The process of trying to to reduce the amount of money we spend on the things that are important to us is not an easy one. It requires discipline and sacrifice. Without proper organization you won’t succeed therefore there is need to do somethings first:
- Write down all your expenses: This is the first step towards achieving your goal which is cutting down on your expenses. You need to know where your hard earned money has always been going before trying to reduce it. Write them down; paying debt, electricity bills, transport, rent, insurance, cellphone bills and such like stuff. Write all of them down.
- Examine your list: So you have written down everything you’ve been spending your money on. Now it is time to look into it. Is there something that you are spending so much than you should be? Is there any way you can reduce this? What is it in the list that is taking so much from your paycheck? Is there anything in the list that you can do without? These are some of the questions you need to be asking yourself in your examination. You should also check out for unnecessary expenses in this exercise and remove them from your list.
- Create a budget: The third step is creating a budget. Decide you are going to spend a certain amount of money on this and that and do not go past the set amount.
- Track your progress : Once in a while you should also look at how you are doing with all this cutting expenses stuff. Make the necessary adjustments if need be.
- READ ABOUT: Emergency budgetting tips during this pandemic period
- Overcoming budgetting barriers
- Effective ways of dealing with budget deficits and budget surpluses
Some of the main things that we spend a huge chunk of our money on are: Food, Energy, Transport, Housing, Entertainment, Insurance, Shopping and Debts. So we are going to look at how we can spend less on these things.
Cutting food expenses
Food is an essential part of our lives. It is an expense that we can never forego unless you are fasting or something because we eat to live. A huge chunk of our paycheck goes towards food. Depending on where you live, which country you live in, how many people live in your house, your tastes and preferences the amount of money we spend on food vary from one person to another. In trying to cut your expenses you need to ask yourself if there is a way in which you can spend less on food than you usually do. If nothing comes to your mind you can try the following options ;
1. Carry your own food to work
When I was young mom used to make me carry my own food to school despite there being a canteen in school. Now I thought that was her protecting me from whatever was being cooked in those canteens but I later came to understand why. She was saving more by having me carry my food than having to buy. If you are able to cook your food and carry it to your workplace good for you because you are going to save more money.
2. Be a farmer
So you are spending so much on vegetables because they are part and parcel of our food and you have some small compound lying around doing nothing, have you thought of converting it into a garden? Because I think you should. Instead of buying you can take from your garden. Grow your onions, tomatoes, kales, cabbage in a small area near your house if there is space. Good thing about vegetables is that they take a short time till they are ready for harvest and since you are growing your vegetables in small scale, management should not be a difficult task.
3. Make your own coffee
Instead of buying the take away coffee on a daily basis have you consider making your own coffee instead? If you cannot do without coffee because you like it so much make your own. This way it is cheaper compared to the take away one. But if you can do without it then well and good because that means you will save more.
5. East or west…
Home is the best. Food in restaurants and hotels may be tastier than what you make at home. That we all agree but we also do agree that it is expensive and not pocket friendly in that case. If you are fond of eating in restaurants then it is time to slow down on that if you want to save some money you are spending on food. Consider making your own food at home because it is cheaper. The part of taste you can consider watching some YouTube tutorials to improve your cooking or even some cooking classes but just make sure you are eating at home.
6. Save on spices
Spices as the name suggests make our food more delicious. Food without spices is boring food. But one problem with spices is that they are expensive and come in small quantities. Another thing with them is that you don’t use them often and have specific food they are used in. The problem with that is that you end up keeping them for a long time and the more you store them the more they lose their taste. If you are the kind of person who spends a lot of money on spices consider buying only those that you use often.
7. Less proteins
By proteins here I mean meat products ; beef, pork, fish, chicken and the like. Most of us like meat products, the problem with them though is that they are not cheap. If you have a habit of eating them frequently then you agree that they rip off a huge chunk of money from your wallet. Now to curb this you can consider eating less of this type of food. Once or twice in a week sounds good or maybe turning into a vegan or looking for cheaper alternative sources of proteins like eggs and milk.
8. Cook in bulk
If you eat in restaurants because you are too busy to cook your own food at home then here is a trick. Most people work 40 hours a week. That means that you have the weekends to rest. Why don’t you cook food that can last you for a week during the weekends and store it in perfect condition so it does not spoil. Yes it is boring but if you want to save more try it out. This way you can also carry your food to work and eat at home as well.
