Slimming Down for Summer… Your Spending, I Mean!Published 6:52am Thursday, May 9, 2013
• Your residence is usually is your largest expense. Reduce your housing expenses by scaling down to a home or an apartment with a smaller mortgage or rent payment. This will provide you with extra cash. Although this can be a rather drastic measure that affects your lifestyle considerably, you may be able to cut your monthly expenses to free up the cash to enjoy other things in life.
• Minor changes can also make a big difference. For example, instead of buying a gourmet coffee every morning, brew a mug at home, or make your own at the office. Brown bag your family lunches. Not only will it save you money, you’ll probably notice the health benefits of eating better. Of course, we all enjoy the break from cooking occasionally, but your finances will be better off if eating out is a treat, not a habit.
• Buy only the insurance you need. Review all the insurance policies you own, especially your auto insurance. Do you still need the same level of coverage? Consider canceling collision and comprehensive coverage on older cars or increasing the size of your deductibles, which can lower your premium substantially. Of course, when considering a higher deductible, or the elimination of collision coverage, be sure to consider your ability to cover the uninsured portion if you have a loss.
• Cut down on utility costs by installing a more energy-efficient set-back thermostat, shut off lights, TVs, and other electrical devices when not in use. Do your own housekeeping and yard work, and learn to perform simple repairs on your own, rather than always paying someone else to do these things for you.
• Visit the library! You can borrow DVDs, books and magazines from your local library instead of renting or buying them.
Think about any decision to make a large purchase. Ask yourself how badly you need the item. If you wait a week, often times you realize you do not “need” the item and the “want” goes away.
• Be a planner. Frequently, we spend money when we have not planned. If you have planned your meals for the next week, you are less likely to make a last minute decision to get takeout. If you have planned your next vacation, it is easier to find a cheaper airline fare and hotels. You almost always get a better price when you know what you want and when to buy it.
Making so many modifications all at once might be difficult and could derail your plan to cut back on spending. So start by making a few changes every month. I must warn you, however. All that slimming down on spending will likely fatten up something else….your checkbook!
by Bonnie Denzel