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Easy Ways to Lower Expenses

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Over the past few years, my wife and I have found some relative financial security. We are still far away from reaching financial independence, but we are no longer wondering how we are going to pay for everything. As is typical with any other family that increases their income, we have slowly increased our expenses. I know it happens, but it still is hard for me to swallow. Every dollar that we unnecessarily spend is one less dollar that I can save and/or invest for our future.

As a result, I’ve started to look into ways in order to lower our household budget. I don’t want to do anything too extreme nor do I want to spend too much time and effort in trying to save a quick buck. Thus, it lead me to find easy ways to lower my expenses significantly. While everyone will have preferences on which sacrifices that they do and don’t want to do, here are several ways that you can lower your expenses without wasting your time.

Simple Ways to Save a Lot of Money

Single Car Family

When I was growing up, our family had a car for each person that was over the age of 16. I’m sure this meant a huge insurance and car maintenance bill for my folks, but it was sure nice in high school. Now that I am paying the bill, I’ve started to re-think this way of living. Just recently, when I got a new job, we were forced to buy a 2nd car. We had a large enough emergency fund, but I didn’t think about how much it would hurt to pay twice as much for insurance and gas. We’ve already started planning when we can get rid of our second car and go back to saving a couple thousand dollars each year by having only one car.

Dining In

When my wife and I were saving every penny that we could, one of the things that we were strict on was eating out. We limited it to once a month. Many of our friends eat our 2-3x per week. That’s nearly twelve times as often as us when we were trying to save money. Even if a family of two averages $10 per individual meal, that’s $240 each month eating out. Granted, you would spend some of that on groceries, but you can still estimate at least a thousand dollars per year by preparing most of your meals at home (and this is a conservative figure).

DIY

While I’m no handyman, a couple weeks ago our vacuum started smelling like burnt rubber. Since we’ve had the vacuum for several years, our first reaction was that it was time to get a new one. I hated the idea of paying several hundred dollars getting a new one, so I researched common vacuum problems. After just a few minutes, I learned that it was likely a bad vacuum belt. A couple Google searches later and I had a video showing me how to change it out. I ended up spending less than 30 minutes and just under $5 and we now have a working vacuum. I’m still ashamed that my first thought was to buy a new one, but I’m glad that I was able to save several hundred dollars with just a little bit of time. If families embrace this approach, I’m convinced that you can save hundreds or thousands each year.

Saving money, however easy or simple, takes time and effort. But, it doesn’t have to be “work”. In fact, as I have learned in the past couple of months, it can be quite enjoyable. Finding ways to save money without adding too much more work has been a new and exciting challenge to overcome. Not only is it fun, but it is also helping me invest more money and accomplish our financial goals  faster.

What are easy ways that you have used to save a lot of money?

This post was written by Corey, a staff writer from 20’s Finances.

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AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

15 Comments

  1. As of yesterday we had our offer recieved for our first home and it’s still in walking or biking distance from my husband’s employer! We’re pretty excited that we get to stay with one car. We’ll be taking your advice on the DIY as renovations & maintenance come up with this place.

    • Congrats Jessica! That’s great news. Good luck with the renovations on your house.

  2. Great post. I found that not eating out saved me 300-400 dollars a month. It is HUGE!! I am going to dabble with ditching a car and riding a bike soon. Should be interesting!

    • Good luck Tony. Going without a car can be a huge savings. Just think what it could allow you to do.

  3. Awesome tips! I love DIYing stuff and it not only made me save i, but I was able to exercise my creativity. And, dining in really saves money.

  4. I try to do a lot of DIY. It may be frusterating and take longer the first time but it will pay off every time after that. For example, the first toilet I replaced in my house took what felt like forever but the second replacement was a breeze. It was an easy task and I avoided paying a plumber.

    • Nice! When it comes time for me to conquer a toilet, I’ll give you a call. 😉

  5. I love DIY projects! I’m currently building a desk for my new office renovation project, and I’m all about learning new ways to do things while keeping the budget in check. My DIY efforts have saved me a boatload!

  6. We’ve saved a ton of money by going to a one-car family, and we hardly eat out these days. To be honest, I hardly miss what we used to do, but I love the extra money in my bank account at the end of the month!

    • I bet. Do you have any big plans with the extra money? Early retirement, maybe?

  7. These are great tips. Eating outside is one of the things we spend too much. My husband and I loves to eat a lot and we love to experience different kinds of food. We are not good cook either, so most of the time, if we want to eat sumptuous meal, we always prefer eating outside. This is a habit we should try to minimize.

  8. Thank you for a great tips. I disagree about car insurance. The second car will all to your bill only couple hundreds dollars.


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