The problem with our society is we want everything NOW. We wanted the name brands and the newest technologies. We want to be 10 pounds lighter, and $10,000 richer. We want, we want, we want, but we don’t want to work for it. That’s why our debt is so outstanding. Credit cards make it convenient to get the things we want now.
If you were to just use your credit card for one month and not pay cash for anything, you would see what silly things you spend your money on, and more than likely, you’d notice you spend more than you make. I tried this experiment, and I really did spend more than I made. I also noticed that I spent money on frivolous things, things I could do without.
Here’s some ways you can cut down your spending and live within your means. These suggestions can also help you have extra money at the end of the month to pay down those high balances on your credit cards:
1. Coffee addicts
Skip the Starbucks drive thru, buy a bag of coffee and make it at home. How many times do you buy a cup of coffee per week? A bag of coffee can last you between 2-3 weeks and costs the same as 4 cups of coffee. If you buy coffee at the grocery store, it could cost less.
2.Bring your lunch to work.
The cost of a meal you prepare yourself averages less than $4.00. Plus it’s healthier, too. Most lunch meals start around $8.00 at a nice restaurant. (I’m not even considering fast food junk). And if you can’t think of what to make, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are very satisfying and a real cost saver.
3. Take snacks with you
Prepare snacks to take with you wherever you go. Dried fruit and nuts are healthy and satisfying. A candy bar at a vending machine is $1.00 and will make you feel like crap.
4. Pre-plan meals
When you go grocery shopping, make a list. Spend a day cooking meat, rice or something big like chili that you can heat up and eat throughout the week.
5. Choose the larger portion
What?! Yes, that’s right. When you go out to eat, buy the larger portion but only eat half and take the rest home with you for lunch the next day. It usually only costs an additional $3.00, but you get twice as much food. Depending on the portion, you may even be able to get 3 meals out of that one entrée.
This is a win-win. You save a bit on gas, plus you have people to talk to during traffic jams.
7. Work from home 1-2 days a week
This doesn’t work for every job out there, but for those who travel for work, there is no reason why you can’t work from home. This will save you gas and mileage, and you might even get more done without the office distractions. Talk it over with your boss and ask for a trial of one day a week for 90 days. You might start a trend where the whole office stays home for one day a week and reduces the cost of electricity at the office (remember, show them the business benefits).
8. reduce your bills.
- If you have cable, it’s time to cut it. Think about it, you’re paying money for something you see for only 6 hours a day at most. I was paying $161.00 for basic cable, not even the premium movie channels. I switched to Playstation Vue through Amazon TV and reduced my bill by $100.00.
- Turn off lights when you’re not in the room.
- Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth.
- Air conditioning in the summer? Turn it up 3-4 degrees from your usual comfortable temperature if you aren’t going to be home.
- Heating in the winter? Turn it down 2-3 degrees from your usual comfortable temperature and wear more sweaters and blankets.
9. Don’t go out every weekend.
Social events cost money, but don’t blow it all at the bars. Have a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) party, and have fun mixing your own drinks in the comfort of your own home. Or have a movie night, or some alone time reading a book. There’s so many things you can do with friends or alone that don’t cost a lot and are still enjoyable.
10. Budget your money for the week
After your paycheck arrives and you pay for your living expenses, take out enough cash to pay for groceries and gas and a little spending money until the next paycheck. If you blow through that amount in 3 days, you know you have a spending problem. This takes discipline, so if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
What others tactics do you use to save money? Let me know in the comments!