Budget, Resources + Tools

5 Ways to Minimize Household Expenses

I’ll be the first to admit that when we decided to get our finances in order, I had no idea where to begin. I thought we’d already minimized our expenditures because we used to live on the bare minimum anyway. It was only when we established a clear and concise budget that we realized that there was still more fat to trim, and this has been what’s given us more of a leg up in knocking out debt. There is always something you can do to save some extra cash. These are five things we were able to do to save ourselves some money while paying off debt:

We became a one-vehicle household

This change came about gradually, and must be prefaced with the statement that my vehicle, a 2004 Chevy crew cab, was a gas-guzzling piece of crap. At first, we were both driving to work. After some calculations, we found that it would save time and gas money for me to drop Stu off and pick him up since I work on the complete opposite side of the city anyway. I tried to sell my vehicle on Craigslist, but it was so hit and miss that I decided to take it to Carmax and just be done with it. If you have flexible enough schedules for this to be a feasible option, it can save you SO much on fuel, insurance, and vehicle maintenance costs. I’m planning on purchasing another vehicle closer to when we want to start a family, but until then, that money is hanging out in savings where I can add to it gradually.

We refinanced our vehicle

After we downsized, we looked into refinancing the Soob with our credit union. We didn’t have to make a payment for 90 days and it reduced the monthly payment by $100 (it’s also convenient that we can sign in to our credit union’s website and take care of all our budgeting needs in one place). Yes, it increases the life of the loan, but there’s a good chance we won’t keep it for the entirety anyway. Depending on your specific financial plan, this could be a good option to decrease monthly bills.

We cancelled our cable

Neither of us have had cable for awhile, so this wasn’t a big deal. But dude, cable is effing expensive and TV is just NOT $130 worth of important. Also, shop around for your internet. TWC doesn’t have a monopoly (yet). We use Wide Open West as our internet provider, which is $20/month. Apparently, they try to jack up the price after one year, but our sales rep told us to call him if that happened and he would adjust the price. We will see if this holds true… Worst-case-scenario–threaten to switch to a competitor. Or just drop a bunch of f-bombs. We do have Netflix and, if you have awesome friends and family members like us, they might let you use their TWC credentials to watch The Walking Dead on AMC’s website or their Hulu account to watch Seinfeld. This works much better when these same people WANT you to watch these shows so they can discuss them with you afterward…

We invested in a home gym

This was partially to save money in the long run and partially because there were about to be beatings at the gym we used to go to down the street. I’ll tell you what, no one has gym etiquette anymore. It was crowded, no one re-racked their weights, people were always in the way, and if I saw one more gym douche with a man-bun and toe shoes, I was going to scream. We were either going to be arrested for assault or resign ourselves to a life of obesity, so something had to change. Stu already had a good set of weights, so we decided to purchase a power rack, lat tower attachment, resistance bands, and knock-off TRX bands. We had to modify a couple of exercises (YouTube will become your bff), but overall, it was a major success. Now, we don’t pay a monthly gym membership and just step out into our garage instead of driving to the gym right after work.

I shop for clothes at discount stores

If you haven’t noticed already, I am the queen of discount shopping. I make a point to not pay more than $10 for a shirt if I can help it. This seems a bit extreme to some, but it’s worked out pretty well so far. Don’t let discount stores scare you. Places like Marshalls and TJMaxx can be gold mines, especially for designer items if you’re feeling really fancy. Gordman’s has also been one of my go-to stores because there is so much variety. Plus, I can find inexpensive basics like t-shirts and tank tops for around $5 each (which actually hold up really well). And last, but not least, two of my favorite stores will always be Clothes Mentor and Plato’s Closet. Even if you’re not looking to shop, you can take your gently used clothes there and at least make some money off of them.

So there it is, how we trimmed the fat on a few of our everyday expenses (and still do). Every little bit helps because what you’re not spending on superfluous items, you could be using to work toward financial freedom! So how about it? What are some financial changes you’ve made to save a little extra?

 

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