Trying to trim expenses can seem like a never ending task, as new expenses always pop out of nowhere. With already tight budgets, the task of reducing spending can seem impossible. You’ve already cut out your morning latte and canceled your gym membership – what more can you do?
Lowering your expenses is definitely a daunting task. While you’ll have to make sacrifices and get a little creative, it definitely can be done without cramping your lifestyle too dramatically. Here are five of my favorites ways to easily lower your spending.
Cut Up Your Credit Cards
Take a close look at your credit card collection if you have multiple cards and decide which ones you should keep using and which ones you can cut up. First, note the interest rate for each card, and don’t use the ones that charge the higher rates. Obviously, it is ideal to be able to pay off your bill every month but that isn’t always realistic depending on your situation. Second, take a close look at the rewards programs for each card. Such programs are becoming more and more competitive and can be a determining factor when deciding what your go-to card should be. Also, canceling credit cards can negatively affect your credit scores as it lowers your credit to debt ratio. Consider literally cutting them up and forgetting about them instead of really canceling them. You may also want to consider freezing them.
Be Your Own Chef
Food is one of the biggest expenses we face and most people are guilty of spending too much on dining out. Don’t ignore this habit because the expenses can really adds up. Cooking more at home can easily and drastically lower your spending.
But what if you hate cooking? Don’t worry, because you can still save. Most people hate to cook because of the amount of time it takes. To mitigate this, do it once a week by meal prepping. Make a big batch of whatever you want and portion it out to multiple meals a week. When it’s time to eat, all you have to do is heat it up – even easier than going out. If you’re not a fan of meal prepping, try a meal subscription service, like $5 dollar meal plans, which sends you recipes for meals conveniently.
Ride a Bike
Car maintenance and gym memberships can cost an arm and a leg. Why not kill two birds with one stone by riding a bike? Depending on where you work, riding a bike to your office could be a great option to get a workout in and save money on gas. Many big cities also now have bike sharing programs, which makes it even more convenient to ride wherever you need to go.
Reinvent Your Social Life
Socializing with friends takes time and money. Just having a single drink could cost up to $15 with tax and tip and that adds up as the night goes on. However, there are plenty of inexpensive or free activities you can do instead. If you’re going out for drinks, consider meeting up during happy hours. While timing might not be ideal, it can cut your bill in half. Also, every city, big or small, has free events, especially during the summer time. So take advantage of them while the weather is still nice.
Analyze Your Bills
Getting a bill is never a fun moment, but be sure to take a thorough look instead of quickly glancing through it. Many of us end up paying fees we don’t realize every month that could easily be avoided. Also, look carefully at your usage every month, particularly when it comes to your cell phone and utilities. Perhaps you could lower your texting plan if you’re not close to using your maximum for the month, while others can easily trim their data plans. Small details like these seem insignificant when you look at them individually, but everything can collectively make a huge difference in the long run.
David’s Note: That’s why I cut out my cable bill when I was making the most money of my life. It’s not always about whether I can afford the cost or not, but rather how much I am getting out of the expense. Is $100 a month, which turns into multiple hundred thousand dollars in my lifetime when you consider opportunity costs of having that sum invested, worth being able to watch shows like Game of Thrones earlier? The choice is always a personal one, but for our family, the answer is a definite no because I’m just unwilling to work a ridiculous amount of more hours to pay for this privilege.
Anyone can lower their expenses if they want to. The question has always been whether you are willing to do so.
Editor's Note: Did you know about the service called $5 meal plans? For $5 a month, they send you recipes of delicious, healthy, yet cheap food that costs just $5 a meal.
Several of my friends signed up and they are able to eat at home more because the instructions are easy to follow, making everything convenient. The deal also comes with grocery shopping lists, which saves them so much time. Check it out yourself by clicking here and you too may be able to save more and become healthier at the same time.