Let’s face it — life is expensive. Sometimes I enter “Frugal Mode” where I walk around and all I see are dollar signs above everything. I went to a night market last night and I couldn’t even bring myself to buy a $3 t-shirt. I fully admit that last night I crossed the boundary between being responsible with my money and being cheap. However, there are very easy ways to still live a comfortable lifestyle while cutting costs. Here are seven easy things you can do right now to reduce your spending.
Cook at Home
Eating out is expensive. Think of eating out as more of a treat rather than the norm. Buying your food at grocery stores or local markets and cooking it yourself will not only save money, but you can ensure freshness and quality of your food too. Cooking at home can also be fun. Most of the time my wife and I take turns cooking dinner, but sometimes we cook together and it’s always a lot of fun. It’s extra time to spend together, working as a team, and doing something productive. Adding improved culinary skills to your resume is just an added benefit!
Don’t Drink So Much Alcohol
I know, I know — this one is tough. But think to yourself, “How many times have you uttered those words, ‘Never again?’” We’re not even talking about never again here, just moderation. The next time you’re out with friends, try cutting down the drinks from four to three for the night. You’ll not only have a little extra money in your wallet, but you’ll feel better in the morning too. Now that’s a solution your mind and body will thank you for.
I’m not trying to single out Starbucks here, I really mean all coffee shops. Drinks here can be up to five to ten times more expensive than simply making coffee at home. What’s the main reason we go to coffee shops? To save time? Think about the time in line, the time in the drive-thru — does that really save time? Do your wallet a favor next time and make coffee at home. You can even put it in a to-go thermos, and still maintain that crazy life of yours.
Cut the Gym Membership
Staying fit and exercising is very important, but you don’t need a gym to do that. Running in your neighborhood, swimming in a public pool, joining local recreation leagues — these are all free activities you can do that will keep you just as fit as a gym. Need to do a little weight training? Buy a pull-up bar and a couple of dumbbells. You’d be surprised with the results you can see from simple home workouts. My personal favorites are the 100 Pushup Challenge and the 7 Minute Workout.
Bike to Work
While we’re on the topic of exercise, biking to work not only keeps you in shape, it can greatly cut down on petrol costs. Another win-win!
Don’t Leave the Lights on in Your House and Switch to Energy Efficient Bulbs
Remembering to turn the lights off as you leave a room can be hard, especially if you haven’t formed the habit of doing so. But turning off lights you aren’t using will absolutely knock off a few dollars from your electric bill every month. Not only switching off the lights, but buying energy efficient light bulbs will save you money even when the lights are on. These two simple steps will leave you with a nice sum of money at the end of the year.
Buy in Bulk
All it takes is a little bit of planning ahead. Superstores that sell bulk items will almost always be cheaper. Especially for families that go through food and household items quickly, buying in bulk not only saves you money at the store, it will save time and (even more) money not having to go to the store as often.
So the next time you look at those expenses and start stressing about the budget, remember this seven easy ways to reduce your spending. Simple lifestyle changes can have huge rewards.