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Ways to cut expenses

hicocohicoco Chicago member
100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper

Hi all-I'm trying to cut back on "extras" and doing a lot of common sense things but I know we have a lot of good advice on these boards so I was wondering what other little things you do/have done in order to cut expenses and generally save more money. I was thinking I need to start with unsubscribing from store newsletters because then I am always tempted to open them and spend $$ I wouldn't have spent otherwise.

Suggestions?

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Re: Ways to cut expenses

  • Are you talking about a wedding? Your house? Christmas gifts? This is super broad...
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  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I started with what you suggest: I unsubscribed myself from every single newsletter I get. That was probably the biggest thing I ever did. Combined that with bringing my lunch every day and limiting myself to eating out once a week has saved me a ton of money. Sure, I spend more on groceries, but I still save about $5-10 a day on my eating out. 

    I also got rid of all my store credit cards. Which sucked. But I would always get phone calls or emails for new specials or rewards that I had on my cards.

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    hicoco
  • hicocohicoco Chicago member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    @southernbelle0915, just general spending. I am not "saving" for anything in particular, just want to try to spend less in general. Sorry for the lack of clarity!
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  • hicocohicoco Chicago member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    mikenberger, glad to see that worked for you. I am going to start doing that. I have 2 store credit cards that I hardly use (opened Macy's for registry points) and I've thought about closing my other 1, I just haven't got around to it yet.
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  • Might make sense to look at the areas where you spend the most, that are areas you actually can make an impact on (clothes, food, etc).

    So if you find that you eat out a lot, look into meal planning so that you're less tempted to eat out.

    Cut cable and go to Netflix/Hulu.

    Check your cell phone usage, could you go to a lower data plan?

    Sell old clothes/household items or whatever on craigslist or ebay to make some "fun money"
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    banana468hicoco
  • pinkcow13pinkcow13 The Concrete Jungle member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Cut back on eating out and take out. Make your own lunches. I also (when we were saving for the wedding) cut back on mani's and pedi's. I honestly did not get my feet professionally done in a year (first time was the day before the wedding), and I did my own nails. I also did not shop for a VERY long time, and when I did I made sure to buy things on sale.
                                 Anniversary
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    hicoco
  • kvrunskvruns member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    What things are you already doing?
    southernbelle0915
  • sarahuflsarahufl New York member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I do self-imposed suspensions on things. Usually for a month at a time because it is easy to track. I won't shop or eat out or get manicures or something for the month.

    It is suprisingly effective for me.
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    [Deleted User]hicoco[Deleted User]
  • The simplest answer is to just be satisfied with what you have. If you can find happiness outside of "stuff" you won't feel the need to spend money except on essentials. 

    I often find I spend more when I'm unhappy. So I try to figure out the actual reason I'm feeling a void and then recognize that "stuff" won't fill it. 

    I also ask myself "do I really need this?" Not "want". "Need". 99% of the time, the answer is no.
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    hicocokmmssg[Deleted User]peachy13
  • I cut out manicures and traded Starbucks for the coffee cart in front of my office (half the price), started bringing my own lunch and snacks to work, and am trying to limit how much eating/drinking out I do (which is the hardest part because I LOVE restaurants). 



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    hicoco
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    If you haven't already, make a budget. For a month, track every single thing you spend money on. If you buy groceries, keep the receipt or write it down. If you buy girl scout cookies, write it down. If you tip the valet, write it down. After the month, get out a spreadsheet (or use one of the online versions) to figure out where your money is going. From there, it's much easier to be realistic about how much you can save by making some changes.

    When H and I did this, we were shocked by how much we spent eating lunch out and on all the little things. So, we set aside X amount for each of us for play money. I have my amount each month that I can spend on clothes, shoes, lunch out, happy hour, starbucks, or whatever I want. Now when I think about buying the latte, I'm thinking about whether it's worth not buying the strappy sandals. 
    hicocobeachyone15AprilH81
  • novella1186novella1186 member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited June 2015
    If you haven't already, make a budget. For a month, track every single thing you spend money on. If you buy groceries, keep the receipt or write it down. If you buy girl scout cookies, write it down. If you tip the valet, write it down. After the month, get out a spreadsheet (or use one of the online versions) to figure out where your money is going. From there, it's much easier to be realistic about how much you can save by making some changes.

