When you're faced with the challenge of reducing your expenses it can be overwhelming. Many times we see our lives as one way and have a hard time envisioning ourselves living differently. I have talked with many clients who just don't know where to begin with when they need to reduce expenses now.
It's hard to take a one-size-fits-all approach to reducing expenses. Every person, every family faces unique circumstances and must evaluate what is the best way to reduce expenses and gain immediate results. Here are 22 ways you can reduce expenses now and see a savings at the end of the month:
- Buy generic – name brand everything is not a necessity in life
- Sell a car – not practical for everyone but how many vehicles do you have and can you live without one for a time? No payment, less insurance, less maintenance.
- Dry clean at home – there are dry clean at home kits that work very nicely. When I worked in an office I used them frequently.
- Eliminate or reduce extracurricular events – Ballet, tennis, baseball, soccer, wrestling, 4H and field hockey. Sometimes you just need to pick one and focus.
- Carpool – If you can't sell your car what if you can save $700 a year? Yes, you can. Find out just how much carpooling can save you with this nifty carpool calculator.
- Price shop your utilities – In many area electricity and natural gas are deregulated which means you can shop suppliers. You're not stuck with the local utility. And don't forget to price shop your propane and heating oil too.
- Stop buying lottery tickets – The average American spends $400 a year gambling. Not just lottery but what about the local bingo, gun raffle, or other fundraising lottery? Yep, stop it!
- Quit smoking – The average smoker spends 14% of their income on tobacco. If you make $50,000 a year that's $7000.
- Use mass transit – That handy calculator I mentioned above will show you if this is a viable option too. If you can't see mass transit for groceries and errands what about twice a week to work?
- Sell unwanted “junk” – Here's a few ways to sell your clutter.
- Stop home maintenance services – How much are you spending a month on lawn care, pest control or maid services? The average seasonal cost of lawn care is $1,000.
- Shop thrift instead of new – Why spend $50 on an Easter outfit for little Johnny that he'll wear once? Hit the consignment or thrift store and spend a fraction of that.
- Sell collectibles – If you need money fast and you're sitting on a valuable collectors set of whatever, consider selling it.
- Cancel newspaper/magazines – you can live without them, and find the same great tips, tricks, and secrets on Pinterest.
- Cancel memberships – Ditch the gym and by a great workout DVD.
- Pack Lunch – In 2013 the average cost of eating lunches outside the office was $936. If you make a dinner with sufficient left overs you can pack lunch and cash in on the savings.
- Skip the Latte – Make coffee. It's so much cheaper. Save the latte for a special treat but skip it as an every day thing.
- Unplug electronics – This breaks it down for you.
- Buy foods in bulk – If you have space you can save a bundle by buying foods in bulk. Even if you eat healthy, you can still save.
- Price shop your home owner's insurance – Just like your utilities, homeowner's insurance rates should be checked and compared
- Compare car insurance prices – You can save 85% or more by…oh wait, everybody knows that!
- Cancel Cable/Satellite – I know it's painful to think about but it. An average savings of $74 a month is pretty significant. That's over $700 a year in savings.
It isn't always easy or fun but the discipline that comes with managing your money properly today sets you up for success tomorrow. Sometimes getting rid of the coffee shops stops and the fast food lunches now can mean you stay within budget this month or reach your savings goal sooner.