Cut Extra Costs Out of your Life

By: Bob Guy

Life in America is trending towards becoming more and more expensive. Meanwhile, you're still making the same amount of money. Unexpected expenses and emergencies can drag down your finances making it seem impossible to stay afloat. So, you've consolidated your debt, taken out to bridge the gap and you still need help staying on top of things. Sometimes we don't realize that we have actually up-graded our lifestyles so much that we've slowly been getting closer and closer to living beyond our means. So, if your eyes have become bigger than your wallet, you need to learn how to cut out some of the extra expenses that you've accumulated through the years.

You can start with your monthly bills. What would happen if you lived without cable for a while? Are you paying for channels that you barely watch? Sometimes renting a movie is cheaper than paying for a whole month of a premium channel that doesn't play what you want to see, anyway. If you mostly watch network TV, think about purchasing a power antenna to get all of your favorite shows. That's a one time cost instead of a monthly bill. Also, paying your bills online for free can save you almost two-hundred dollars per year on stamps, not to mention late fees on bills and mailed checks that eventually bounce because you forgot that they were out there.

If you must have a cell phone, consider it a necessity instead of a luxury. Only use it when you absolutely need to and don't chatter away to your friends all month. Pick a plan with minimal minutes and keep track. Ask yourself if it's really an emergency before you use it. You can also save money on your cell phone bill by using free texting instead of actually making a call if your cell phone company provides that feature.

Think about the long-term cost of your daily spending habits. Calculate it and write it down. Would you pay over one-hundred dollars for a can of coffee at the grocery store? Probably not. So ask yourself why you would willingly pay close to five dollars a day for a latte on your way to work? It may seem like a small amount, but if you saved that money, you would have around five-thousand dollars for yourself at the end of the year. Spoiling yourself on little things is fine every now and then, but make it infrequent and keep your goal of saving in mind. If you brought a sandwich and fruit for lunch instead of grabbing some fast food, you'd have another five-thousand dollars in the bank.

Set yourself a weekly grocery budget and carry a calculator when you go to the store. Use coupons, but don't buy something just because you have a coupon. Make a menu and only buy the items that you really need to make the dishes that you have planned. Try to spend one week per month living off of just what you have stored up in your pantry. Your pantry will get cleaned out and you'll realize which items you shouldn't have bought in the first place. Go for generic brands whenever possible. Their quality has greatly improved over the years, so if you were not impressed the first time, give it another try. Save money and live happily, not beyond your means.

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