9. Get a roommate
Getting a roommate means you will share the costs you are spending on food.
Some of the options above may look weird or even difficult to carry out but they do work. If you do have some more tell me I’ll add up.
Cutting transportation costs
People have to move from one place to another. You can take a bus, drive yourself to work, cycle, walk, take a train or even fly. It all comes down to you to choose. I don’t know which means you are using but have you ever thought of how you can save the money you are using on transportation? Consider these options if your answer is no.
1. Use public transport
If you own a car then a huge amount of money will be going towards its maintenance, gas, fuel, insurance, parking, interests among other costs. A person who uses public transport will not spend anything on those things and hence he will have more money. If you are used to driving yourself to work or whatever place then maybe take a break from it for some time take up public transport and see if you still want to continue with your private transport. I’m sure you will not because you shall have saved a lot of money. GOPUBLIC!!!
2. Share a ride
You work at the same place with your neighbor or let’s say he or she stays next to you. You have your car he also has his. Does it make more sense to share a ride to work with your colleague? This way you will save money you are using on gas or fuel everyday. Even if you offer to share costs in that case you will still save half the amount you were using before.
3. If you can; Cycle or walk
If you live nearby walking or cycling makes more sense than taking public transport or even driving to work. Here you will spend zero on transportation. Good for you!
4. Sell your car
Owning a car is not pocket friendly. Besides depreciation you constantly spend your money on its maintenance, insurance, gas or fuel and parking fee just to mention a few. In this case it makes more sense to sell your car and take up other options mentioned above like sharing a ride, using public transport, walking or even cycling. This way you can use the money you were spending on your car on other things of greater importance.
5. Take it slow
If you still insist on keeping your car and you want to save on fuel or gas then it is better to drive slowly. Limiting your acceleration and eliminating sharp stops will reduce the amount of fuel you are using on your car. This will hence mean more money in your pocket.
7. Work from home
Working from home is good for you and your employer. If you can work from home then it means the amount of money you will be spending on transportation is zero. If your employer was the one paying for your transport and you are working from home then it also means he will be keeping his money. If your employer can allow you to work from home then lucky you. If he does not want it for one reason or another then work to change his mind.
If you want to go somewhere maybe for holiday this may just be the best option for you. Renting car to your destination is way cheaper than buying your own and using it.
9. Proper maintenance
Keeping your car clean, inflating your car tires from time to time, using the right motor oil and general maintenance of your car will ddo wonders to it. If not increase its mileage hence less money going on fuel then it is spending less money on repairs. Proper maintenance also ensures your car is in proper shape once you consider selling it.
If you are staying far from your everyday destination say workplace or school have you considered moving to a place near your workplace or school? This way you will reduce the amount of money you spend on transportation and also it provides for other cheaper alternative means of transport like cycling or walking besides making you more punctual as you will reach your workplace or school on time.
11. Clean only when necessary or do it yourself
If you are the kind of person who keeps on stopping at the nearby car wash every now and then then it is time to stop that and clean only when it is necessary or if you have the time wash it yourself. Washing it yourself is the best option anyway.
Cutting housing expenses
Depending on where you live the amount of money you spend on rent varies from one place to another. We all agree that no matter where we stay rent rips off a lot of money from our wallets. It is advisable that people spend about 30% of their gross monthly income on rent.
So say you are earning $2000 per month before any taxes. You need to be spending ($2000 × (30÷100)) = $600
Past that you are living past your means which is not advisable, below that you are living a good life, about that 30% figure you are okay. 30% is a huge sum so how can you reduce this figure even further?
If you are living in an expensive house then it will be better for you to move to a less cheaper house. You can consider moving further from the city because houses near the city are more expensive compared to those in the suburbs or even rural areas. The problem with this is that transportation costs will go up.
Renting is more pocket friendly than owning a house because of the following reasons;
- Costs of paying rent is cheaper compared to owning a house.
- Repairs are not your responsibility when you rent a house.
- Lower insurance costs. If you rent a house you only need to insure the contents inside the house and not the property. Mortgage however, you have to insure the property together with contents inside the house.
- Low utility costs. The costs of paying for heat and electrity is higher when you own a house.
- You don’t pay property tax when you rent a house.
