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13 Ways To Cut Your Spending This Year

Pair of scrissors cutting the word SpendingIf you made some financial mistakes last year, think about 2014 as a “do over.” Now, while the year is still young would be an excellent time to make some changes that will boost your financial bottom line. Of course, before you can begin to slash your spending, you need to know where your money’s going. If you don’t already have a budgeting tool, you need to get one such as Mint. It’s free and is available for use on your computer, iPhone or Android-powered device. The best thing about Mint – other than the fact it’s – free – is that all you’re required to do is type in all your account numbers – those of your checking and savings accounts, credit cards, etc., and Mint does the rest, bringing all your financial information together so you can see exactly where you stand at a glance. Mint will even organize your spending into budget categories and then send you an email alert if you overspend in any of them.

Once you get a budgeting tool, you will need to make a note of all your spending for at least a month, right down to that soda you purchased at work.

It doesn’t work for everyone

You may have hard that old cliché that all you have to do to get your finances under control is just skip that morning latte. However, this doesn’t work for everybody, especially people who never have a morning latte. But here are 13 things that most people could do to save money and avoid overspending.

1. Cook at home more

Most of us tend to eat out too frequently. Suppose you’re a couple and eat out three times a week and spend $30 each time. That’s $90 a week, $360 a month and $4320 a year. Stop and think what you could so with that $4320 – like a nice two-week vacation. Anyone can cook and the Internet is replete with recipes for good-tasting meals that aren’t that expensive to make.

2. Use couponsCoupon Savings

We read recently that you really don’t have to pay full price for anything anymore and this is certainly true of groceries. You could go online to sites like or and find coupons that would save you money on just about everything you buy at the supermarket, especially cleaning and personal care products. You should also get a loyalty card from your favorite supermarket. We get money-saving offers from our store every week and all we have to do is click on a few links and the “coupons” are loaded right on to our loyalty card. Also, make sure you watch for sales on items you can buy in bulk like paper towers, bathroom tissue, shampoo, rice and the like.

3. Drop your landline

We mean this seriously. If you have a cell phone, why do you still need a landline? This can cost $50 or more a month and why? Cancel that service and you could save as much as $600 this year.

4. Review your insurance costs

Auto and homeowner’s insurance is a competitive business. Take a hard look at your insurance bill(s) then go online to or a comparable site and do some comparison shopping. You might be surprised at what you find. Also, check to make sure your insurance fits your needs. Think about your coverage and your deductibles. If you could increase the deductible on your collision insurance from, say, $250 to $500 or even $1,000, you would definitely slash that bill.

Woman talking on the cell phone5. Negotiate with your credit card providers

Check around to see if you can find a credit card with a lower rate than the one(s) you’re currently using. If you find one, call your current card company and ask it to match that lower rate. If it refuses to do so, transfer your balance to that other card.

6. Find a cheaper health club

You really don’t need to spend $100 a month or so on a health club membership. If you shop around a bit you should be able to find a much cheaper one. We have a rec center near us with a great workout facility where we get a card and then buy “punches” so that we’re paying only when we actually use the facility, which puts us in total control or our spending.

7. Pay off your debts

Wouldn’t you like an instant raise of $200, $300 or even more a month? Then pay off your debts. If you have multiple credit card debts, first tackle the one with the lowest balance. You should be able to pay it off fairly quickly. What this will do is free up money you can then use to begin paying off the credit card with the second lowest balance. Do this for a year or two – depending on how much you’re in debt – and you will be debt-free.

8. Stop using those credit cards

Debt is just borrowing from tomorrow to pay for today’s spending. If you stop using those credit cards you’re paying for today, well, today and won’t have to worry about tomorrow’s debt. There is a psychological term called being “mindful.” This simply means stop and think before you do something such as pulling out a credit card. One of the worst things about credit cards is that they are too easy to use. Say that you are looking at an item costing $599.95 and you know you only have $400 in your checking account. It’s just too easy to “card it” and worry about that $599.95 later. But if you’re mindful and think about the consequences of charging that $599.95 you just might decide to take a pass and not pile on more debt.

9. Call your Internet and TV providers

If you ask, you may find that you can get a better deal. More and more people are abandoning cable and satellite television and there are now a number of competitors in the market. Cable and Internet companies are eager to hang onto their customers. This means you may be able to get a deal. The best deals will come from your provider’s customer retention department, which is the one that you call to cancel your service. One person this recently and saved close to $50 a month.

10. Review your cell phone bill

The cell phone carriers are now offering new deals including no-contract and pay-as-you-go plans. If your contract is up see if can find a plan that would save you money. If you find one then should ask your existing provider if it will match that other price or give you a better deal. If it won’t, say sayonara and move to the other plan.

11. Watch that online spending

If you have trouble sleeping at night, it can be easy to go online and start shopping in those wee, small hours of the morning. However, if you’re not careful that type of spending can add up dramatically. One way to prevent this is to unsubscribe from all those email alerts from stores and online retailers that are offering those sweet, sweet deals.

