Ways to cut back?

Community Leader
Registered: 05-04-2011
Ways to cut back?
8
Fri, 10-05-2012 - 2:12pm

I was talking with DH last night over a nice credit card bill, and we have realized that we're exceeding our income over the last couple of months, dipping into savings, and we need to cut back.  There have been a few unusual expenses, like bedding (sheets for the nanny's bed, mattress covers for the boys, more pillows), house insurance, and car insurance, but we haven't done a whole lot of "extra" spending, and other than cutting out those few unneccessary things, I'm not sure how to start paring back.  On top of everything else, we're looking at buying a larger vehicle which will pretty much wipe out our savings.  Any tips on what I can do to make life a little less expensive?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 7:27am
Cell phone bills and cable are an option but I find that I have the most control over food and entertainment. Outside of this past weekend for DH's birthday we haven't eaten out in quite awhile. Food, I know you do some shopping in the US, we have an Aldi by us and they really have the best prices outside of a really good sale. I stock up, shop the sales, buy meat in bulk and freeze. You could have meatless days (DH will not go for that here). Are there activities that you do with the kids that cost money?

Best way to start is to make a budget and see where your money is going. That can really point to places where you can cut back.
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Community Leader
Registered: 05-04-2011
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 11:17pm

Our cell phone bills are already at a minimum and unfortunately cutting them out isn't an option.  We don't have cable so that's not an issue, either.  I'll have to check and see if there's an Aldi where I shop.  I'm thinking there isn't -- there's Trader Joe's, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Costco, and I think a Safeway.  DH isn't keen on meatless days either but he may have to get used to them.

None of the activities we do cost money, but I take the little boys to play school (okay, so Mayhem doesn't care) two days a week and it's a half hour drive each way, so it does cost in gas.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 8:44am
That is tough! Sounds like you are pretty much cut back on everything. Have you looked at your fixed monthly expenses to see what that leaves for food and stuff? Sorry things are so tight right now.
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Community Leader
Registered: 05-04-2011
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 2:39pm

I'm trying to get all the receipts from this year entered into a bookkeeping program but right now I'm only up to May.  (My defense for being so far behind is that DH was supposed to be keeping track of the receipts, not I; I only started a month ago.)  I'll edit this post when I have a chance to look at the expenses I do have entered and see what's there.  I do know that we spend about 100$ on medication and about 300$ on gas each month.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 2:49pm
That fact that you have anything entered is impressive! My filing system is a box crammed under our pool table. Probably 3 years worth of papers in there that I occasionally try to file.
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Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sat, 10-13-2012 - 10:46am

Hi,

For starters unless your present vehicle is on it's last legs and its simply a "want" for a larger car: DO NOT spend your savings to buy another car! In this economy especially you want 3 to 6 months living expenses stuck in a savings account. That way if someone loses their job you can pay your bills for that long!

New cars lose 30% of their value in the first year and it declines from there. Find other ways to accommodate your needs, especially if your present car is paid off. Why would you want to burden yourself with either a car note or deplete your entire emergency fund to buy a car?

Other simple things you can do:

1)Cut your out-of-pocket spending out completely. That's coffee, lunch out, candy bars, gum, this and that from the dollar store or on the run. If you can save $5 a day you'll have an extra $1,850 in your pocket in a year! 

2)Keep track of what you spend in the grocery store. How much is really for food? Of that food how much do you eat and what do you really throw out? Americans throw out 25% of what they buy at the store all the time. How much is cleaning supplies, paper goods, snacks, pizza, pet food? Mine your receipts for this information and adjust accordingly.

3)Vacation locally. That big, fun family vacation can cost you a lot. Take long weekends and drive to your destination. 

4)Chop the expensive cable tv, cell phone, online gaming, and other electronic services that eat away at your net worth. Rent movies, subscribe to HULU or other services that let you view entire seasons of TV shows for a fraction of cable costs, borrow books from the library instead of buying them. Keep holiday gift giving limited to immediate family and draw names. 

5)Buy your children's clothes and your own at cosignment shops and secondhand stores. Ditto for jewelry, housewares, and other things you need seasonally like summer clothes, worktout gear, etc. Shop Craig's List, eBay, and your local classifieds for things you want like furniture, exercise equipment, toys, bikes, and more. It's amazing what you can find for sale for a fraction of the cost of new.

6)Stop borrowing money - no more credit cards, loans, or zero percent purchases. Save your money to buy the things you need, including a car. There's no freedom like having no debt and it will allow you to put away more money for college and retirement.

I teach Dave Ramsey. Visit his website: www.daveramsey.com and sign up for his Financial Peace University to learn a whole lot more. We're on our way to being debt free and we're looking forward to it!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-16-2004
Sat, 10-13-2012 - 4:59pm

Well   these are my tips.

Energy saving bulbs, yes they cost more but in the long run last longer and lower the electric bill. 

Menuplanning,  no idea of bulk buying because it cheap if you are not going to eat it and I plan a  whole month, you can do this for breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner.   Lunch in this house hold is left overs from day before   or  new dish made with left overs.

 

Community Leader
Registered: 05-04-2011
Tue, 10-16-2012 - 1:31am

I would love it if we didn't have to buy another vehicle -- unfortunately, we can't fit a family of six into a five-seater car.  :(

You have some great tips!  Thanks for sharing.