Friday has come again, which during most weeks would mean that I’d provide my Frugal Friday posts, giving you plenty of ways to save. But since this week I’m trying something a little different, I thought that today should be no exception. So, rather than focusing on one area of spending and showing how it can be cut, let’s look at some of the biggest areas where you can cut down on your spending:
1. Food – Everyone needs to eat (although, I’m sure there’s more than a few supermodels who’d care to argue that point). There are plenty of ways you can keep your food bills to a minimum, while not starving or trying to survive on Ramen. Eat at home most of the time, buy nonperishable food items in bulk, and prepare lists when you go shopping to ensure that you don’t fall prey to supermarket advertisements and other come-ons. If you can manage to keep your food bills at a minimum, you’ll find it that much easier to eat, drink, and be merry.
2. Pets – I love pets, particularly my cute little puppy Toby, but he can be a bit expensive, as is the case with many pets. A major key to keeping pet spending under control is remembering to not spoil your pet too much. It’s tempting to buy the most expensive food, the most wonderful toys, and their own multi-level homes complete with elevators. While that is all impressive, you’re going to have a tough time keeping your money under control if you spoil your pet too much. Just remember that as long as you give them plenty of love and meet their basic needs, most pets will be thrilled (much the same can be said about children, while we’re on the subject).
3. Automobiles – I’ll be the first to admit that cars can be a huge drain on your finances. From the cost of buying them (which can be kept to a minimum with some good car buying tips) to the fuel, oil, and parts that they need to keep running, automobiles can end up draining a large portion of your financial assets. There are ways to keep the cost of cars under control, from buying a gently used car and driving it until it stops running to buying the lowest octane gas possible. Of course, if your living and commuting conditions allow it, you can always consider not having a car and biking, walking, or traveling by public transit to get where you need to go.
4. House Maintenance – If you own your own home, one of your major expenses is going to be keeping it in livable condition. (If you rent, the cost will be rolled into your rent payments, so you’re not completely out of the woods that way, either.) While there are many maintenance tasks that you should leave to the professionals (anything to do with the electrical system I don’t even try to touch, for example), being able to do basic maintenance on your own can greatly cut down your costs and leave you with nice sense of satisfaction, to boot. Just make sure that you are sure you know what you are doing, as it’s easy to make things worse with most maintenance projects. You can also find ways to cut down your utility bills (or at least make them more predictable), by taking advantage of budget helper programs, like balanced billing of your utilities.
5. Finances – Fitting for a personal finance blog, there are certainly plenty of ways you can cut your financial costs, while still putting your money to work for you. Using index funds for (most of) your investing will keep the costs of putting your money to work for you to a minimum, for example. Carefully watch the cost of your investments, banking accounts, and insurance; it’s sadly common for financial companies to nickel and dime you, charging small fees that add up over time (or providing you with sub-par returns and pocketing the difference).
6. Relaxation –We all need some down time; the human brain (to say nothing of the human body) has a hard time working constantly, and trying to do so is more likely to leave your brain fried and your body exhausted than allow you to cross more items off your To Do List. Luckily, there’s plenty of options you have to relax, most of which don’t cost very much. From choosing less expensive options for your weekly nights on the town to finding ways to cut down on your travel expenses to choosing less expensive options for your daily down time (going to the library for books rather than the local book store), there are plenty of ways you can have your fun and your funds, too.
There you go, six important area to look at when you try to cut your spending. It’s far from a comprehensive list (I’ve managed to keep my Frugal Friday posts going for a quite a while and barely scratched the surface of ways to cut down your expenses), but if you follow the advice listed here, you should be able to save quite a bit.