Always on the prowl for ways to cut routine spending so we can do more with our money, there may be some simple budget busters right under your nose! There are a lot of routine, recurring expenses that we incur that we may not even think about cutting. Here are a few simple, everyday opportunities to cut your spending:
- Stop Paying for Drinks – I used to drink a lot of sugary drinks ranging from juices to soda. Aside from the fact that having too much sugar in your diet is unhealthy, since I’ve switched to drinking nothing but water, I don’t miss the sugar. I do drink a coffee occasionally, but I always brew it myself which is much cheaper than buying at a coffee shop. When you do so, you’re paying for overhead and profits whereas brewing it yourself is usually a fraction of the cost. Going out socially, we often frequent restaurants that allow you to bring your own bottle of wine or beer as opposed to paying three to four times what it costs from the local establishment. Over the course of a year, these savings really add up!
- Haircuts – For our family of five, this really adds up at the end of the year. Granted, my wife wouldn’t hear of it if I tried to cut her hair, but for males, especially, it’s often not that big of a deal. When I grew up, my mom cut our hair. I’m not sure if she ever took lessons or if she was very good at it, but I don’t recall anyone ever noticing or mocking my haircut as a child. She used to just drop a towel over us and cut our hair in the kitchen. Surely, over the few years that I avoided the costs of a barber, it saved enough money to put some extra food on the table or put away some money for later in life.
- Save on Clothing – All family members can partake in this. Again, my wife is relatively fashion-conscious so she doesn’t take it as far as I do, but even she always looks for sales or clothes going just out of season so she can get them at a discount. But when it comes to my attire, I only have a few pairs of slacks and also buy clothing at the end of a season. As far as saving on dry-cleaning costs, my costs there are quite low because I buy wrinkle-free slacks and do the “re-wear.” I don’t have a lot of meetings with the same people each week and as such, nobody at work notices that I wear the same slacks a few times in a row, especially since they’re not wrinkled. For the kids, we obviously passed down clothes to the younger ones, but we also have a wide network of friends who share clothes. With the amount of new clothes friends and family always buy for parents of children, it would be a huge waste not to share.
- Spend Less with Cash – Based on this landmark study, people tend to spend less money when using cash, because it “hurts more” to spend cash. Many people have already learned this and use all cash where possible, but the main premise here is that credit cards reduce the mental “pain” associated with spending compared to handing someone cash, which hurts more. If this sounds silly to you, the study was conducted by prominent universities and is widely accepted as a true human reaction, so it’s something to think about in your daily life!