- There is no down payment when you are renting a house.
So if you own a house you may consider renting as an option if you want to save on housing. If you prefer owning a house to renting one then you can consider the rest of the options in this article.
3. Get a roommate
If you are in a rental house and not yet married you can consider getting a roommate, say your friend, cousin, brother or even sister. This way you will share the costs on rent, food and other things you are using in the house. Most university students use this and it works.
4. Do repairs yourself
Doing repairs yourself is cheaper compared to calling someone to do the repairs for you. Actually most repairs are the things you can do yourself because they are minor. So if it is something you can fix yourself then do it and keep your money.
5. Rent out a room
If you are having a large house with several rooms that you don’t even use some of them then it makes a lot of sense to make someone live in one of those rooms for a fee.
So you’ve been a tenant in a certain house for a very long time now that you have developed a good relationship with your landlord. If you are this kind of person then you can call your landlord and maybe negotiate your rent. If your landlord is an understanding person then he will definitely consider your request putting in mind the number of years he has been collecting rent from you.
7. Low taxes
If you own a house property tax vary from one place to another depending on the neighborhood, location and such like stuff. Moving from a place where you pay 3% as tax to a place you pay 1% as property tax will have some positive benefit to your wallet.
9. Smaller house
The amount of rent you pay in a three bedroom house is different compared to that you are paying in a two or one bedroom house. Single rooms also vary and all that comes down to one thing : space. Living in a huge house where you pay a lot of money yet you have few items in it is insane. If you are this kind of person then you should start looking for a smaller house which you will spend less on rent yet it is efficient just as where you are living in now.
Cutting energy costs
Most of the appliances and devices we in our homes are powered by electricity. Therefore to cut our expenses we also need to look at how we can save some coins that have been going towards powering our houses. So how can we lower our electricity bill?
- Replace your light bulb: if you are using the traditional incandescent light bulb you may have to run to the nearest electronic shop and buy Compact fluorescent lights ( CFLs) or Light emitting-diode bulbs(LEDs) because the traditional incandescent light bulbs use more energy compared to CFLs or LEDS. They may cost more when you are buying them but they will prove to be cheaper in the long run because they last longer and use less electricity in this case. Cool huh?
- Install a programmable thermostat for your heating and cooling system; this will come in handy when you are not at home and hence save your energy and money.
- Turn your lights off; lights also account for a portion of our electricity bill hence you need to conserve energy by turning off the lights of a room you are not in. Also when you are going somewhere make sure you don’t leave the bulbs on at any time. It’s a small thing but it counts.
- Turn off devices you are not using; there is no need to leave a TV on when you are not watching it. There is no need to leave your laptop on yet you are on your phone. So whenever you are not using an electronic device be sure to turn it off.
- Unplug unused electronic devices; whenever an electronic device is not in use yet it is plugged in a socket they draw a small amount of energy when they are not in use. This is referred to as ‘phantom load’. To make sure this does not happen and you don’t have smart power strips installed just unplug them from the socket.
- Smart power strips; unplugging an electronic device whenever you are not using it every time may prove to be a difficult task. This coupled up with our forgetfulness as human beings may just prove to be impossible. So the solution to this because you must save energy anyway is installing smart power strips. These will shut off power to the electronic devices whenever they are not in use hence eliminating the problem of electronic devices using power whenever they are turned off which accounts for an estimated 75% of the energy used to power them whenever they are on.
- Lower temperature of your water heat ; lowering temperature makes sure a lot of energy is not used in heating and hence lowering the cost of electricity.
- Insulate your home; this makes sure that the heat inside your house is not lost and also makes sure that cold air does not come into your house to raise the amount of heat used in keeping your house warm.
- Seal air leaks; this as insulation does make sure no heat is lost and also no cold air comes in. This means low cost of heating.
- Buy energy efficient appliances; The appliances we buy vary according to the way they use electricity. They may serve the same purpose but one is taking up more energy than the other. This counts on your electricity bill. So make sure you buy appliances which are energy saving.
- Don’t buy; the more electronic devices you have in your house, the more power they use, the more the electricity bill. More appliances will also mean you will spend more on repairs whenever they are broken down. This you can curb by maybe buying the electronic appliances you require and use most.
- Hang clothes outside; dryers use a lot of power. To curb this, you can hang your clothes outside on the line to dry and spend zero on drying.
