Using instructions from last week’s column, you figured out your average monthly expenses. Now, you need to ask yourself two questions:
1.) Are you spending too much on some items?
2.) Can you lower the amount you spend on some items?
Some fixed expenses can’t be lowered. Your loans and mortgage/rent are legal agreements, and full coverage insurance is mandatory with some loans. But, you do have some control over your utilities. You can choose a different phone company. You can also control how much water, gas, and electricity you use by making small changes. Try line-drying your clothes, using a fan instead of air conditioning, or running the dishwasher only when it’s completely full.
Look to your variable expenses to save money.
- Do keep up your auto and home maintenance, but try to cut back on groceries, entertainment, gifts and clothing.
- Try using the library, buying cheaper food brands, and buying seasonal clothes at the end of the season.
- Instead of buying expensive gifts, give “service coupons.”
- If you’re spending more than you earn, some of these changes will be mandatory.
With some creativity, it’s possible to reduce expenses without feeling deprived.