new year?

Jackie DeAngelis is a writer and producer at CNBC. Previously she worked as a financial analyst at Oaktree Capital Mgmt. Jackie earned her J.D. from Rutgers Law School in 2008 and her B.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University in 2002