A wise man once said that solutions that save you the most money in the long run are typically healthier for you and better for society as a whole. This statement applies to the three expenses you should cut today that we will cover in this blog post.
When you need to cut expenses, if a lifestyle change is not needed, then at least, you need to consider a new way of thinking about money and your relationship with it. In the United States, most of our population has a dirty little secret: they are slowly being crushed by crippling debt. Most of this can be thwarted by simply creating a budget and having the confidence to not care what others think as you make thrifty decisions. In the end, you will be the one living the dream.
To help you on your way, here are three expenses you can drastically cut with little effort.
After student loans and mortgages, car loans are the largest debt that American consumers have. There are a variety of ways you can cut this expense. First of all, NEVER buy a new car or get a car lease. With a new car, you instantly lose thousands of dollars the moment you drive it off the lot. With a lease, you are essentially taking on the depreciation of value so the dealer does not need to. Leases are one of the most toxic financial products out there.
Depending on your income and level of debt, you may consider selling your expensive car and purchasing a used car. If you do not mind how you look, there are plenty of $2,000 used cars on the market that run great. If you are more concerned about looks, $5,000 should be enough to get you a quality ride.
Super Cheap Alternative: The least expensive (and healthiest) alternative is using a combination of public transportation and cycling to get around. By selling your car, you say goodbye to insurance, fuel, licensing, repair, maintenance, and other costs. When you bicycle, you immediately have a positive impact on your health. You may even be able to cancel your gym membership and save more money! Plus, if you find you need a car for an errand, many urban areas have car share programs.
It is great being able to see your favorite shows “live,” or when they initially air. But, is this small enjoyment really worth the $100+ per month cable bill? Plus, have you ever come across a cable company that did not make you angry with their customer service? More and more savvy consumers are realizing that the exorbitant prices paid to a company they do not like is just not worth it.
Now, for under $10 per month, you can get a virtually endless library of movies and TV shows right on your television using one of the many services now available. All you need is an internet connection and one of the several receiver options available. These typically have a one-time cost of around $40.
Super Cheap Alternative: Are you looking for FREE movies, TV shows, music, and books? Check out your local library. You may be surprised at what you find. Many libraries do a great job of getting the latest media as soon as it is available. If they do not have what you want, you can request that they get it. Additionally, several libraries even offer mp3 downloads and eBooks.
When we are helping clients, we request that they keep close track of how much they spend on dining out in a month. They are almost always surprised by the numbers. Dining out is usually up there with transportation in one’s monthly costs. Don’t believe us? Go ahead and track your spending for the next month.
The alternative here is simple: go grocery shopping and cook your own meals. The most common excuses are that this takes too much time, you do not know how to cook, or it does not taste as good. Our simple answer: Don’t give up so easily! Everything takes a little practice to get good at. Over time, you will find recipes that are easy and tasty (the Internet is full of them). You will also plan your meals better and cook large enough batches, so you can have lunches for the week.
Super Cheap Alternative: No matter where you live, odds are you can grow some food. As with cooking, gardening takes a little practice to get good at, but you will slash your food bills by growing food. Foraging, fishing, and hunting are also free to inexpensive ways to bring your food budget closer to zero.