In last month’s article “Manage Your Money, Don’t Let Your Money Manage You” we discussed the need for each of us to have a strong understanding of our expenditures and discussed some of the tools that can be used to track our expenses. Many, if not most, readers undoubtedly determined that their expenses are in excess of their income. For those of you who find yourself faced with this reality you will need cut your expenses and live within your means in order to grow financially.
There are many ways to cut your expenses without sacrificing your quality of life. The simplest is clipping and using grocery coupons; a household can easily save $5-$10 per week just by using the coupons found in your Sunday newspaper. Another painless way to cut costs is to begin replacing, as they burn out, your standard light bulbs with energy saving bulbs; many experts suggest that a single household can lower its electricity use by as much as ten percent using these bulbs. There are many other ways to cut your expenses, but the common thread is simply to be aware of things; for example, if you’re not going to be home for an extended period of time (even several hours) set your thermostat so that it will not run in your absence, allow the dishwasher to fill as much as possible before using so that it is run less frequently, etc.
Another way to cut your overall expenses is to remove unneeded options from your utility bills. In this day and time, most people communicate by cell phone so eliminate your home phone or if you do need to have a home phone revisit your phone service and remove unnecessary services such as voice mail, caller id, and long distance; if your cell phone has long distance service use your cell phone to make those calls. If you have cable or satellite cancel your movie channels; there are so many channels that do not cost extra surely you can find something to watch anytime of day without paying an additional monthly charge. Many utilities also offer a bundle service; if so take advantage, it typically will add a credit to one of your existing bills.
These small cuts could save you up to $100 each month which should enable you to save more money or at the very least, make paying your monthly bills less difficult. If these small cuts are not sufficient to correct any budget shortages you may have encountered, more serious cuts may be necessary to achieve your financial goals.
The most important step is making a conscious decision to cut your costs and begin making choices that reflect this new found commitment. I feel reasonably sure that each of us can find items within our existing bills that we can easily live without. Trim the fat off your budget now and you’ll thank yourself later.
By: Jeremy R Woods