Major areas/ways to cut spending habits WAY down?

posted 1 week ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
2027 posts
Buzzing bee

Budgeting for food is the best way for me to cut expenses. Coming up with a meal plan helps so I know what I have at home I need to use up. Even if I leave a couple of nights to order out, I know how much I usually spend so I can put that in there too. Otherwise, I waste too much food on throwing food away or picking up snacks we don’t need. 

 

Post # 3
Member
590 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

One of our better financial moves was sticking to our paid off cars. We have several friends that get a new car every 2-3 years and always have a loan.

A side note about amazon, I have been milking the student rate for a few years but they caught on and say I have to provide a transcript to keep the rate 🙁

Post # 4
Member
4110 posts
Honey bee

We’re also looking at cutting expenses here and there. The things we spend the most on are:

– Going out for dinner/drinks- have really cut down lately (especially since I’m pregnant and not up for eating out as much/can’t drink). Before, we lived like next door to our fave place to eat, so it was realllllyyyyy easy to just “pop over” for a beer to watch hockey or to grab a bite to eat. We’ve now decided to limit ourselves to once/week and STUCK TO IT. Healthier and way cheaper. By still going out once/week, we still can get it out of our system and not feel completely deprived.

Internet- We’re spending way too much on our internet package. We shopped around and found some much better deals- the internet will be slightly slower but we’ll be paying way less per month, so it’s worth it.

Amazon- We shop on Amazon a lot, but I turned off one click ordering to discourage my impulse purchases.

 

Post # 5
Member
5319 posts
Bee Keeper

For 2 months I kept track of all $$ in / out on a simple spreadsheet. This is a good starting point to see where your money is going. 

After you see where your money is going, you can see where the areas are you can work on. Some expenses you may consider ‘worth it’ and others ‘negotiable or unnecessary’. To someone who loves going to the gym, a gym membership is ‘worth it’, whereas someone who rarely goes might just be wasting that monthly fee. 

You can also see where ‘problem areas’ are- for example, if you’re spending way too much on banking fees because you tend to run up your overdraft, that’s something to look at/ work on. Ditto credit card interest. 

A few things I noticed in my own situation- daily coffee/tea @ Tim Horton’s or Starbucks really adds up over a month! so we make better use of our Keurig at home now and coffee out is a once a week thing not a twice daily thing (ditto at work!).

I also noticed that being organized with the grocery shopping saved money- too tempting to grab takeout on the way home from work if you know the fridge is pretty bare, so making a grocery list and doing a big shopping actually saves money. I also purposely cook in bulk when I have time so I can freeze for other days, also less likely to grab takeout, order in if you have prepped meals in the freezer for when you don’t have much time or energy. 

And I cut out lottery tickets. lol gave up on my chance to be a millionaire. Instead I put the approx $15/week I used to spend on lottery tickets into a vacation piggy. 

Ohhh- and a big one for me! I went and got myself a library card. I go through books like kleenex and it was getting expensive surfing Amazon for new reading material. 

Post # 7
Member
594 posts
Busy bee

One of the easiest money savers for us is bringing lunch to work! We cook dinner at home and bring leftovers. Lunch at work can really add up! Do you use any apps like Mint? You can create a budget for yourself in different spending categories and then it tells you when you are getting close to the max each month.

Post # 9
Member
936 posts
Busy bee

DH packs a breakfast and lunch every day and I work from home so we really never have to buy those meals. I use to spend at least $10-$12 every day between my breakfast and lunch when I worked in an office. 

DH and I probably eat out once a month. When ever we do I always have a coupon or a groupon. We also don’t buy alcohol at lunch or dinner. A beer at the restaurant may run $4 when that same beer if bought by the case is under a dollar at home. (Plus you aren’t tipping another dollar on that $4 beer). 

If DH and I want to take a vacation to the beach for the week, we’ll go off season, like in mid-late Sept when it’s half off. The ocean is actually warmer that time of year than say June. 

DH is a gym rat so he HAS to go to the gym every day. The gym provides free coffee and he showers there after his workout every morning. It’s $20/mo. He drinks that cost alone in coffee every month easily. 

I also try to leave my credit cards at home. It’s a lot easier to fight the urge when you know that money is instantly coming out of the bank account. 

DH and I haven’t been to the movies in probably over 5yrs. If we want to see a movie, we’ll wait for it to come out on Redbox. $1.50 per movie is a lot better $35 for the two of us!!!! 

I use camelcamelcamel.com to track Amazon prices. If there is something I really want, I set a price alert to let me know when the price comes down. 