    When H and I did this, we were shocked by how much we spent eating lunch out and on all the little things. So, we set aside X amount for each of us for play money. I have my amount each month that I can spend on clothes, shoes, lunch out, happy hour, starbucks, or whatever I want. Now when I think about buying the latte, I'm thinking about whether it's worth not buying the strappy sandals. 
    This. I mean, I'm probably not the best person to give advice right now since my finances are currently fucked thanks to my poor self-control. But anyway. 

    The first summer I lived with H, our money seemed to be vanishing even though we felt like we weren't spending a lot. I tracked every single thing we spent money on and put it in a spreadsheet, then broke it into categories. The huge money-waster? In one month, we spent over $600 eating out, and we had felt like we didn't go out that much. It was nuts to actually see it in black and white. 

    This time when my finances got out of control, I tracked again. My huge waste was online shopping. I felt like I had only bought a few things and spent maybe a couple hundred dollars, so no big deal. I was way wrong. Way way way wrong. 

    Sometimes you need to track what you're doing to see what the problems are, and then you can adjust accordingly. 
    image
    hicoco[Deleted User]
  • sarahuflsarahufl New York member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    If you haven't already, make a budget. For a month, track every single thing you spend money on. If you buy groceries, keep the receipt or write it down. If you buy girl scout cookies, write it down. If you tip the valet, write it down. After the month, get out a spreadsheet (or use one of the online versions) to figure out where your money is going. From there, it's much easier to be realistic about how much you can save by making some changes.

    When H and I did this, we were shocked by how much we spent eating lunch out and on all the little things. So, we set aside X amount for each of us for play money. I have my amount each month that I can spend on clothes, shoes, lunch out, happy hour, starbucks, or whatever I want. Now when I think about buying the latte, I'm thinking about whether it's worth not buying the strappy sandals. 
    This. I mean, I'm probably not the best person to give advice right now since my finances are currently fucked thanks to my poor self-control. But anyway. 

    The first summer I lived with H, our money seemed to be vanishing even though we felt like we weren't spending a lot. I tracked every single thing we spent money on and put it in a spreadsheet, then broke it into categories. The huge money-waster? In one month, we spent over $600 eating out, and we had felt like we didn't go out that much. It was nuts to actually see it in black and white. 

    This time when my finances got out of control, I tracked again. My huge waste was online shopping. I felt like I had only bought a few things and spent maybe a couple hundred dollars, so no big deal. I was way wrong. Way way way wrong. 

    Sometimes you need to track what you're doing to see what the problems are, and then you can adjust accordingly. 
    I said this already in your thread, but it bears repeating. Budgeting is great. But don't wait till the end of the month to realize you are going nuts with money. I check my credit card charges daily online (I never use cash), so when I see expenses in a specific category adding up, I cut back.

    If you wait till the statement arrives, you may have already spent too  much.
    image
    novella1186hicoco
  • sarahufl said:
    If you haven't already, make a budget. For a month, track every single thing you spend money on. If you buy groceries, keep the receipt or write it down. If you buy girl scout cookies, write it down. If you tip the valet, write it down. After the month, get out a spreadsheet (or use one of the online versions) to figure out where your money is going. From there, it's much easier to be realistic about how much you can save by making some changes.

    When H and I did this, we were shocked by how much we spent eating lunch out and on all the little things. So, we set aside X amount for each of us for play money. I have my amount each month that I can spend on clothes, shoes, lunch out, happy hour, starbucks, or whatever I want. Now when I think about buying the latte, I'm thinking about whether it's worth not buying the strappy sandals. 
    This. I mean, I'm probably not the best person to give advice right now since my finances are currently fucked thanks to my poor self-control. But anyway. 

    The first summer I lived with H, our money seemed to be vanishing even though we felt like we weren't spending a lot. I tracked every single thing we spent money on and put it in a spreadsheet, then broke it into categories. The huge money-waster? In one month, we spent over $600 eating out, and we had felt like we didn't go out that much. It was nuts to actually see it in black and white. 

