Author Topic: How to cut spending?  (Read 4610 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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How to cut spending?
« on: August 15, 2012, 08:49:55 AM »
This is my first post here.  My wife and I would very much like to pay off our debt and start saving money.  We spend it all now.  We are a family of 5 (3 kids aged 4,7 and 9) and I drive about an hour each way to work every day.  We are looking at cutting spending to facilitate saving.  So far, I've only identified dropping cable TV as a way to cut spending.

Anyway, enough about me.  I'm  hoping for suggestions of creative and even obvious places where you have found expense cutting opportunities.  Any?  Thanks!


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: How to cut spending?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2012, 09:18:28 AM »
Move an hour closer to work. Seriously.


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Re: How to cut spending?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 09:20:41 AM »
Probably every single item you spend money on.  Cell phone, groceries, utilities, etc. etc.

Some people like to post their budget for advice. Do you track your spending and know where your money is going?  If not, that's the first place to start.

Also, what grant said.  Or move your work an hour closer to home.
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  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How to cut spending?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2012, 09:58:44 AM »
Agree with the above....look at everything.  Does you kid need that?  Do I need that? What am I paying $XX a month for? Can I do this myself?

Though with 3 kids, that could be easier said than done.

I'm guilty of being far from work.  30 minutes, each way, 1 hour a day, 5 hours a week, 50 weeks a year.  10 days of my year in a car.

If you're going 1 hour each way, 20 days a year in your car.

Save on transport and get back that time, spend it with your children...or bourbon.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: How to cut spending?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2012, 03:54:00 PM »
Take your own lunch to work if your not already.

Stop buying coffee from 'insert cafe name here'.

Eat at home as much as possible.

Don't spoil your skids with stuff. Spoil them with love and awesome experiences.

Don't go shopping for the sake of shopping. If you need something sure go out and get it, otherwise stay the hell away from stores.

Cell fucking phones. If your on a contract drop it ASAP, switch to prepay, and only call each other when absolutely necessary (my prepay bill is approx $20-$40 a year).

Insurance - go get some quotes from other providers, make sure your not paying more than you need to.

Do you owe money on a car, have monthly payments towards one? If so you can't afford that car. Sell it. Buy something slightly older with CASH!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How to cut spending?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2012, 04:22:26 PM »
In addition to the items listed above,

1) Cook in your home -- not just every day, but for special events... date night?  Send the kids to gramma's and make dinner with your wife.  Drink your own wine, clear your own dishes and the enjoy the time... it's no different than waiting for someone else to cook your food.  Kid birthday?  let them choose the menu, but decorate and host the party at home.  Even mix cakes are often better than commercial cakes... which always surprises me.
1b) pack a lunch (leftovers are quick)
1c) pack snacks for your locker/desk... even if only something nasty for case of emergency (oatmeal packets) so that you don't blow money on the vending machine /  candy isle.

2) Check your monthly bills one by one, then see which ones you can pare down (phone, cellphone, cable, netflix).  Semi-annual bills too (insurance, newspaper, magazines).  We kept cellphones, but dropped the landline and moved to Virgin mobile and saved ourselves $20 a month (6 months to return the investment on the phones)  Newspaper canceled because we don't read it.  Internet changed to the "budget" rate -- which still allows streaming video (although not in HD)

3) Work on your own car.  Perhaps it's just the little things like checking tire pressure (The door panel should be treated as a minimum level) and fluids, or perhaps you can learn how to change your own oil.  If you're mechanically inclined, you can do even more--   I searched youtube and found a video of someone replacing pads and rotors on my exact make and model... Saved $300 for 3 hours of work.  Similar case when my stereo died... new stereo with harness and instructions was $200 less than having the kids at car-toys install an inferior unit.  3 hours.

4)Try to find a carpool buddy.  You're burning a fair amount of time and gas driving, with a buddy you can split that... even if you're only going to "generally" the same place.  Make sure to consider the time and hassle of meeting against the benefits -- this dosn't work for everyone.

5) When it's time to replace the car, consider small and used.  There is no sense in burning 3 gallons a day if you only need to burn 2 -- and they're usually cheaper vehicles too.



  • Stubble
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Re: How to cut spending?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2012, 09:41:09 PM »
Reading the blog from the start is a good place to, um, start.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How to cut spending?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 05:37:34 AM »
In addition to all of the above, make sure you read Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.


  • Bristles
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Re: How to cut spending?
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 06:17:59 AM »
The big themes in most of these suggestions are:
- Don't assume an expense can't be cut. It can. It's just a matter of how much you're willing to do. So the trite answer to your subject line is, "by just doing it and dealing with the results."
- Educate yourself. There are many possible ways to live, even in America (especially in America). Use your imagination. You don't have to execute on all the options, but knowing what the possibilities are can help you decide what to work on next.

The wonderful thing about both of these is that they put you in more of an operator's role in your life, rather than a mere participant. You can figure out creative solutions with your wife and kids, which itself is a fun exercise. I bet your 7 and 9 year olds would really get into coming up with ideas.

One more high level thing: don't worry so much about what other people think. No need to become unnecessarily weird, but almost the whole American culture is working *against* what you're trying to do. Become a contrarian.. it's fun. :)


  • Bristles
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Re: How to cut spending?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2012, 07:01:57 AM »
Since you're just starting on the whole saving money thing, check for big wins before you sweat the small stuff.  I'm trying to list these in order of the amount of money they might win you, so start at the top.  Top ones are also more effort and might take a while to implement, though. 

  • Can you move into a cheaper place closer to work, or get a job closer to your house?
  • Can you refinance and pay less in interest?  Can you refinance to a shorter-term loan and pay less total interest that way, even if it temporarily makes your monthly payments go up?
  • Can you get a raise?
  • Can you replace your car with a cheaper/more efficient one?
  • Do you buy lunch at work?  Stop it.
  • Does your family go shopping recreationally?  (My mom and I always used to.) Try to cut down on this by finding something else to do, and only shop when you need something.
  • Look at your cell phone plan.  If you're on contract, you have probably bought into the idea that you need a new phone every year or two.  You probably don't.  Get on a non-contract plan, and only replace your phone when it actually breaks (and try not to break it).  Get a cheaper plan if possible.
  • Anything you pay for monthly -- check it out and critically think about whether you can replace it with something that's free or only costs money once.  Gym membership?  Buy some weights.  Yoga? Practice at home more and go to the studio less often, if at all.  Magazine subscriptions?  Go to the library.