Cutting Expenses is part of a 6 step series about Getting Out of Debt
When you first begin to take account of your personal finances you may feel a bit of panic develop, “where am I going to get money to (fill in blank)?!” (eliminate credit card debt, save for an emergency fund, put away for my kid’s college education, etc…). Take a deep breath.
To start this debt-free journey takes a bit of analyzing your records and habit. Begin by thinking where you can cut back on expenses. To help you get started here are 20 ways to cut your spending down and discover funds to reallocate to your ‘fill in the blank’ statement.
- Renegotiate your cell phone contract. Yes, it is time to cut the extras. Cut the internet service, applications that take a fee to use (like the XM radio), reduce your plan’s minutes – most people don’t use 1/3 of their minutes – especially if they are in your circle.
- Buy the generic brand at the grocery store. Of course, not all generic brand items taste up to par, but you won’t know which ones until you try it. This is definitely a saver.
- Make your own coffee. Cut out or down on the Tim Horton’s or Starbuck’s coffee. At $4+ a visit, you can save some hefty cash. *Thinks: $4 + 5 = $20 x 56 = $1,120 a year savings
- Brown Bag your Lunch. Cut back or eliminate eating lunch by bringing a brown bag lunch (they seem to taste so much better and are usually healthier for you than the fast lunch special). Want to see hwo much you can save? Click Here. Save more by using your own lunch containers and fabric snack bags.
- Rent a Movie. Find or reserve a movie at RedBox for a buck a night, add a bucket of fresh popped popcorn and call it entertainment night. Need a little more excitement? Add a few friends and make it a potluck night. You’ll still save money against going to the movies (due to atrocious ticket prices and saving from going out to dinner @ $60+ a pop).
- Make a Grocery List. This can be a huge money saver. Make a list and stick to it. Don’t deter. This goes in hand with the next item on the list.
- Plan your menu. You’ll also reduce coming home frantic about what to cook for dinner. Since you shopped with your grocery list, you’ll have everything you need for each menu item. Planning your menu keeps you from having to make extra trips to the grocery store because you forgot an item.
- Make dinner from scratch. Learning to cook without the boxed convience can save you oodles of money. There are plenty of online sites to help improve your skills in the kitchen.
- Drink Naturally. Switch your drinks to water, sun tea, hot tea, add a lemon or lime to your water. Not only does your body need water, it is better for your health, and will save you money.
- Withdrawl cash only from your bank’s ATM. Avoid ATM charges by withdrawling cash from the bank you where you hold your account. Borrowing from other branches can charge you $2 and up. On top of that, your own bank may charge you, too!
- Stop your bad habit. Whether it be smoking, drinking, excessive shopping. STOP. You can save a bundle.
- Borrow from the Library. Before you click that Amazon button to complete your purchase, check your local library for a copy. Many libraries stock a pretty current collection of books and movies. Like classic books? Check out LibriVox for free audio books from the public domain.
- Check out the Community Calendar. Need to get out of the house for entertainment? Check your city or county’s community calendar. There are usually tons of listings for free shows, exhibits, and seminars available for your pleasure.
- Start using coupons.
- Cancel those reoccuring subscriptions. Magazines, gym memberships, online games, the surf shirt collections, etc…
- Buy clothes from the second hand store. Take the time to move through the racks and you’ll be amazed what you find. I got lucky one time and found 4 Hawaiian shirts with the tags still on – they became a Christmas gift for an old surfer friend.
- Drive Less.
- Get rid of the landline.
- Learn to fix things yourself. There is a plethera of free resources to learn how to fix something. My husband and I are pros at fixing a washer. And it’s still continues to work great.
- Do your own spa treatments.
- Dress in Layers. Turn down the thermostat a few degrees and bundle up.
- Pay off that Debt. Literally save thousands of dollars in interest payments.
- Stop eating out. Simple enough to understand – I do, see here.
Curbing your expenses is a learning process. Continuous practice of eliminating or curbing your expenses will soon become second nature – a saavy healthy habit to obtain. When you begin to practice updating your budget each month you will soon discover more ways to allocate cash to fund the (fill in the blank).