    This time when my finances got out of control, I tracked again. My huge waste was online shopping. I felt like I had only bought a few things and spent maybe a couple hundred dollars, so no big deal. I was way wrong. Way way way wrong. 

    Sometimes you need to track what you're doing to see what the problems are, and then you can adjust accordingly. 
    I said this already in your thread, but it bears repeating. Budgeting is great. But don't wait till the end of the month to realize you are going nuts with money. I check my credit card charges daily online (I never use cash), so when I see expenses in a specific category adding up, I cut back.

    If you wait till the statement arrives, you may have already spent too  much.
    Agreed! I'm actually really excited for next month to start so I can start a routine of tracking throughout the month, instead of what I did this time; getting halfway through the month and then saying "oh shit I messed up really bad!" 
    image
  • sarahuflsarahufl New York member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    sarahufl said:
    If you haven't already, make a budget. For a month, track every single thing you spend money on. If you buy groceries, keep the receipt or write it down. If you buy girl scout cookies, write it down. If you tip the valet, write it down. After the month, get out a spreadsheet (or use one of the online versions) to figure out where your money is going. From there, it's much easier to be realistic about how much you can save by making some changes.

    When H and I did this, we were shocked by how much we spent eating lunch out and on all the little things. So, we set aside X amount for each of us for play money. I have my amount each month that I can spend on clothes, shoes, lunch out, happy hour, starbucks, or whatever I want. Now when I think about buying the latte, I'm thinking about whether it's worth not buying the strappy sandals. 
    This. I mean, I'm probably not the best person to give advice right now since my finances are currently fucked thanks to my poor self-control. But anyway. 

    The first summer I lived with H, our money seemed to be vanishing even though we felt like we weren't spending a lot. I tracked every single thing we spent money on and put it in a spreadsheet, then broke it into categories. The huge money-waster? In one month, we spent over $600 eating out, and we had felt like we didn't go out that much. It was nuts to actually see it in black and white. 

    This time when my finances got out of control, I tracked again. My huge waste was online shopping. I felt like I had only bought a few things and spent maybe a couple hundred dollars, so no big deal. I was way wrong. Way way way wrong. 

    Sometimes you need to track what you're doing to see what the problems are, and then you can adjust accordingly. 
    I said this already in your thread, but it bears repeating. Budgeting is great. But don't wait till the end of the month to realize you are going nuts with money. I check my credit card charges daily online (I never use cash), so when I see expenses in a specific category adding up, I cut back.

    If you wait till the statement arrives, you may have already spent too  much.
    Agreed! I'm actually really excited for next month to start so I can start a routine of tracking throughout the month, instead of what I did this time; getting halfway through the month and then saying "oh shit I messed up really bad!" 
    It is part of my daily routine, email, TK, Facebook, credit card,  bank account. Once you make it part of your day, it is easy!
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    novella1186
  • PPs have great suggestions:
    -Don't shop just 'cause.   Only shop for a purpose and with a list.   Don't deviate from the list.
    -Don't shop with people who will enable you to deviate from your list.   "Get those jeans they're so cute!" doesn't pay the bills.
    -Cut out cable or reduce what you have for it.
    -Think of your driving and find ways to reduce the trips you take.   
    Ex: DH does the trips to Target and the grocery store on a weekly basis because they're on the way home for him.   We try not to make a special trip to just get "stuff".

    -Compare prices and buy what you need.  

    -Buy in bulk only when you know you'll use it and it won't expire.   We have a BJ's membership which is great for items like diapers, milk, OJ, yogurt, and PB and J to name a few.   When I want to roast a beef tenderloin, the price/lb is great.   However the large containers of laundry detergent aren't a smart buy for us because I don't do enough laundry to warrant the large container and its effectiveness wears down over time.   May not be a big deal for you but it is for me when I have poop routinely showing up in the laundry.

    -Don't eat out.

    -Drink less alcohol.   Drink 1 glass instead of 1/2 a 750 ml bottle.   Drink out of a magnum vs. the 750 ml bottle of wine.

    -Eat less expensive meat.  

