Cutting down on your daily expenses can add real financial breathing room to your life. Have you taken a hard look at the things you’re paying for? Every cent counts.
Things To Stop Buying
Here are some items you may be spending money on that you should reconsider.
Takeout Food and Coffee
This may seem like stereotypical personal finance advice, but it really is an easy place to start cutting or even completely stop spending.
Take the time to calculate your spending on these things and you may be shocked at how much money you are wasting. Think about this: If you drive through a fast-food restaurant or coffee shop five days a week and spend $5, that adds up to $1,300 a year! Imagine putting that money in a savings or investment account.
Instead, plan your meals at home and spend a day doing meal prep. Not only will you be healthier, but your budget will thank you.
The manufacturer’s warranty, depending on the item, is typically 1-2 years. Most money experts, including Clark Howard, don’t recommend purchasing extended warranties. Some credit card companies offer an extended warranty if you use their card to make the purchase. Call your credit card company to find out if it offers this benefit.
Instead of buying an extended warranty, I put the money I would have spent on it into a savings account. Then I add a bit here and there so if I do need a repair or replacement, I have the money to pay for it.
Random Items or Knickknacks
Before I became a minimalist, I purchased random things anytime I saw something I thought was cute or trendy. And it would add up to a lot of money during the course of a year. Don’t waste money on these types of items. Consider carefully each purchase you make. Be thoughtful with your money.
Streaming Services and Cable TV
I cut the cable cord more than a year ago and am sorry I didn’t do it sooner. I also canceled all the streaming services I was paying for. This added up to thousands of dollars a year.
Now, I use an antenna and free streaming services. I have more content now that I actually watch than I did before. Most of the cable channels that were included in my package offered nothing that interested me, and I never watched them.
Expensive Software Programs
For almost every program you purchase, there is a free alternative that is just as good or better. I have been in the IT business for over 20 years, and I use free programs at home. Using free software has saved me thousands of dollars over the years. And each new version and updates to these programs are also free.
Joining a gym can be quite expensive, and most people end up not getting their money’s worth. The new year is a time when a lot of people decide to start working out and sign up for a membership. But weeks or months later, they’re no longer using the gym or not using it enough to justify the cost.
You can commit to your health and still save money! Consider investing in exercise equipment for your home. Some free weights, a treadmill or elliptical cost money initially but will pay for themselves over the long term.
There are also plenty of free ways to exercise at home. Here’s a list of free workout apps to try.
Better yet, use a local credit union.
Buying bottled water can really eat a hole through your pocketbook. Consider buying a refillable water bottle and an at-home water filter. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save.
Money expert Clark Howard talked about the cost of bottled water on an episode of his podcast:
“Tap water is essentially free, and at home, I drink tap water. My wife and son use a Brita filter. Bottled water can be deceptive and drain money from your wallet. Even when you buy bottled water from Costco or Sam’s Club, you’re paying 7 cents a bottle. If you feel like there’s never any money in your life and you routinely pay for bottled water, make this change in your life and you’ll save a ton.”