12. Create an emergency fund

Whether you like to think about this or not, you are going to have an emergency of some kind. It could be that the transmission in your car falls out, that you’re in an accident and require hospitalization or you lose your job. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you’ll have to use debt to get through the emergency. If it’s a really serious emergency, you could end up literally thousands of dollars in the hole, which would take you years to pay off. Most financial experts say that you should have the equivalent of six months’ living expenses banked away in an emergency fund. That way when an emergency does occur, you will be able to pay for it without adding big debt.

Family Budget Planning13. Make a budget and stick to it

Whether you use Mint, some other budgeting app or just a piece of paper and a pen, it’s critical to make a budget and stick to it. However, it’s almost bound to fail if you are too stringent with yourself. Be realistic and give yourself an allowance for discretionary spending. Then don’t spend any more than that. Budgeting works and if you’re not taking advantage of it, it’s time to start.

12 Radical Tips For Cutting Spending

Pair of scrissors cutting the word SpendingAre you interested in cutting  spending? It’s a great way to free up money to save, invest or to pay off debts. There are fairly easy ways to cut spending and then ways that are seriously radical. First, there are categories often called “low hanging fruit,” because they are categories where it’s usually easiest for people to reduce their spending. Here are some of them.

• Utilities
• Vehicle operating costs (fuel, repairs)
• Credit card and other debt payments
• Extracurricular activities
• Dining out
• Food
• Expenses related to school
• Recreational spending
• Clothing
• Gifts

Make it a challenge

How much could you cut your spending in any or all of these categories? That’s up to you. Most people find that with a little hard work and self-discipline, they can cut these costs by at least 20%. For the sake of an example, let’s assume you earn $4,100 a month and you’ve been spending all of this every month. In other words, you’ve been living from paycheck to paycheck. If you were able to reduce that $4000 in spending by 20% or $800, that’s $800 you could or use to pay down your debts and you wouldnt really sacrificing much.

Now comes the hard part

If you really want to reduce your spending – for whatever reason – you’ll now have to do some very radical things because you’ve done the easier stuff.

Living austere

There are just no two ways about it. If you want to make radical cuts in your spending, you will have to be prepared for frugal living  In fact, a good start is to design your own austerity plan. The first thing you could do is move to a smaller house. Contrary to what you may have been told, no child ever become sick due to sharing a room with a sibling. If you have a four-bedroom home, there’s no reason why you couldn’t downsize to a three-bedroom model.

Move to a small town

You’ll have to do the math but commuting to your job(s) from a smaller town might make more sense than living where you work. It would be even better if you can find a way to earn a living in that small town but that can be tough. Smaller towns simply don’t offer as many job opportunities as the big metropolitan areas. But if you have a fuel-efficient car and one that was built to high safety standards, it might make sense for you to do the commute. We know of one couple that commuted from a small mining town to a large metro area. This was 45 miles each way and a 51-minute drive under the best of conditions. But they had done the math and felt that the lower cost of living in that small town exceeded their increased transportation costs enough that it made good sense.

Stop using credit cardsstack of credit cards split in half

You should never use credit cards unless you are sure you will be able to pay off your balance or balances at the end of the month. Living frugally means paying cash for just about everything. The last thing you want to do is begin accumulating debt, which is what will happen if you start carrying your balances over to the next month. The best way to use a credit card is to pay for an emergency where there is no choice but to use it. In fact, the best thing you could do is shred all of your credit cards but one and keep it out of your wallet.

Use the envelope method for budgeting

This is an old school and sort of harsh way to budget but it can make a difference. The way this works is that you create a budget for each of your different spending categories. The next time you are paid, you put the money you budgeted for each of the categories into the appropriate envelope. For instance, if you budgeted $500 for groceries, put $500 in the envelope labeled groceries. Then whenever you buy groceries, you pay out of the envelope. When the envelope is empty, you’re through. You cannot spend any more money in that category. This will not only help keep you on your budget, it can aid in developing more self-discipline.

Sell one of your cars

If you’re a two-car family, sell one of them. And make sure you keep the one that’s most economical to operate. This will definitely force a large amount of self-discipline initially. But after a few weeks or months, it’ll start to feel very natural. The fact is that very few of us actually need two cars. This is more of a luxury than a necessity – whether you want to admit it or not.

Some other radical ways to reduce spending

• When you shop use the stockpile method – look for good sales and then buy as many of the items as possible – especially stuff you can store away.
• Get rid of any late model vehicles – Get a decent used car instead where you can pay cash
• Never eat out
• Look for other places where you can cut your spending such as home phones, tanning solons and health club memberships.
• Look for low-cost or free entertainment. If there is a community center or YMCA near you, think about buying a family membership. This will be much cheaper than paying for gymnastics training or tennis lessons. If you’re looking for activities for your kids, go hiking, explore parks, have picnics, and visit the library where you’ll find a lot of free resources.
• Study and enjoy hobbies such as canning, carving and needlework
• Stay home more – whether it’s eating out or going to a movie, it’s a lot more expensive than staying home. You could rent a movie, get a pizza and have a fun family night of entertainment for less than $25. In comparison, eating out and going to a movie could easily cost $50 or more.

For more tips on saving money through frugal living, check out this video.


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