    -Buy frozen veggies.
    hicoco[Deleted User]
  • hicocohicoco Chicago member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper

    Everyone has really great tips and advice! Thank you!

    -I definitely do check my bank account and credit cards every single day as part of my routine and I think that helps.

    -We use the dishwasher about 1 time per week, but I bet we could even make it less if I wash more by hand.

    -I think lists will be very helpful for me. I do them normally, but I really need to pay attention to what is a want vs what is a need and I think that will make a big difference. Do not deviate from the list! (Target is for sure the worst).

    -I've also noticed I do a lot of online shopping when I'm bored or unhappy and then end up paying shipping for something I could get myself at a local store.

    -I am crazy consistent about monitoring the thermostat. I also just got on the budget plan for that so I am interested to see how that affects it.

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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I use Mint.com (they have an app too) to keep me in check.

    I'm not strict with my budget, but I do check it everyday.  It makes me more conscious to say go out for a meal when I know I have already spent "x" on food for this month already.  

    I kind-of make it a game, challenge myself.   With only 10 days left in the month I'm way behind in my food budgets.   Yet I still have a full pantry and freezer. With good stuff, not just a bunch of  boxed foods.  Actually I do not by that kind of stuff.  expect for mac-n-cheese.   

    I could go the rest of the month without going out or hitting up the grocery store.   Not that I'm going to.   I would like some milk and some fresh veggies.  I'm sure DH and I will go out for a beer or something, but I could if I really need to.  The money left over will go to my travel account.


    note  - I have a grocery budget and a dining/eating out budget.   The dining/eating out budget includes us going out to a bar and stuff.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    hicoco
  • FH got really drunk after the Hawks won on Monday night.  He's decided to do a 'cleanse' which means he's not drinking for a month until his guys trip to Canada.  I've decided to join him, so we'll save money there, both with drinks out, and with stocking our home bar.  

    I'm also considering doing a 'kitchen cleanse'.  I'd like to see if we can go without groceries for the month, except maybe some fresh fruit/veggies and dairy.  But I think we can probably come up with plenty of meals just using the stuff in our freezer and pantry.  Towards the end it may require lots of random casseroles or cereal for dinner, but I'm okay with that.

    I'm also going to do a closet cleanse.  I have clothes in like 3 different sizes, clothes I'll never wear again even if I do get down to that size.  And I'll be tossing socks that slide down, underwear with holes and snags, t-shirts with holes or stains.

    Anything I want to buy will go on a list for purchase after the 'cleanse' is over.  Who knows?  By then maybe I will have decided that I don't really need another pair of work pants because I found 3 dresses I can wear all summer to work that I didn't realize I owned because they were stuck in the back of the closet or under the bed.  And maybe I won't need them by fall because I will have lost weight and my smaller work pants fit again.  (A girl can dream.)
    luckya23AprilH81[Deleted User]
  • hicocohicoco Chicago member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I plan on doing a closet cleanse this weekend and taking things to Clothes Mentor to sell what I can. FI and I hardly ever go out for drinks and even when we are out for dinner, we usually just get a pop (which I know we should/could cut out). My main issue is that I do like to go out for dinner quite a bit. I need to work on that for sure.
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  • I don't know if others do this but when I go grocery shopping I bring a list. I normally have some kind of meat on there. I will buy in bulk - normally chicken because it's cheaper and I'll wrap them up individually and freeze them. That will last me a month depending on what I make for dinners. Meat is the most expensive and I don't really notice a difference between the chicken I freeze and the chicken I eat fresh.

     

    I buy a lot of frozen veggies and that helps a ton as well and I can make several meals from a bag of veggies (I do live by myself but my boyfriend and I eat a lot of meals together). Frozen in general is normally good though I do like fresh fruit so I splurge a bit.

     

    Also a lot of the meals I make, I will have leftovers and I have lunch the next day. I try to avoid eating out too much during lunch because that seems to be my biggest expense if I'm not careful.

     

    I have a credit card that I get rewards back on as well. I pay a lot of my bills with that card (which I don't recommend if you will not consistently pay off your credit cards - I only do this because I know I have the money set aside each month to take care of it.) The bills add up quickly and I get tons of rewards which I then deposit to my savings account. It's not a huge amount but it's still a tidy sum.

