As I said yesterday, wasting money bothers me. But truthfully, any waste bothers me. Wasting natural resourses, money, time, anything — because I view waste as unnecessary to living happily and healthily on this earth. It always saddens me when I see waste ~~~ any type of waste.
Since we all view waste differently we will each approach ” doing away with it” in our own way ~~ but in this economy not doing it …. just doesn’t make sense. So today I am sharing some ways that you might stop wasting your money, get off the spending roller coaster and get your expenses to more reasonable level . A level that might allow you not only to live better overall but also might put you on the right path to accomplishing your financial goals.
First, make up you mind to cut your costs. That’s step one towards ending the waste. It’s going to benefit you. You can’t do it unless you make up your mind that it’s something you really want. In this economy with rising prices, bleak job prospects and the reality of inflation – you need to stop wasting your money now!
Second, decide what is most important to YOU. That’s right, figure out what you really want out of your life, what you want for your children, and where you want your life to end up. For some it might mean a home, college savings, or a new car, for others the reality is that life without debt and with a healthy emergency account would be a Godsend. Each of us is in a different place, and our goals are different. You need to know yours!
Third, start cutting. There are usually things in every life that can be cut or shaved down to cost less. Here are some of the things that come to mind.
- Paid Subscriptions – Can you get that same information online and cut out the cost of those magazine subscriptions? If you cannot cut all of them, can you cut most of them? Just write cancel on your next invoice and be done with it.
- Cable Subscriptions/Special Channels/Movie Packages – Do you have one or more of the ones that you pay extra dollars each month for that you really aren’t using to its full advantage. If you find you don’t need or use it, eliminate it.
- Trash Collection – If you pay for it, can you find a less expensive hauler?
- Newspaper – Can you get the same information online for free?
- Utility Bills – Can you figure out a way to save hot water, water in general, or electricity? Look around your house yourself, or get a free energy audit. Many utility companies offer free energy audits to homeowners. Everyone can save some energy and therefore some dollars with utilities. Maybe it just means filling your dishwasher full before running it, turning down your hot water heater a few degrees, or getting it an insulation cover. Look into resealing your window or doors, using a programmable thermostat to save energy by lowering the heat or air conditioning while no one is home or hanging out your clothes instead of using the dryer. Maybe you could plan on making 2 meals at one time, so you only have to reheat the second (in the microwave!), or baking twice the amount and freezing the items to have on hand.
- Activities – There are so many things you can do for free, as opposed to paying for them, just start by substituting one at a time. Renting a movie for a family movie night, even with the popcorn – will cost so much less than 4 movie tickets at today’s prices! You may actually find you enjoy this family time more than being in a movie theater.
- Restaurants – Cut back, or cut out. Eating out is an expensive alternative to making and planning meals. You will need to plan, and start slowly but there are many ways to do this economically. Pack your lunch (maybe from last nights dinner), then think Crock Pot, making several meals at once, or even checking out the many 30 minute meal recipes on the web. Buy what is on sale that week, and make your meals from those items, and don’t forget to use coupons if possible.
- Insurance – Get a new quote from several insurance companies especially for homeowners, renters or car insurance. Do this carefully as one discount may be tied to having both at the same company. When you stay with a company for a long time, and you do not review your rates – you could be losing money. Consider increasing your deductibles, and/or eliminating collision coverage if your vehicle is older and/or not worth much. The insurance company will not always fix your car with collision coverage, they will total it. If it gets totaled and is only worth $1000, is it worth paying for the collision coverage? This will always have to be an individual case by case decision, but you need to look at the numbers and consider it. Go online and see what vehicles like yours are selling for to get an idea of the value of yours.
- Phone/Cell Phone/Mobile Web Services – Keep your eye out for deals, and make sure you pay monthly for only the things you need. Having unlimited text if you never text isn’t really of any value to you. Get what you need and use first, at the lowest monthly cost, and anything else they throw in, great! Consider ditching the home phone if that makes sense for you.
- Personal Services – These will vary person to person, but just consider waiting one more week between appointments, or stretching the time before getting them done. On some, consider if the price you pay is worth the return. A gym membership you use once a month, may not be worth its cost; a tanning subscription when you never have time to get to the salon, etc. Can you do your own nails? Can you shine your own shoes? Can you buy clothes that allow you to skip the dry cleaning bill?
- Personal Purchases – Do you really need that? Or can you put that money towards your actual goals, the ones you chose as important to you above.
- Personal Products – Consider getting a drug store’s loyalty card, and waiting till an item is on sale before purchasing it. You might even want to consider buying 2 if they item is ½ price and is something you use regularly (and don’t forget to use a coupon if you have it!) You will buy it ½ as often, and be able to save the full price of the item. Pay attention to the bonuses your loyalty card may give you as these can mean extra savings on other items in their store that you might need. And remember there is a very big difference between NEED and WANT.
- Gasoline – Plan your trips so that you make less of them. Run an errand on the way to work, or on the way home. Think about what you need while you are out and plan the trip to make it worthwhile. And consider carpooling, the bus, train or other public transportation, walking or riding a bike if possible.
Now Start Saving – Now that you’ve cut out some of the wasteful spending, make sure you save what you cut for those all important goals you have! The ones you decided were important to you earlier (home, college, retirement, emergency fund). Just remember, you’re not cutting essential things… you are just cutting the waste, and when you do ~~you get to keep every one of those dollars!
Tomorrow…. I will tell you the ways I personally cut waste in my own household.