The year hasn't ended and most of my Google Search Engine traffic comes from the following keywords: "getting out of debt", "debt reduction", "how to reduce expenses" and "shopping with coupons". That leads me to believe that many, many people not only overspent this holiday season ...they used their credit cards. With that in mind, I decided to write a post that will help readers reduce their monthly expenses. Cutting back on daily expenses that slowly and steadily eat up your money is key to getting a grip on your finances. There is one thing that I find to be the most important thing of all to attack debt reduction. What is that key factor? Being organized.
Let's begin by looking at a few expenses that can add up to significant savings if you take action and really cut back. Remember, organization is key to debt reduction.
Plan your mornings.
1. What does this mean? Get up a little earlier and make your own coffee. There are coffee machines that can be programmedto make coffee at a certain time. All it requires from you is to add the water, coffee and a coffee filter. Even if you have to buy a coffee machine, a $20.00 coffee machine will pay itself back in less than a work week.
2. Car pool if you can. You and your friend/coworker can add considerable savings to your gas budget.
3. Don't buy the paper. Often, it can be found at your job's cafeteria or lounge. Get some coworkers involved in saving money and have a different person buy it everyday. That would mean 5 people read the paper and only pay for it once a work week!
4. Bag your lunch. That's a no brainer. You can also involve coworkers to split a lunch tab. Here's an example: a neighborhood pizzeria has a lunch special of 2 large pies for $19.99. Split that with 5 coworkers ($4.40 each) and you each get several slices and a cheaper lunch tab. Bring your own water or beverage and you're ready!
Plan Your Evenings.
5. Have quick and easy meals planned for the evenings. This eliminates that need to buy takeout. (I'll be sharing some ideas for this in another post).
6. Can you cut back on your cable package? Do you really need over 300 channels? Take a close look at the channels you watch and eliminate the rest. It can save you some money. If you realize that you don't watch any TV, scale to the bare minimum. You can also get PC TV for a considerable savings.
7. How many hours do you spend on the internet? Do you REALLY need to pay for the internet? Can you disconnect it just until you get a handle on your bills? Find hotspots in your town and visit them. Most libraries offer free wi-fi. If you don't use the internet much and really need it, don't pay for it. If you can use your job's internet connection from your personal laptop (without repercussions) do so. (Make sure it's allowed before or after work hours and that your personal information will not be available to anyone!)
8. Unplug all your appliances when they are not in use. Your microwave, cable box, stereo, and computer all use electricity even when they aren't in use. (If you can see the time on display or it has a light on even when it's idle, it's soaking up electricity!) If you don't need to have it plugged in...UNPLUG IT!
9. Get rid of all your excess. ALL the stuff you have in your home is costing you money. If you don't use it, give it away or sell it. You pay rent or a mortgage every month. That means, everything that takes up any room in your home...cost money to keep. Makes you think...huh? If it's broken and you've been waiting for months to fix it and you haven't...chances are you won't. Give it away on freecycle. People will come and pick it up. People will take broken exercise equipment, projection TVs and more. (Make sure to specify what's wrong with it, if it is broken.) It's cheaper than hauling it to the dump (They charge per weight and time means money.) It also helps the environment by keeping it out of the landfills. You can also sell broken ipods, game consoles and more online. I'll be writing a long post about all the sites I've found that pay you cash. Do you have college textbooks, children's books or novels that are collecting dust? Read about Ebookdrop.com, a site that will pay you by paypal and provide pre paid labels for shipping costs!
10. Change your entertainment habits to curb your spending. There are many free ways to spend your time. Take a free class, volunteer or go to the library. Take up jogging, running, speedwalking or cycling. You will save money and stay fit!
I hope you found these tips useful. If you dare to really be frugal, visit Stephanie at Stop the Ride and peruse through her Make It From Scratch Carnival. You will find ways to make your own detergent, automatic dish washing detergent, dolls, olive oil lamps and much more. Visit the Make It From Scratch Carnival to get some GREAT IDEAS from some great blogs!