     

     

    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    hicoco
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    hicoco said:

    Everyone has really great tips and advice! Thank you!

    -I definitely do check my bank account and credit cards every single day as part of my routine and I think that helps.

    -We use the dishwasher about 1 time per week, but I bet we could even make it less if I wash more by hand.

    -I think lists will be very helpful for me. I do them normally, but I really need to pay attention to what is a want vs what is a need and I think that will make a big difference. Do not deviate from the list! (Target is for sure the worst).

    -I've also noticed I do a lot of online shopping when I'm bored or unhappy and then end up paying shipping for something I could get myself at a local store.

    -I am crazy consistent about monitoring the thermostat. I also just got on the budget plan for that so I am interested to see how that affects it.

    I check my accounts also, but for me at least, looking at one place to see I spent $200 this WEEK on food has more of an impact then seeing a 4 $50 charges over a few different accounts.


    Mint connects to your accounts so you can look at your balances and the budget. Other people track spending on excel sheets.

    I suggest some sort of tracking to just see what categories your money is really going.   It can be a real eye-opener when you see the total of a category not just a bunch of random charges all mixed up together.   








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    [Deleted User]
  • What helps me, is finding out where the bulk of my $ is going, and then focusing in on that.

    If you're in a serious bind, and your rent is too high, maybe look at a cheaper place. If your gas/car payments is too high, look at working from home/limiting going out/host people at your house/carpool/sell your car, get a cheaper one.

    If its less serious, like alcohol, start shoping sales (I mean you could cut back, but...). We have stores here that do case sales - so if you buy a whole case it works out to be half the price of buying regular price. Hits the account once, but then you can coast for a while.

    Food, you've gotten great advice - always a list. And, you can ahead of time look at flyers, and compare them to your list. Maybe chicken is cheaper at this one place, and canned veggies are on sale at this other place. So long as you arent driving all over town, it can save you money.

    Buying in bulk is cheaper if you do it properly, and if its things you need/will use. Its easy to look at 2 packs of chicken, one has 4 pieces and is 5$ and one has 12 pieces and is 10$. Yes, it costs double, but that gets way more than double your meals, so you can shop less.

    Freezer is your friend! You can buy bulk chicken and freeze it, you can make cheap/easy oven dinners like lasagna and shep pie and freeze them.

    Also, the crockpot is a super easy tool that gets some nice flavour with minimal effort. I know alot of people dont like to cook for themselves because of the time and effort involved. Crockpot is bascially a dump and cook method, and still tastes yummy.

    If you dedicate one day a month, you can do your shopping and prepping for an entire month.

     

    http://www.budgetbytes.com/

    http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/100-days-on-a-budget/

    http://brokeassgourmet.com/

    http://twocents.lifehacker.com/a-guide-to-planning-meals-when-you-re-on-a-tight-budget-1573204892

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  • Also, a few warnings:

    -If you live somewhere that uses well water then using the dishwasher could be more cost effective.   Every time I run the water it's electrical use for me.   If I have to make frequent trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night (thank you kids for killing my bladder) then I may only flush first thing in the AM.   As a family of 4 now, the hand washing of bottles and sippy cups and other crap easily uses up way more water than a basket and the dishwasher would - but it's all about knowing YOU.

    -Be careful with scaling back on the cell phone data parts.   Data use is only increasing in phones.   Between gaming and streaming it's gone through the roof so it could hurt you in the long run.
  • IrishPirate60IrishPirate60 Clare Island member
    Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    And what if there's stuff you need? Join your local Buy Nothing group and ask. Www.buynothing.com
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    lyndausvi said:
    hicoco said:

    Everyone has really great tips and advice! Thank you!

    -I definitely do check my bank account and credit cards every single day as part of my routine and I think that helps.

    -We use the dishwasher about 1 time per week, but I bet we could even make it less if I wash more by hand.

    -I think lists will be very helpful for me. I do them normally, but I really need to pay attention to what is a want vs what is a need and I think that will make a big difference. Do not deviate from the list! (Target is for sure the worst).

