Much like my recent post on finding extra income if you’re poor and unskilled, this post is about methods for reducing your expenses, which SHOULD be possible for most people. If you’re not doing any of the things listed, and *still* have trouble getting by on your salary (which is at least equivalent to full-time, minimum wage work), please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to help you work something out…One of the best parts of cutting expenses instead of increasing income, is you pay for almost all expenses with after tax dollars. A dollar saved is worth more than a dollar earned (since the government will do its best to take as much as possible of that earned dollar away from you).
I’m not saying everyone should do each of these things (I don’t). These are just ideas for ways that most people could spend less money (if that’s your bag, baby).
- Stop using recreational drugs. This includes legal and illegal. Tobacco, alcohol, pot, etc. Stop doing all of them. Even if you’re smoking Rothman’s (sniff). Ben Stein has some interesting thoughts on this.
- Stop eating out. I was able to save hundreds of dollars when I started preparing food at home instead of eating out all the time. If you miss the social element of dining with friends, start having each other over to your houses and cook for each other. Similarly to eating at home, you can save money by making your own meals instead of buying pre-prepared meals.
- Cancel your cable. You don’t need TV. Really! You can even become like this guy.
- Cancel your internet. It pains me to add this one, as I’d go and collect empty bottles for $20 / month before I’d cancel my internet. HOWEVER, you CAN surf at your local library and most people could get by with 30 or 45 minutes there each day.
- Move into a smaller living space. If you’re in a house, move into an apartment. If you’re in an apartment, move into a smaller apartment (or get a roommate). At the most extreme, rent a room in someone else’s house or a rooming house. At the ultra, ultra extreme consider living in a vehicle (maybe talk to family / friends before you get this desperate though).
- Get rid of your car(s). If you need your car to get to work or school, move somewhere closer that you can walk / transit from. If you have more than one car, consider selling the extras and getting by with just one. I’ve never owned a car. Maybe you can’t get rid of it if you’re living in it though ;-).
- Quit your job. A common idea in many blog posts is whether you’re further ahead or not having a second parent work. Crunch the numbers and see if you might be further ahead staying at home instead of working.
- Cancel any / all memberships. Get rid of gym memberships, Netflix, etc. Re-occurring expenses are killer.
Debt reduction blogs will have FAR more ideas than presented here, but these are some areas I’d look at trimming if I was spending more money than I was earning each month (or if I wanted to stop working with less savings). The basic theme is these are all wants, rather than needs. Learn the difference, get rid of the wants that aren’t worth the money you’re paying for them, and LATER in life, when you have more cash, re-introduce them to your lifestyle.
What are the first areas you’d look at cutting out of your lifestyle if you wanted to trim your monthly expenses?
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