When my husband left his previous job and started on the path to business ownership, we had to sacrifice many, many things. But, to be honest, it wasn’t that difficult because I have always been a very frugal person by nature.
No money for clothes. No problem. We’ll just continue to wear the clothes we have.
No money for gas. No problem. We’ll just stay home and have fun in our front yard.
We’ve been trained so well to just do without that it’s not a big deal to us anymore. When you live on less than $1,500 a month and most of that is your mortgage, you have to be strict in your spending and continue to wait until the time is right to buy the things you want.
I can imagine, though, that most people would have a seriously hard time living a life like that. Not everyone is frugal nor wants to be!
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Lower These 11 Expenses for Significant Yearly Savings!
Hopefully you never have to give up most of your wants due to financial hardships. If it ever comes to that, there are ways to still get your wants (and needs!) without the price tag. This would especially be beneficial if you needed to pay off debt, save up money really quick, or cut back on as many expenses as possible due to a job loss.
Here are some ridiculously easy ways to lower your current expenses and get them for a heck-uv-a-lot cheaper or even for free. Yep, that’s right, free. So read on friend!
The internet abounds wherever you go. You hardly have to bat an eye to get free wi-fi, although, I’m sure it’s a lot tougher to get when you’re out in the boonies. However, if your internet bill is sucking you dry, consider only using the internet when you go to the library or using it on your phone if you have unlimited data.
This is, of course, only a suggestion. Our family cannot get rid of internet because my husband and I are both running businesses and need a reliable internet connection 24/7. I can imagine that people who are attending school would also want to keep their internet around, even if it costs an arm and a leg. But if you don’t actually need the internet, this could be a great place to start. And I don’t think a Facebook addiction counts as a need!
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $50 YEARLY: $600
I’m still shocked when I hear of people paying upwards of $150 for their cell phone bills each month. That’s absurd and an enormous waste of money, in my opinion. There are so many competing cell phone companies that it’s not very hard to find one that will charge much less than that, even with unlimited everything.
I switched over to Ting (referral link) two years ago, and I’ve been very happy with the service as well as my monthly bill. The greatest thing about Ting is that you basically choose how much you will pay each month. If you want to pay less than $20, you can. The catch is you have to use less data, voice, and/or messaging to do that. I also love that you can limit yourself on data, voice, or messaging. I receive a text message when I am nearing my personal limit for voice or messaging, and then I know to either cut back or not worry and just pay the extra amount.
My monthly bill with taxes and other fees each month is anywhere between $24 and $35. I use less than 500 texts and less than 500 minutes. I don’t have data just because I use a basic phone. I wouldn’t need it anyway since I have wi-fi in my home and can get on my tablet or computer anytime.
Other companies to look into that also have insanely cheap plans are Virgin Mobile (my husband uses them and pays less than $50 for unlimited everything), Boost Mobile, Republic Wireless, and Cricket. And I don’t think any of these companies do contracts. Boo for contracts!
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $100 YEARLY: $1,200
Many people choose to get their hair trimmed, cut, and/or styled because they want to feel great about themselves. If you want to save some money, though, haircuts are pretty easy to stop paying for.
Even when we were living on two incomes, I hated paying for haircuts. My husband had to get one every 4-5 weeks, and it was usually $10-$15. That’s not a ton of cash, but it was still not something I enjoyed paying for.
More than two years ago we invested in a haircutting kit for $25 from Amazon*, a neck duster*, and a cape gown*, and I started cutting my husband’s hair in our home. I don’t always enjoy it because he is pretty particular, and I have never had formal training in hair cutting. But, we have saved over $400 in the last 2 ½ years by DIYing it.
I, on the other hand, tend to get a trim or haircut once a year or even less often. Lately I’ve been asking my husband or sister-in-law to just trim off some hair. My hairstyle is straight and long, so I don’t have to do much to my hair to achieve those results. Obviously if I had a different hairstyle, it would be difficult to get away with trims once a year. So if that’s your case, save on haircuts in other ways. Check Groupon* before you get a cut to find a great deal.
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $20 YEARLY: $240
Oh, entertainment. I’m going to get on my soapbox for a second and just say that if you still pay for cable, movie tickets, Netflix or Hulu, and anything else that is constituted as entertainment, and you are broke, in debt, or are living paycheck to paycheck, you need to stop right now. Entertainment can be had for absolutely free or for an extremely low price if you are serious about changing your financial future.
You can cut out paid entertainment. You really can.
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $60 YEARLY: $720
Most people enjoy traveling, but the one thing keeping them from doing it more often is the expense. Fortunately, there are so many ways you can travel for cheap.