    -I've also noticed I do a lot of online shopping when I'm bored or unhappy and then end up paying shipping for something I could get myself at a local store.

    -I am crazy consistent about monitoring the thermostat. I also just got on the budget plan for that so I am interested to see how that affects it.

    I check my accounts also, but for me at least, looking at one place to see I spent $200 this WEEK on food has more of an impact then seeing a 4 $50 charges over a few different accounts.


    Mint connects to your accounts so you can look at your balances and the budget. Other people track spending on excel sheets.

    I suggest some sort of tracking to just see what categories your money is really going.   It can be a real eye-opener when you see the total of a category not just a bunch of random charges all mixed up together.   


    This. Diligent tracking for the first month is a huge eye opener because it really lets you see the big picture. $5-10 here or there for lunch or a starbucks doesn't seem like very much, even when you see it coming out of your account every day. When you add it all up for a month and realize you're spending $300/month on little stuff, it's easier to see where you really need to make cuts.

    Tracking accounts daily is a must, but that doesn't really help you see where you can save money. 
    hicocolyndausvi
  • peachy13peachy13 in my cubicle, doing very important work member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    PPs have great advice. I bring my own lunch in to work to avoid spending $10 or so on lunch at a shop nearby. FI and I also try to cook at home Sun-Thurs and this saves us a ton. Groceries are more expensive, but making a list and sticking to it helps a lot.

    A lot of it is self control, but we all buy stuff for ourselves from time to time. One thing I've sort of being doing for the last few years is choosing quality over quantity, as well as buying something specific versus buying something just to spend money. I used to buy a lot of random crap for myself whenever I had a little extra money kicking around. Slightly more mature me knows a little better, and when I can, I try to save up for better things for myself. So maybe 5 years ago I would spend $100 at Target and walk out with a bathing suit, sundress, sandals, and a headband. I probably strolled past these items, thought they were cute at the time, and said, hey why not. Do I still wear any of that crap 5 years later? Probably not. Now, I might take that $100 and buy this amazing jacket that I've been wanting... not just an impulse buy, but something that I really want. And the price is a lot for just one item but the jacket is a classic style made of good material and I know I'll have it for years. It's not necessarily saving you money at the time, but I think making better decisions with your fun money does make a difference in the long run.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers


    hicoco
  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I think cutting my cable bill and bringing my lunch to work are the biggest two things I have done. I miss having a DVR and cable, but I do have Netflix and fifty million dvds at home so I survive.

    hicoco
  • peachy13 said:
    PPs have great advice. I bring my own lunch in to work to avoid spending $10 or so on lunch at a shop nearby. FI and I also try to cook at home Sun-Thurs and this saves us a ton. Groceries are more expensive, but making a list and sticking to it helps a lot.

    A lot of it is self control, but we all buy stuff for ourselves from time to time. One thing I've sort of being doing for the last few years is choosing quality over quantity, as well as buying something specific versus buying something just to spend money. I used to buy a lot of random crap for myself whenever I had a little extra money kicking around. Slightly more mature me knows a little better, and when I can, I try to save up for better things for myself. So maybe 5 years ago I would spend $100 at Target and walk out with a bathing suit, sundress, sandals, and a headband. I probably strolled past these items, thought they were cute at the time, and said, hey why not. Do I still wear any of that crap 5 years later? Probably not. Now, I might take that $100 and buy this amazing jacket that I've been wanting... not just an impulse buy, but something that I really want. And the price is a lot for just one item but the jacket is a classic style made of good material and I know I'll have it for years. It's not necessarily saving you money at the time, but I think making better decisions with your fun money does make a difference in the long run.
    This is a great point.   The Birkenstock sandals I'm wearing were expensive but I'm on year 2 and they look nearly new.   The Target version might be a fraction of the price but they would be in pieces by now.

    I do the opposite with kids clothing if I can help it.  They will stain and destroy it so it makes little sense to spend a lot on a pair of jeans for the 4yo.  A good winter coat two sizes up will be fine because she's not going to trash it but the jeans will have a hole in them in 6 mo.

    Also, if you have kids and are a SAHM, you can save money by cloth diapering.   If you aren't into that then see if the cheap store brand works for you.
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