Most suggestions for cutting back on expenses also drastically cut back on your lifestyle, like giving up restaurants and new clothes. Is it possible to reduce your expenses without altering your lifestyle? Yes, it is. And it’s a lot easier than you think.
If you feel like you don’t have enough money, you have two options: earn more or spend less. Earning more isn’t always viable, and spending less can sound so difficult.
Never eat out, eat only rice and beans, only shop at the thrift store. These are common suggestions for cutting expenses. But they seem so desperate! Sometimes a girl just needs a new pair of boots, you know? Aren’t there any ways to cut expenses without feeling like you live in poverty?
Yes, there are! Here are 3 simple, easy, painless ways to cut expenses so you can master your finances in 2017:
Last year, I decided that it was finally time to shop around for insurance to see if I could get a better deal. I had only heard Dave Ramsey say it about a million times before I actually got over my laziness and did it.
I had been with State Farm for a full 17 years, just over half my life at the time. How did I choose them when I was 16 and got my first car? That’s who my mother had. What, isn’t that how you make all your buying decisions?
Can you imagine buying the exact same thing for 17 years in a row without ever checking prices? Yep, that was me. But not anymore. I found an insurance broker through Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Provider program and had him get me some quotes for auto and homeowner’s insurance.
By comparing insurance quotes through a broker, I was able to save several hundred dollars a year. Altogether, it probably took about 3-4 hours of my time and it hasn’t changed my life or lifestyle a single bit. Pretty sweet move, huh?
This year, we are going to cut our TV expenses. Right now we have cable. My husband really likes to be able to watch Real Madrid play soccer, so we have to have an add-on package with our cable as well. We really don’t watch a lot of TV, so our monthly cable bill seems a little unnecessary and wasteful.
Right now we are doing our research, and there are a lot of options out there! Netflix, Hulu, SlingTV, HDTV Antenna, Roku, etc. We are probably going to go with some sort of streaming service. The one we are looking at shows all of Real Madrid’s games and costs 30% what are cable bill does. Why didn’t we make the change sooner?
3. Online Shopping
Once I had small children, I found it nearly impossible to go to a store to try on clothes. Kids seem to only have enough patience for weekly grocery shopping (if even that). Going to the mall and sitting in a dressing room for half an hour was out of the question.
So, I resorted to buying clothes online. It’s much easier to return a few things with kids than shop around and try things on. A 2015 shopping report found that almost 70% of people shop online at least monthly, and the more kids a family has, the more likely they are to shop online (like me!).
Shopping online can be dangerous for your finances. Many people find it easier to overspend sitting at their computer or on their phone as opposed to a store. Also, it’s easy to buy things you don’t really need or want in pursuit of the elusive free shipping. To get by that, I always keep a list of things I want to get from any particular online retailer. Once my list passes the free shipping threshold, I go ahead and pull the trigger on it.
Instead of overspending online, there are actually ways of saving money online. My sister-in-law introduced me to one of my favorite websites, retailmenot.com. It’s basically a big searchable database of promo codes. Now, every time I purchase something online, I take a minute to look up the retailer on their site to see if there are any promo codes available. Oftentimes I will find a 20% off coupon, $5 off, or free shipping. It hardly takes any time and the savings can really add up.
As you can see, there are ways to lower your expenses without altering your lifestyle. Simple ways that can have a profound impact on your budget. These are some of the things I’ve done to be a better steward of the resources God has entrusted to me.
What about you? How do you cut expenses? Have you done any of the things I mentioned?