Tag Archives: cut your expenses

Get Your Debt Under Control | Reduce your Variable Expenses

The best way to begin getting the debt under control is to reduce your monthly spending. We all know the tried and true adage, “Spend Less than you Earn”. But do you ever wonder where to begin?

One simple solution, focus on reducing your variable expenses.

Variable expenses include those that can be changed or eliminated entirely.

Variable expenses are those that fluctuate each month, such as clothing, food, entertainment, vacations, utilities. And since it is easier to reduce variable expenses than fixed expenses it make for a great place to start cutting back.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Expenses

Reducing variable expenses is done by altering your daily habits. But if you can prepare meals by scratch instead of buying take-out and prepared or frozen food. Eating out is one of the most excessive categories for wasted money. Keep track of money you spend eating out for one month, you might just realize you are spending $416 on fast food and restaurants!

You might also start doing your own manicures or getting your haircuts done at a beauty school.

The goal is to reduce variable expenses to free up enough money to pay down your debt and build your cash savings or emergency fund.

Start or Join a Challenge

For those who need extra motivation or tips for cutting variable expenses, consider starting or joining a challenge. I just joined the Catfight of the Personal Finance Blogger Chicks. It’s a group of gals {Single Mom, Rich Mom, Barbara Friedburg Personal Finance, Move to Portugal and myself} clamoring for the win of who spent the least in the month of June.

We actually will all come out winning in the end, but it’s a great way to maintain motivation in paying down your debt, building your reserves or just making ends meet.

Reducing the Variable Expenses

Here are some of the ways I have started reducing variable expenses for this month:

OLD Habit NEW Habit
Eating Lunch @ Bistro Bring Lunch to Work Everyday
Cook Single Meals Batch Cook to provide several meals
Run errands several times a week Limit to once a week
Go to the Movie Theater Rent a Movie
Buy a Book Library or Kindle version

*I will need to come up with more ways, as I’ve pretty much eliminate things like subscriptions & gym memberships and I rarely go out to the bar or to a restaurant

Make your own list

Take out a blank notebook or piece of paper {or a blank Excel worksheet}. Across the top label: Expense, Current Monthly Cost, Budgeted Monthly Cost, and Monthly Savings. Then under the expenses column label the variable expense categories like, subscriptions, clothing & apparel, maintenance, groceries & food, entertainment, transportation, restaurant foods and utilities.

Consider all the ways you could start reducing your variable expenses today. List them all. Brainstorm freely. Is it turning down the thermostat a few degrees? Is it learning to fix things yourself {hey, I know how to change the brakes on my car!}. Or is it learning to darn the hem on your pants?

Now calculate the difference between paying someone to do these things versus you doing them yourself {Manicure $30 at the salon versus free if you do them at home}.

What are some of the ways you can reduce your variable expenses right now or have been practicing already in your life? Please comment and share those awesome ways. We can help each other save money if we “lead by example” – incorporate the following attitudes and practices into your life, which will help improve your own life, but also begin to fashion yourself into the kind of person that others will follow and emulate. ;)