The first way to get your travel fix without the high expense is by travel hacking. While I haven’t done this myself, I have ready many blog posts about this awesome way to go on a vacation for next to nothing (like how you can go to Hawaii for 10 days and pay just $22.40!). The only problem I see with this method is that you do need several different credit cards and have to spend a certain amount of money each month in order to earn points. That could be a problem if you are already in debt, if you don’t have a lot of expenses, or if you don’t pay off your credit cards each month. But if you are in a situation where you could pay for all your expenses on your credit card and pay it off each month, I highly recommend trying this!
The second way to travel for cheap is traveling to places where you know someone. If you have family in a few states over, why not ask them if you can come visit for several days and stay in their home? Hotels are one of the biggest expenses while traveling and this would be an easy way to eliminate that bill.
You can also try a staycation rather than a vacation if you are in a difficult financial situation. Everyone in the family should just treat the staycation like a real vacation by taking off work and cancelling everything else, and then you do things as a family close to home. Turn off phones and computers and have a great time as a family without the cost of flights and hotels!
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $125 YEARLY: $1,500
One of the best things you can do to lower car expenses is to get a car that suits your needs. If you have a car that is much too big for your family, you are spending way too much money on it.
Do you have a really high gas bill each month? Think about where you go. If you are driving unnecessarily, maybe it’s time to stay home more often. When we were forced to spend less on fuel, I realized that many of my previous driving excursions were just for fun. I would go to my parent’s house once a week for my daughters’ sake, but it was just one more expense we couldn’t afford. We were still able to see the grandparents, just less often. I also cut back on grocery shopping trips and made sure we got enough food to last at least a week, sometimes more.
Another car expense that can devastate your finances is a car loan. Consider selling any car you own that has a car loan and get a car you can actually pay cash for. If that’s not possible, at least start saving money to buy a car that you can afford.
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $200 YEARLY: $2,400
Most people have enough clothes and can get away without buying more. But having kids means that you do have to buy clothes often.
We’ve saved the most on kids’ clothes by borrowing clothes or accepting hand-me-downs from friends and family. Something else I have tried is buying clothes for the next year while they are majorly discounted. Usually in the middle of the season or towards the end of the season, the stores will be discounting clothes from that season. I found a very nice coat one year for my oldest daughter for just $8 when the regular price was nearly $50. You can also take advantage of yard sales, thrift stores, and consignment stores (including online ones like Swap.com (referral link) and thredUp).
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $70 YEARLY: $840
If you are living in a place that you can’t afford and there is somewhere that you could live as comfortably without the added expense, then you can definitely downsize. Most people live in homes or apartments that are much too big for their needs anyway. People all over the world live in tiny places and many are perfectly content.
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $300 YEARLY: $3,600
We’ve never had a problem spending too much money on food, but we were still able to cut our monthly grocery bill down when we had to nearly two years ago.
We used to spend nearly $400 a month on food when we first started living on a very slim income, but I realized that I had to take matters into my own hands and cut that down to at least $300 or less. I was able to do that by first cutting out anything that wasn’t really essential to our health. We also cut back on food waste, meal planned around cheap and simple meals, and much more. Find out all the things we did in this post.
Oh, and I never coupon, so you can save plenty of money without ever doing that.
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $300 YEARLY: $3,600
Whether you eat out for lunch every day or get take out for dinner two to three times a week, it can really “eat up” your food budget quick. Even if it’s just you and your spouse, you could easily spend $50-$100 a week on eating out, maybe even more. Newsflash! That’s $200-$400 a month just on eating out! Are you really going to spend $2,400-$4,800 a year on such an unnecessary expense, especially when you could use that money for something else? Once you do the math, it doesn’t sound so appetizing anymore, does it?
Get in the habit of eating out occasionally, like once a week or even once a month if you can do it. We went an entire year without ever eating out. It worked for us and we saved a ton doing it. The hardest part was figuring out what my husband could take for lunch since he is on the go all day. You can get a list of foods that we refer to for his healthy cold lunches right here.
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $150 YEARLY: $1,800
I have never been one to spend a fortune on cleaning supplies, but if that sounds like your problem, here is some advice. Use vinegar, baking soda, and water a lot! Since I’m really no expert on cleaning a house, I thought I would send you to this helpful post about Green & Thrifty Cleaning Products.
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $20 YEARLY: $240
ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS IF YOU DO ALL THESE THINGS: $1,395
Essentially, if you do these things for a year, you will save over $16,000. $16,000!!! What is stopping you from turning your financial priorities around??
Of course, if you are already a frugal person, you might not be able to save nearly that much money. But if you aren’t very frugal-minded quite yet, these ideas can help you save a ton!
What other expenses could you lower or cut out and get for free?