As discussed in a previous post, one of the quickest ways to build a financial portfolio that will carry you (and your loved ones) into a successful future is to cut some of the expenses that add little to no value to your life.
Some things, such as rent and insurance, are required (though there are cheaper ways to do that, as well), but there are many expenses that can be trimmed with just a little smart thinking and some resourcefulness.
Many people would say we don’t “need” many of the things on this list, but it’s important to maintain a rewarding and fulfilling life as we work on filling our bucket – and sometimes that means keeping our “happy makers” intact, such as coffee and the occasional beer. Sure, we could cut everything out of our lives that feels good, and we’d probably save tons – but who wants to live that way?
Here are some ways you can realistically trim expenses. These are measurable, practical things you can do today, to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month, while keeping your lifestyle intact.
- If you have debt, re-finance it with a loan at a lower rate. You can usually get one from a peer lending service, then save as much as you can (and take on a few side hustles) to pay the new debt down.
- Spending hundreds on cable TV? Consider just having Netflix (after all, no one says “Comcast and chill”).
- Spend a lot on beer? Partner up with your buddies and do a bit of home-brewing.
- Coffee junkie? Back away from the Starbucks addiction, and invest in alternatives that stretch your dollar. In our house, I have a Keurig machine, and use compostable pods from the San Francisco Bay Coffee Company. Costco sells the French Roast compostable pods for just 35 cents a pod, after taxes. Decent coffee that is cheap and earth-friendly? Now that’s a bargain.
- Have a pricey gym membership? Walk or bike to work, if practical. For motivation, hold yourself accountable to a community, which combines high-intensity workouts, nutrition, and community support to help keep members on track.
- Eat out a lot? Eat in instead. It’s healthier, and cheaper too. In our household, we do most of our meal planning on weekends, and I cook with “plan overs” in mind (intentionally cooking too much so we can use the leftovers during the week, when we tend to be really busy and more likely to eat out).
- Optimize your cell phone bill: Use a tool like Whistle Out to identify the best deals for you. We recently dumped T-mobile for Cricket Wireless, and went from $160 to $90 a month for three lines on the same account.
While you are doing that, consider some side hustles as ways to make a little more cash each month, in the sharing economy. Not everything will appeal to you, but if some do, it’s a great way to make a little extra on the side. Take the money you save and make it count, by building a stream of passive income.
Cutting expenses is easier than you’d think, and if you do it for long enough, it becomes a way of life. Choose one, two, or all of the items above and start putting some money back in your pocket.