Happy 2thousand13 , Everybody! I hope your holiday celebrations went as festive and wonderful as you wished and expected them to be! It’s a brand new year for all of us. Are you all excited to unravel what the new year has in store for you? I am! Did you make a list of your New Year’s resolutions or as some people call it, Mantra? I’m not really good in keeping new year’s resolutions so I stopped doing that a long time ago. I instead kept a list of goals to achieve, with ‘save money like crazy’ aka cut down on expenses my top priority. I wouldn’t claim I saved a lot of money last year because I didn’t, but just because prices of almost everything had gone up in the last year, I think my accomplishment was more on how I was able to cut down on expenses and stayed within our budget.
For my very first post for 2013, I’d like to share with you a few simple and practical ways on how to cut down on expenses and eventually save a little money.
1. Due to bad service last 2011, Tashi and I decided to get rid of our cable subscription early 2012. Even though we paid almost $200 for the cancellation fee (more ggrrrrr) it still turned out to be a good move for us especially since we found out that starting Jan 2012 our monthly subscription fee of $24 would go up to $70 ($840/year). Getting rid of our cable meant a $640/year money saved.
2. I did a lot of thriftstore shopping last year. Believe it or not, most of the time, I would find brand new items, yes still with tags on it, for less than a dollar! Aside from thrift stores, I also love to shop at warehouse stores and outlets. In our area, we have Cargo Largo and Dirty Dons where you can buy items for a lot less. I usually pay $7.00 for the brand of toothpaste we use but I get those toothpastes from the warehouse stores and only pay $2.00 a piece.
3. Do off-season/end-of-season shopping. You will be amazed at how much you can stretch your money when shopping off-season. When Tashi gave me shopping money for my birthday (June, which is Summer in the U.S.), I went to the mall and spent my birthday money buying winter clothes. I was able to stretch my money really good and went home with lots of winter clothes paying less than a dollar on most items. No kidding! The shirts I bought had an original price of $14.99 – $49.99 but because they were on sale and were bought from an outlet store, I ended up paying $0.98 – $14.99 each. I do the same when I shop for Summer clothes, I shop during the Winter season.
4. Bringing lunches to work also contributed in my cost-cutting efforts. Typically lunches cost $5.00 on average and buying lunches for two weeks can easily cost you $50.00/paycheck. This is actually a good way to start if you plan on saving some money for 2013.
5. Laundry. I usually wash laundry in cold water except when I’m washing whites. I like the whites to stay white so I use hot water on them. I also stopped using fabric softeners and line dry some of our clothes (especially during Summer). Aside from saving energy, line drying lengthens the life of clothing. I think Tashi told me that last year when I was line drying clothes during Summer, our electric bill went down by at least $5.00 a month.
6. We also handwash our dishes. There is no need to waste a lot of water if you only have a few plates and silverware to wash.
7. I also make sure that all unused electronics (especially my kitchen gadgets) are all unplugged when not in use. Beware of the so-called vampire appliances, it can cost you money without you knowing it.
8. Use coupons. My father in-law has a newspaper subscription and every week he gives me the the insert pages with coupons. It doesn’t save you much but still, a $5.00 saving is still savings compared to none.
9. Carpool. I’m already taking the bus everyday going to and from work but when Tashi’s work hours changed, I took it as another opportunity to save. I carpooled with him even though it meant I needed to wake up an hour earlier. My monthly bus pass costs $50.00 and even though I used some of the money to buy us coffee/hot chocolate in the morning, I still saved at least $10 a week. Like I said, better than nothing!
10. Last, but certainly not the least is to do your Christmas shopping AFTER the Christmas season. Stores always drop their prices on Christmas items by 50%-75%. Just today, I went to the grocery store and saw a bunch of Christmas gift wrappers on sale for 50 cents a roll. BUT, if you really want to save why not use the cartoon pages of your newspapers in wrapping gifts instead of using those wrapping papers? Colorful and unique, right?
There you go, my impromptu ten simple and practical ways to cut down on expenses. I’m pretty sure there are lots of ways to save a little money here and there. In today’s economy, I honestly think that everyone’s mantra or goal should be to save money like crazy/cut down on expenses. Prices are not going to go down, the trend is always to go up. I got my first paycheck for the year last Friday and noticed an increase in my taxes. Without an increase in pay it simply means I would have less take home money. Life is getting more difficult. It’s up to us to find ways on how to make ends meet and still be able to enjoy life.
Care to share your story on how you cut down on your expenses? I would love to hear from you!
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