Top 10 ways to cut costs when you find yourself between a rock and a hard place
If you’re in a career transition with limited financial reserves or up to your neck in alligators from overspending, run toward, not away from, the problem. The longer you carry this problem, the heavier it will become. Choose to implement all of the action items below to immediately reduce your expenses. Better yet, make a game out of it to see how low you can cut your expenses…you may find that less is more.
Ditch your cell phone and find a long distance provider with a low per minute rate and no monthly fee.
Cancel newspapers, magazines and other periodicals. Everything you need is free in the library, accessible via the Internet or on television.
Turn down the thermostat, use energy-saving lamps in fixtures, turn off lights when you leave a room, ask local utility companies about budget billing, and check out the many other tips to save energy and money listed at the US Department of Energy website.
If you’re employed, ask if your employer offers a Section 125 Plan or Flexible Spending Program. If so, join the plan as soon as possible to pay for your health premium, health expenses, and dependent care expenses (if applicable) with pre-tax dollars.
Buy generic prescriptions when possible and get the best price by calling and shopping at local pharmacies, increase your health coverage deductible, and read and understand your health plan to be a smart health care consumer and save dollars.
6. Things in your house
Clean, organize and simplify your home environment. Host a garage sale and fill it with things you don’t use, don’t have space to display, or can’t easily access. You might also consider selling items on eBay. Another option is to donate your items to charity, as your gift may be deductible. Your stuff is someone else’s treasure.
If you’re working, eat your lunch, shop at discount groceries and buy in bulk, cut out junk food, avoid buying pre-packaged meals, and avoid dining out. Have you stopped to think that your daily latte can cost you $600 per year?
Cancel your gym membership. Try to walk, run, hike or ride a bike. It’s easier and more convenient to walk out your front door and start exercising, plus fresh air is invigorating.
9. Recreation and fun
Stay home with a good book or rent a video or DVD instead of going to the movies. Make your own popcorn, curl up in your favorite chair, and have a fun night in. As painful as it is, you might as well drop your cable TV.
Money problems are rarely about money, but stem from your lifestyle choices. For example, I recently spoke with a small business owner who told me that he was having financial problems and was looking for ideas to save his business. He then mentioned that he would be taking his family on vacation next month. He must have felt that it was necessary to justify his vacation plans because he proceeded to tell me that he was going to take the vacation despite his dire financial situation, as it was important to create a positive memory and a good time for the family. sons of him I wonder how much he will enjoy the holidays when his business is about to collapse.
If you’re in financial trouble or see it looming on the horizon, don’t try to justify spending more money, reduce all expenses today and when you’re debt free start saving and building at least a year’s worth of financial resources. Reserve. Can be done! Good luck.