- Wash your clothes in cold water; Washing your clothes in cold water may save you the energy you spend in heating the water you are using to wash. This makes a huge difference on your electricity bill.
- Shut doors and curtains; this makes sure heat inside the house is not lost and also nothing comes in. You should also make sure that you heat or cool the room you are staying in alone.
Saving on debts
Debts have become part and parcel of our daily lives as human beings. If you are not being chased by student loans then it is car loans, if not then it is credit card loans or even bank loans, if not, it is mortgages, if not then it is all of them💔. It is becoming rear to find someone who is not paying off debts. So that is why in our efforts to cut our expenses we also need to learn how we can minimize the amount of money we are spending towards our debt repayment. So how can we go about this?
1. Debt consolidation
It is not uncommon for one person to have debts from different types of lenders. One person can have student loans, car loans, mortgages, credit card loans and many others, all on his or her neck wanting a share of his money. Now the problem with this is that their management becomes a difficult task and also you end up paying a lot per month towards debt payment than you should. There is a solution to all this and that is debt consolidation. Debt consolidation is where you take one loan to pay off many other existing loans so you remain with one huge monster to kill. This reduces what you pay in interest per month. Some of the advantages of debt consolidation are;
- Easy management; Paying multiple debts at a go may be a difficult task, finding the proper way of paying them may also prove to be a equally difficult task. Debt consolidation makes your debt payment easy to manage because it brings all your debts under one roof. Instead of dealing with several small debts, you only deal with one.
- Credit score improvement ; debt consolidation will improve your credit score because you will only be dealing with one debt in this case and hence the chance of missing out to pay on one of your many debts because of one reason or the other is zero.
- Reduces what you spend on payment; The problem of having many debts is that each and every one of them has its own interest rates hence you find that what you spend monthly on paying your debts will be higher compared to when you were paying off a single debt. Debt consolidation offers that.
- Budgeting made easy; Because of a single interest rate you know how much you should be setting aside towards your debt payment every month with debt consolidation. This makes it easy for you to make your budget and hence the risk of spending your money on things you do not need is eliminated meaning more money to your pockets.
- Less stress; you are dealing with one monster compared to the stress of dealing with many. You get a peace of mind.
- Faster debt repayment; The disadvantage of having many debts is that each one of them has its own rates and hence each one of them has its own time of completely being paid off. Some may be longer and this means that you will spend your money on debt payment for a very long time. With debt consolidation, however, you will be able to pay your debts faster hence less money towards debt payment.
- Lower interest rates; If you have many loans, each one of them come with its own rates which end up being very high compared to when you have only one loan you are dealing with.
- One time payment ; you are dealing with only one loan when you consolidate which saves you the trouble of having to pay each one of the loans you have.
2. Look for an extra source of income
Finding an extra source of income can help you pay down debt because you can use the extra amount of money you are getting for that purpose that way you won’t have to use your monthly paycheck. You can consider several options that already exist like selling used items which are still in a good condition on Amazon, Bonanza, eBay, eBid, you can also drive for Uber or Lyft, you can start a blog, write ebooks and such like stuff.
You need to prioritize your debts in order to make sure you are paying less towards interest. The best way of doing this is to pay off those debts with high interest rates first then go to those that have less interest rates.
4. Use cash only
The idea of using cash only whenever you are purchasing things is to make sure you don’t get into more credit card debt. If you are using cash only to make purchases you will not be able to live beyond what your pocket can provide this is because you will be budgeting according to the amount of money you have at that time. You will be more frugal and hence you will not get yourself into more debts.
If you can forget to pay your debts for one reason or the other or you have many loans from different sources and you don’t want to consolidate, this might just be the best option there is for you. Here, a certain amount of money is channeled directly towards your debt repayment every time you receive your paycheck. It’s easy, efficient and also time saving(if you have to pay many debts). Also eliminates the risk of failing to payback your debt.