Post # 10
Member
1638 posts
Bumble bee

DH and I went through a period of re-budgeting and cost cutting. We literally just kept a running tally in excel of every single penny we spent that month. We then categorized each purchase and kept all our receipts.

At the end of the month, I went through and looked at how much we spent at the grocery store and how much we spent on each individual item. I realized we had a good deal of A) buying things we didn’t really need and B) paying more for items than we needed to- like paper towel. If I was buying it at Target, it was more costly than buying it at Costco. We have a Costco membership, so why wasn’t I buying it at Costco? Once I realized what the lowest price was, I now stock up at the lowest price and ONLY at that price. Yogurts are 1/3 the price at Costco vs Kroger, etc.

Simple changes but all really add up! If you can just cut your grocery bill by $15 a week, that’s $60 a month, and $720 a year..and we are still eating all the same stuff! Cutting a $20/week starbucks habit saves $80 a month and basically $1000 a year! Just those changes together put ~2k back in your pocket at the end of the year.

Post # 11
Member
5751 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

kmmq72 :  I think what you’re donig now of looking at all re-occuring subscriptions and cutting them out is a great idea.  

The first step, IMO, it so track your spedning.  You can’t know what to target without knowing where it’s all going.  It can be a real eye opening to see your entire months income and spending on a spreadsheet.  “I spent HOW MUCH on clothes?”  Just creating awareness can help you change your patterns.

 

After that, I think yoiu have two different choices of areas to start.  I often like to think of tackling re-occuring expnese first.  This includes rent/morgage, cable, internet, cell phone, gym pass, etc.  Anything that gets charged every month.  If you cut these things, or find better deals, that’s a choice you had to make 1x and the savings are repeated every month!  That creates space in your budget.

The other way to look at things are to focus on the big ticket items.  For almost everyone that means 1) housing, 2) transportation, and 3) food.  If you can set these categories up to be inexpensive, you’ll be in great shape.  For most people, these categoires acccount for 50% of total spending or more!  It sounds like you’re locked on housing right now, but consider transportation.  Could you walk or bike to work?  Could you get rid of a car?  Could you take the bus instead of Uber? Could you downgrade your car?  On food, an obvious win is to cut down on restaurant meals and drinks out.  I find the easiest way to reduce the grocery bill is to shop from a meal plan (reduce food waste, use what’s in the cupboards first) and also choose a cheaper grocery store.  That way you tend to save without even having to worry about coupons or deals.

I’ll say that DH and I have gotten to the point where we spend WAY too much on “wants” spending…but because we spend way less than normal on housing and transportaton it doesn’t break the bank.  I still don’t feel great about it, but we’re able to do it and still hit our savings goals.

Post # 13
Member
4294 posts
Honey bee

kmmq72 :  we became a one-car household which saves us several thousand dollars a year. We are careful to not be wasteful with money and source free or used items when it makes sense (as well as buy high quality used items when a situation calls for it to avoid buying things we need to replace often). Our only,debt is a mortgage which is only 20% of our net pay so we leave ourselves a lot of wiggle room on purpose.

Post # 14
Member
1572 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

kmmq72 :  We cut unnecessary spending. We found these things by recording every pruchase and breaking each down into categories. For example:

Coffee made at home and work, no going to coffee shop

Make a meal plan for the week, shop once, and make your food at home

Lunches packed from home, no going out to lunch at work.

Cut Cable, use hulu/netflix

Got rid of credit cards saved on websites, if you have to enter the number you think about if you need it. 

This last one is very important. Many may say this is too much in a marriage, but it is working for us. We run purchases past eachother. Anything outside our normal budget (food, bills, gas, etc) I run past my husband. I want a new dress? Hey hubby, what do you think, do I need this new dress? Usually his answer is, its up to you babe. But the act of asking him makes me think more about the purchase. I have 30 dresses at home, I dont need a new one for every function. Ok, I wont get the dress. 

Post # 15
Member
1164 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

The key thing when we started saving and budgeting was to cut spending on unnecessary items. Of course if you stop having fun you will save money but we didn’t want to go that far, we just wanted to know where all our money was going and that it was conscious. If we’ve had a tough day at work we’ll try to buy a ‘fancy’ pre made dinner rather than a take away, it’s way more than normal groceries but it’s less than a Chinese and nicer, plus it’s still the easy option.

We pretty much always take a lunch because we’d way rather spend that money going to a restaurant after work for dinner and drinks than it just adding up from boring sandwiches every day without realising.

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