It’s nice to find ways to cut out expenses, and operate a bit leaner financially. That is, as long as the changes don’t impact your day-to-day life too much:) Then, it’s a matter of viewing them as trade-offs.
A recent article in on Yahoo! Finance discussed 12 things that people can choose to stop spending on in the new year. Now, I often think that it’s worthwhile to consider how much time one spends on trying to save money, as it’s necessary to make money first before we can save it. That being said, if we’re going to spend some time focusing on saving on consumer purchases, we might as well do it with some type of framework.
Recall that I recently posted on the topic of trying to spend wisely, where I suggested that we ask ourselves the following questions before purchasing:
- Do we truly need the item?
- Can we easily find a lower cost alternative?
Keeping that in mind, I’m going to go through the list of what to cut from our budgets (from the aforementioned article), and will answer those two questions for each one. Then, I’ll describe what I’ll actually do in practice.
- Coffee Shop Visits
- I don’t truly need to do this, though I enjoy it
- A lower cost alternative is available, such as home brewing
- What will I do?: I will keep visiting. I suppose it might seem like I’m going against the system I devised, but I look at the visits as more than coffee. Which, by the way, is simply black coffee and not one of the more expensive drinks. I view it as renting space where I can get some work or writing done while enjoying a drink. The combination works for me in terms of productivity, so I’m going to keep doing it occasionally.
- I don’t really need to buy these exact type
- Not sure a lower cost alternative is available, unless you operate on sunlight:) Well, longer-term the energy-efficient ones are supposed to be cheaper anyway.
- What will I do?: Buy the energy-efficient ones, and save money in the long run. Besides, the others are effectively being phased out.
- I don’t need to buy these bottles
- Lower cost alternatives are available, such as carrying a reusable bottle or using a water fountain. Remember when that was the norm? If not, maybe it’s just people that aren’t super young anymore:)
- What will I do?: Use reusable bottles. I’ve bought a few, and will use them regularly. The disposable bottles I have bought were purchased in bulk for maybe 10 to 15 cents each – as opposed to the $1 or more rip off for single bottles many places. But still, once you get past the initial investment in a reusable container, it eventually represents the cheaper choice.
- Usually, for shorter trips, I don’t need to check a bag
- A lower cost alternative is available: packing lightly, and carrying on
- What will I do? Going forward, on personal travel I will be sure to pack lightly and avoid such fees. Of course, I had previously discovered an alternative way to avoid checked bag fees that I won’t try on purpose, but thought I’d share anyway:)
- We don’t need to spend on things we don’t use!
- A lower cost alternative might be available if you choose to read - going online is one way
- What will I do? Continue to go subscription-free. One can go online for much information, or go to the local library and read hard-copy periodicals in many cases
- I’m a parent, but past the baby days. But if you have a baby, store bought baby food technically isn’t a need
- A lower cost alternative could be making it at home, so yes – one is likely available
- What would I do? In that case, being in the position of being a parent of a baby, I would still buy some pre-made baby food. Now, I do think that it seems like a good idea to mix in some homemade food. However, with the demands of daily life for many working parents, time is valuable. Speaking from experience, I think buying at least some baby food is worth it for working parents.
- I think checking one’s credit score is very important, probably a need
- Apparently, free options are available
- What will I do? I like the option of getting something for free.
- I don’t truly need cable
- Yes, there are plenty of lower cost alternatives for watching shows and movies. Hulu and Netflix were a few mentioned.
- What will I do? Good question. Cable right now offers some things kids really enjoy, which has tipped the scales in its favor. But wow, it’s not cheap. I’m contemplating ending it, with other options filling in the gaps. It’s not a need.
- I don’t need a landline phone
- There are lower cost options, and alternatives that are arguably more necessary
- What will I do? I don’t have a landline phone, and haven’t had one for a while.
- I think they’re needed
- There might be lower cost options, in terms of homemade concoctions
- What will I do? I think there’s room for swapping out chemicals for more natural options for certain things, but I don’t have the time to devote to making my own cleaning supplies at this time. I’m sticking to primarily store bought items.
- ATMs are useful, but their fees are not necessary
- There are lower cost options, such as finding an institution that doesn’t charge you fees along those lines
- What will I do? What I currently do, which is limit ATM usage to my own bank, where I don’t pay any such fees
- It’s necessary to do home repairs, but only sometimes necessary to pay someone to do them
- There is a lower cost option: DIY
- What will I do? My past history has been to do repairs for the basics, but then call a professional for something that’s bigger and time consuming. I’m fine with paying when needed for such things, where it makes sense of course. No reason to stubbornly avoid paying other people or having a false sense of bravado when it comes to fixing things.
My Questions for You
Are there any of these expenses that you are fine taking on, as I am? If so, which ones?
Or, do you actively try to avoid expenses even if it means extra time and effort?
Can you think any other similar items that can be included on a list of expenses to stop paying?