Cutting insurance costs
Insurance protects us from things that we do not expect but are predicted. It is the money you set aside for unexpected things that may happen to you in the future like you falling sick for example. That is why people need insurance and why you need to get one if you don’t have. For those who have you will agree that it also takes some money from our wallets each month and thus the need to look for clever ways in which you can reduce the amount of money you are spending on insurance. Some of the ways you can do this is by;
1. Compare and contrast
The first thing you need to do before deciding which provider you want to insure you is doing your own research. Know the other options you have first before you settle on one. This will make sure you spend your money on the best and which is more pocket friendly. Knowledge on which provider is offering the best deal before committing will save you a lot of money than you know. Without proper knowledge, you can end up choosing a certain provider yet there is another one offering a better deal with the same amount of money or even less. This is why you will see people trying to get out of a deal early which is often a very difficult task. So to save yourself and your money all this trouble you need to know your options first.
You also need to ensure that your current provider is offering you the best deal there is as of now. If you think it is not doing that you need to do your research and once you realize there is another one with a cheaper and better deal, switch sides. It all comes down to saving your money. There is no need to get stuck with a certain provider yet there is another one which is offering you a better deal.
2. Reduce risks
Insurance is setting aside money for unexpected things which are predicted and can happen, like accidents for example. So yo make sure you don’t use your money on this you can minimize the risks that will in one way or the other make you use your insurance. If you are an employer for example you can make sure your employees have the proper training they need to do whatever they are doing without
Saving on shopping
Depending on how often you do it, whether once a week or once a month there comes a time that you must buy something. The money we spend on buying things we need in our homes accounts for so much in our paychecks and hence the need to look for creative ways in which we can reduce the amount of money we are spending on our shopping. Try out the following ways;
1. Avoid impulse buying
Impulse buying is buying something that you did not intend to buy. Everybody has done this but for some of us we get used to it that it develops and becomes a habit. Impulse buying has many disadvantages; first, it will eat into your budget and secondly; it can destroy your money saving plans. It could also prevent you from creating good lasting financial habits.
2. Have a shopping list
Shopping without a list is a sin because, you will find yourself buying things you do not need which will have some effects to your wallet, it will also make you miss out on this you should be buying which means, once you miss out on buying them you are going to require more cash to buy them. Therefore, before you go shopping you need to sit down and write down all the things you need. Make sure you do not leave anything out. If you can match whatever you are going to buy with their respective prices the better. You should then number whatever you have in your list with their importance. The most important things which you cannot do without should be on top of that list. To save more cash, you can also remove some things you can do without through this exercise, you can also reduce the quantity of certain things and remain with just enough.
Once you have your shopping list please don’t buy anything out of it unless it is very important. Don’t buy if it is not in your list.
3. Use cash only
The problem with shopping using credit cards is that you can easily live above your means while you are getting into more debt. There is no limits while using credit cards while shopping. That is why you need to go CashOnly. Shopping with cash has advantages over using credit cards. One, you don’t live above what your pocket can support so you have limits and two, budgetting is easy which will mean you save yourself more cash in the end. So whenever you are going shopping please carry the amount of money that you will require and consider leaving your credit cards at home or keeping them somewhere where the urge of using them with be minimal.
4. Saving on clothes
We must look good and that is what clothes does to us. People usually judge us by the way we dress. That is why you will find people spending so much money on clothing alone. There is a problem with this, in an attempt to look we end up spending so much without really thinking about the effects it has to our pockets. That is why in our attempts to cut down on expenses we need to look at our clothing too. To make sure you are spending less on clothing, you can consider the following options;
- Buy less; there is no need to buy so many clothes yet you are only using a few. So if you are this kind of person consider buying less to save more money.
- Shop in thrift stores ; You can get quality clothes with less money. At least for some time you can consider this option and see how it goes.
- Buy cheaper ; You are spending so much yet they all serve the same purpose. You can still look good yet you are dressed in cheaper clothes.
5. Compare and contrast
Before you decide which store you want to buy your things from please know what other options you have. You can go shopping in a certain store yet it is charging so much. So before you enter a certain store, go to other stores, compare their prices and make sure that the one you will be buying your things from has prices you can manage. It will save you money.
6. Cheaper products
They all serve the same purpose yet you are buying the one which is more expensive, can’t you see you are spending money you ought to be saving?
7. Stop group shopping
Peer pressure will have you doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Same happens with shopping, you will buy something you do not need just because a friend bought it or because he or she told you to. When you are going shopping the only thing that you really need is your shopping list. That’s the only friend you should go with.
