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Wednesday, June 19, 2024   

11 Easy Ways to Cut Your Spending Without Feeling It
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
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Scott Bilker

It's clear from the DebtSmart Survey Results: Cutting Spending vs. More Income that most people believe that cutting spending is the faster way to reduce debt. Of course, this is certainly true to some extent. My position is that there are three main points to be addressed when reducing debt, specifically: (1) Getting organized financially; (2) Becoming more efficient with your current debt and spending; (3) Generating more income.

As for number (1), getting organized financially, means knowing how much you spend and where you spend it.  Try writing down all your expenses for the month. Everything from your mortgage payment to that soda you bought at the gas station.  This will help you see your spending habits, and will help you to implement the changes you need.  Furthermore, you may want to document your finances using personal finance software or an Excel spreadsheet. Keeping track of your spending can motivate you to save and use your money in smarter ways. 

Here are some suggestions to expand on number (2), specifically as it applies to spending.

If you have to make a large purchase; for example, computer, water heater, etc. ALWAYS check out prices online. Don't be tempted to get it at the local store without taking a look at competing prices. 

Always stay on the lookout to get future gifts at today's discounts. Half-price or clearance sales run year round. If you see a good sale on say, leather wallets, and there are people on your list who could use one, pick up a few as gifts. High quality gift, low cost. Store the items in a gift-bin, keep track of what's in there, and before you know it, you'll have all the holiday/birthday gifts you need. 

If you need a new part for your car, check out the availability of that part at the local junkyard. I have repaired many vehicles with "pre-owned" parts with great success! 

If you have a leaking hot water faucet, be sure to fix this immediately!  It's truly money going down the drain. Not because of the water that's being wasted, but because of the cost to heat that water.

Always balance your checking account. This simple, okay, maybe not so simple, exercise is worth your time to ensure that you don't accidentally bounce any checks. Bounced check fees can cost around $35, not to mention potential late fees, etc.

If you have young children, then you know how quickly they grow out of their clothes. We always pass our children's clothing to our friends whose kids are just a little younger. We also have friends that give us their kids' clothes. This works so well! 

Buy stuff at eBay.com! You can save so much money, it's incredible. I just purchased a cordless phone, with caller ID (hands-free phone), for only $35 with shipping included. This phone would cost $100 at the store! 

If you want to see a movie, do it during the day. Movies are so expensive! Even the matinee price is getting up there, but it's a big savings! It's also much less crowded. 

Always be sure to eat before going grocery shopping. I'm sure you know what I mean. 

When people think of a vacation, they think of a far away tropical island. This of course means air fare, cruise fare, hotel accommodations, etc. But have you explored all the sites in your vicinity? There maybe a lot to do and see all within a 2-4 hour's drive from your home. Stay a night at a Bed and Breakfast, cabin/cottage, or even a campground. Then drive to the next attraction. Why pay thousands when there may be something great to do just a few hours away? See my article, My family vacation for $32 per person, per day!

Maybe not every day, but at least a few times a week. It may take a little more time in the morning, but with lunches ranging from $5-10 a pop, you'll save a lot and probably eat healthier meals.



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