Pare Down to the Necessities
This advice may seem to run counter to the idea of extreme couponing, which often requires buying in bulk, but it concerns a different class of spending: bills. Look at what you pay money for every month -- rent or a mortgage, electricity, water, gas, telephone, cable and insurance. Do you need all of those things? Sure, most of them are important. We'd never suggest cutting out insurance or mortgage payments! But services that everyone once paid for, like cable TV and a landline telephone, can be replaced by cheaper solutions via the Internet.
Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video all offer streaming video content over the Internet for less than $10 per month. Skype offers cheap VoIP calling to phones and free calls to other computers. What do you pay for cable TV? $40, $50, $100 per month? Are you paying for a bundle that includes phone service as well? Could you make do with just a cell phone? And could you pay less for a limited text and data plan instead of an unlimited one?
We dump hundreds of dollars into our bills every month, and more often than not that's excessive. Look around for free or cheap alternatives to those services you pay for every month. That will leave you more money to spend on fun purchases -- which you should budget, too, of course! Next up: a surefire way to make sure that kind of spending doesn't get out of hand.