Maximizing Your Budget: Non-Discretionary

Maximizing Your Non-Discretionary

It’s the last month of our Maximizing Your Budget series! We’ve fleshed out each and every budget category this year and how to maximizing your savings on each. And we’ve come to the very last category, which is perhaps the most simple of all — non-discretionary spending. The thing about non-discretionary spending is that once you have it in place, it’s hard to change because it doesn’t change from month to month! It’s usually based on contracts or mortgages or yearly decisions or job locations, but as always, there’s wiggle room for savings. These tips will be short, sweet, but important nonetheless.


While the amount you spend on gas can vary some from month to month, for the most part it’s not variable because you must use your car for work or other obligations. That said, if you’re renting and the time comes to renew your apartment or house rental, choosing a location closer to work could save you a large chunk of gas money each month. Another option if you work far from home is to negotiate work-from-home days that don’t require driving into the office.


Every six months, review your health insurance to make sure it’s not only sufficient, but that you’re maximizing any discounts. Life changes like having a new child or buying a new car are especially good times to make these evaluations. It might mean saving money each month, but it could also mean paying a bit more. Johnny and I realized our auto insurance wasn’t sufficient a few years ago, so we ended up choosing a plan that cost a bit more. But that plan will ultimately save us thousands if we ever have a major car accident.


Although rent doesn’t vary from month to month, it is something that needs to be assessed each year or each time your contract is up for renewal. For instance, we’re currently living in a three-bedroom house. If for some reason we needed to find extra savings in our budget next year, our rent would be an obvious place to do it. By downsizing to a two-bedroom apartment, we could save a few hundred dollars a month.

And with that, our series is complete! So to recap, here are all our tips and tricks to maximizing each and every category of your budget!

We really hope this can be a helpful resource for someone, somewhere! I know we’ll be checking it as we calculate our new budget for 2016.

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  • Reply Emily December 15, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    How do you decide what you need in terms of car insurance? And home insurance, for that matter. Both of my policies could use to be updated, but I feel like I just kind of go for whatever the middle option is (of what I’m offered) and then pick the cheapest bidder from reputable companies. Any tips for doing that better?

    • Reply Joanna December 27, 2015 at 1:46 am

      Great question. We try to pay attention to the itemized fees and coverage options. Don’t hold me to this specific example, but for our car insurance, we don’t have passenger liability insurance because we only have a passenger in our car once every couple of months, so it didn’t seem worth it to pay for that.

  • Reply Melamie December 27, 2015 at 9:41 am

    I just re read the “eating out” entry from February to prime myself for January and my “restaurant fast.”

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