8. Give yourself time
If you see something that you think you should buy because of one reason or the other please do not buy it there and then because you have the money, instead go home, relax and think about that particular thing that you saw and ask yourself if you really need it now. If your answer is no then you just saved your money. If your answer is YES then it means you really needed it and you should go buy it.
If you are going to buy something and you can negotiate the price to be lower than what is indicated by the seller please negotiate. This will save you more money than you think.
10. Avoid shopping areas
Going to shopping areas when you do not plan to shop will often grow the urge to buy something because that is what the displays are meant to do. You will find yourself buying something because it looks good to you and because you have the money to buy it. That is why you need to stop going to shopping areas unless there is something you are going to buy.
11. Have a limit
Everything need a limit and so should your shopping. You do it too much, you find yourself spending so much money than you should. You can set shopping limits yourself. Sit down and decide you will be spending a certain amount of money per month on shopping and that’s it. Don’t go above the limit you set. And if expenses grow or reduce be sure to adjust.
Cutting entertainment expenses
The amount of money we spend on TV, online streaming services, movie theaters, vacation, video games, data bundles, gym membership, newspaper and magazine subscriptions and many other entertainment joints is so much. We spend upto thousands every year on entertainment alone and therefore there is need to look for creative ways in which we can reduce the amount of money going towards our entertainment in our quest of cutting down our expenses. Some of the ways in which we can do this is by;
1. Reduce traveling
Yeah vacation is good, it gives us a break from our daily lives among other advantages but too much of it makes our pockets suffer. If you like traveling to new places, no problem that’s what you enjoy but please consider traveling less to let you have more money in your pockets. That’s all!
2. Cancel some club membership
Let’s take for example gym membership or dance classes or yoga or anything of that kind. You have membership yet you rarely go there. If you rarely go somewhere that you have membership the best thing you will ever do is cancel it. Cancel your membership in whatever club or class because you are spending money on something that is barely helping you. That is the money you ought to be saving or putting it on something else.
3. Cancel newspaper and magazine subscription
You have subscribed to have newspapers and magazines delivered to you in your mailbox yet you don’t even read. The best thing like club membership is cancelation. You can turn to other sources like the social media for news updates.
4. Cable bill
Your cable bill accounts for much on entertainment costs. The solution to this is downgrading though this will mean that you get to watch less TV shows but it will also mean that you spend less money in paying for your bill and that you will spend less on electricity because now you will watch it less often.
5. Try out other options
You can try other cheaper entertainment sources. For instance you can go to the library and read some interesting books or maybe sign up for voluntary work. You will be enjoying it and at the same time you will be helping people while doing a huge favour to your pocket.
6. Get partners
You realise that some of your friends are interesting in whatever you are interested in as much. The best thing you can do for yourselves is partner up and share the costs. You will get to do what you like most and at the same time you will be paying less for it.
7. Rent instead of buying
Video games are major source of entertainment. People can spend upto hours playing games at the expense of their pockets. Some also save up so much to buy these video games. If you are into video games as much you can consider other cheaper options like renting instead of buying one.
8. Lower your cell phone bill
The internet is an important part of our lives today. People spend so much on data bundles just to keep up with whatever is happening and update us on their social media handles. It is expensive though and that is why you need to check on how much you are spending. If you see it is too much please do not hesitate to downgrade your data plan which will mean less Internet but more money to your pockets.
Cutting further on expenses: Grooming and habits
It good to look good; it boosts your self esteem for example but have you thought one time that maybe you are spending so much money on looking good; doing your nails from time to time, doing our hair, shaving often, expensive perfumes, expensive creams, make up and such like stuff. To cut on your expenses even further you need to look at different ways in which you can spend less on your appearance but still look good. Maybe reduce the rate at which you do your hair, buy less expensive body creams and perfumes, shave less often blah blah blah.
Those who have developed consumable habits like smoking and drinking will tell you that they are spending so much in funding their addiction in buying things like cigarettes and alcohol. Stopping these habits may be the best solution but it is the most difficult one. So you have to look for creative ways like buying less pricey drinks, smoking or drinking less often. The options you have are difficult to implement but it will save you more money.
There are several ways in which you can cut your expenses even further than this. If you have some more creative ways in which we can reduce whatever we are spending on our expenses tell me, I’ll add😉. Any misleading info in this article, point it out I’ll remove it.
THANKS FOR READING.