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"Getting money is like digging with a needle;
spending it is like water soaking into sand."

Japanese Proverb





hands holding calculator with checkbook nearby  

Easy Ways to Cut Expenses

Saving money for most people is actually better than earning more money because of taxes. If you earn a dollar more a year, depending on your deductions and tax bracket, you may actually only get to spend or invest 50 cents, while the rest goes to Social Security, federal, Medicare and state taxes.

However, if you save $1 off your grocery bill this week, you get to keep the whole dollar, since that is already post tax money. So with that in mind, here are some tips to reduce your current expenses.

Cost Cutting Articles

  • Frugal Living Tips - There are probably thousands of relatively painless ways to reduce your living expenses each month. This list has some of my favorites.

  • Low Cost Furniture - Shopping at estate sales is a great way to buy quality pieces of furniture at low prices. Read my tips list for more ideas on how to furnish your abode without breaking the bank.

  • Living on One Income - Can you cut back enough to live on one income instead of two? Read my list of financial questions to ask yourself before you take the plunge. After factoring taxes, daycare, commute costs and having less time to comparison shop and cook from scratch, you may even come out ahead.

  • Budget Dates - Romance doesn't have to cost a lot. Why pay $50 or more for dinner and a movie when you can have more fun and show your creativity for less money?

  • Cutting Expenses from Every Day Purchases - How much money is that daily latte really costing you? If you look at every expense over the rest of your life, small daily purchases can really add up over the years. Tackling recurring expenses is a good way to reduce your budget now and forever.

  • Inexpensive Entertainment Ideas - Having fun doesn't have to cost a lot of money. View my ideas on how my family has frugal fun each month including beach trips, tide pool walks, picnics and star gazing at the local planetarium.

  • Trimming Dental Expenses - Proper care of your family's teeth now could save expensive dental bills down the road.
woman's hands writing out a check
  Tip: I try to put all of my purchases and bills on a cash back credit card. That way I make a little extra money each month, track my expenses by budget category, and not have to write many paper checks.

Three Easy Ways We Cut Costs This Year

I thought we were living rather frugally when we were both working, but in hindsight we could have cut back much more without impacting out basic lifestyle. Two things happened this past year that suddenly gave me an extra 40+ hours of free time to spend on looking for ways to improve our budget. The first was that my husband left his day job and the second event was that our youngest child started driving. My husband now has more time to help with housework, shopping and bill paying, and my son drives himself to school, friends houses and his own doctor and dentist appointments.

Since we were down one pay check, I tried to use this extra time to see where we could trim some of our expenses better. Listed below are a few of the ways I cam up with, including a table of our one year and ten year total savings.


One Year Savings

Ten Year Savings

1. Lower cable bill
2. Less fast food
3. Smaller garbage can

Table of Expenses Cut in 2012

1. I negotiated a lower cable bill. We live in an area with competing cable companies, so I was able to knock off $50 a month and get more services just for asking. Interestingly, I was able to get lower rates by actually going into the local cable office over just asking for the lowest rates on the phone.

2. We stopped buying fast food twice a week at $25 a meal. We used to do this on busy weekday nights when we were both working. With two parents and two teenagers in the house, this was getting very expensive, especially as the kids got older and were eating more and more. Cutting out fast food saved us at least $$200 a month. Now I try to keep the freezer stocked up with quick meals we can make at home. A favorite is steamed chicken from frozen chicken breasts, rice in the rice cooker, fruit and a salad.

Eating less fast food was good for our waists as well as our wallets.

3. With less fast food, it was amazing how much less garbage we had each week. We were able to switch to a smaller garbage can without making any other conscious effort to reduce our weekly waste. This saved us another $17 a month.

Remember, that in budgeting it isn't so much what you make but what you spend compared to what you make that counts. A person earning $30K a year who can live on $25K a year is going to be able to save more than a person making $500K a year but spending $600K.




Articles In This Section:

Trimming Expenses

Living on one income

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