Are you tired of living Pay-Check-To-Pay-Check? Tired of being stressed out over money? Do you have too much month for your money? If any or all of these questions cause you to stress out because you are in a bad financial situation, then it is time to make some changes in your life. About four years ago these questions and many other stressful thoughts were always in the forefront of my mind. My life was a constant struggle and my financial situation was at the center of most of my problems. At this point, I had hit rock bottom and was in more pain than I had ever experienced in my life.
“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” – Henry Cloud
One day I woke up and took the bull by the horns and started reducing my expenses in every way I could find. There was no amount that was too small. If I could cut it I did. I sold my one toy that made life great, which was my 2011 Harley Davidson, I got rid of cable TV, I stopped eating out, and reduced my housing situation to as low as I could.
Now four years later I can truly say LIFE IS GOOD. I have very little stress and I put money in savings each month. Yes, there is money left over each month.
I know how you feel, and if you are in as bad financial shape as I was a few years ago, then you are so overwhelmed you don’t even know where to start. I also find that everyone I work with that is in financial trouble has bad record keeping skills, or has never written down their income and expenses on paper or in a spread sheet.
Follow my Bread Crumbs to Financial Freedom.
First, go to http://whyliveindebt.com/wlid_bc/ and download the Excel spreadsheet, or printable PDF file and fill in the spreadsheet or print the PDF and handwrite your income and expenses into the WLID budget calculator.
Second, once you have the budget calculator filled in start finding all the places that you can cut your expenses. You will find that when you have all your expenses written down it is much easier to see where you can cut expenses.
Third, MAKE A PLAN AND WORK THE PLAN. What this means is make a list of all the expenses you can cut, and start making the phone calls or making the changes to reducing those expenses. Be sure to keep track of how much you cut each expense and add it up so you know how much you reduced your expenses each month. I know that sounds silly, but it is good to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Fourth, make sure you take the savings you created by reducing your expenses each month and send that money to your debts, so you can get out of debt as fast as you can.
Expense Reduction Ideas
Here is a list of 20 quick and easy expenses that you can reduce. Of course, this is not the be all end all list of expenses but just a starting point of places most people can quickly see the biggest savings.
- Cell Phones: You do not need the latest greatest cell phone, tablet, or new electronic gadget every time a new one comes out. I manage to keep my cell phones on average five years before I upgrade, and the old phone gets handed down to my children. With these phones going for $800 plus dollars, you are always going to be under contract to your service provider and not be able to move companies to take advantage of the lowest possible service if you keep trading up each year.
- Cell Phone Plans: There are more new cell phone providers on the market than ever before, so the prices are really starting to change often and falling fast. As of June of 2016, you should be able to get an unlimited plan for somewhere around $45 per month per phone.
- Install programmable thermostats: Most people are not awake or disciplined enough to remember to turn up or down our thermostat in the morning before they leave home. You can get very inexpensive DIY programmable thermostats at any of the big box stores. These devices can be very simple and inexpensive all the way up to the WIFI versions that can be programed from your smart phone. I would recommend the ones you program at the unit and forget it. If you program the unit to turn down or up the temperature around the time you leave in the morning and put it back to a comfortable level 30 min before you expect to be home each day this will save up to 15% on your bill each year.
- Home Temperature: Keep your home warmer in the summer, and colder in the winter than you normally keep you home. I usually keep my home around 79 in the summer and around 69 in the winter. Yes, my kids complain and I make them wear warmer clothes in the home in winter, but it saves a lot of money and teaches them great lessons for when they own their own home.
- Property Tax Evaluation: If your home value is worth less than the tax value, you can apply to have your county re-evaluate your home value and have them lower your taxes by lowering the estimated value of your home.
- Drive like grandma: By reducing your speed, and reducing your start up acceleration you can increase the fuel efficiency of your car.
- Clean your car: If you are a hoarder and keep tons of junk in your car that will reduce your gas millage. If you remove 100 pounds of junk from your car, the American Council of an Energy-Efficient Economy says you will increase your fuel efficiency by 2 percent.
- Tire Pressure: Tires lose pressure each month and driving with tires that are underinflated by 3 pounds reduces your fuel economy by 1 percent.
- Good car maintenance: by keeping your car running in tip-top shape you keep it running at peak performance and fuel efficiency. Make sure you keep up with oil changes and regularly scheduled maintenance.
- ATM Fees: Whenever possible, pull cash out of your banks ATM in larger amounts to reduce repeat visits to the ATM or an ATM that is not your banks. There is usually no charge to take money out of your bank’s ATMs, but if you go to a different banks or private ATM that ATM will charge you a fee and so will your bank. If the other ATM charges you $3, and your bank charges you $3, and you only take out $20. Tthat would be 30% of your money going to fees.
- Shopping List: Make a shopping list before you go shopping.
- Shopping: Eat before you go shopping.
- Organic Products: DO NOT buy organic products this is just a scam to make you pay more money.
- Stop Eating Out: This is my Achilles heel, I love to eat out. I work from home, so by the end of the day I need to get out of the house. I’m also not a great cook, and I love to eat. But this is one of those places you can make a big change in your financial life. So, start taking your lunch to work and stay home for dinner. You can always make a picnic dinner and take the food to the park or lake for a change in scenery.
- Stop smoking: According to the Fair Reporters web site in 2015 the average price per pack for cigarettes was $5.51. This all depends on what state you live in the range goes from $4 all the way up to $15 in NY. If you are one pack a day smoker then you are blowing $38.57 up in smoke. That is $167.59 per month and $2011.15 per year. This is a substantial savings if you can quit and it would have a secondary effect of making your health be better.
- Cancel TV Services: Cancel cable or Dish TV, and sign up for Netflix, or other streaming services. Most basic cable packages run between $75.00 and $125.00 per month, and if you have all the extras it could be way more than the basic costs. Most streaming companies usually cost between $5.00 and $10.00, which is much less then cable or Dish.
- Reduce Internet Speed: If you are only doing things like email, and surfing the web then you don’t need the fastest speeds your provider can deliver to you. Most people don’t use 10% of the speed they pay for.
- Subscriptions: Cancel any non-essential subscriptions such as newspaper, magazines, satellite radio, and any other subscriptions that you pay monthly.
- Gym Memberships: Cancel the gym membership and find ways to exercise for free. You would be surprised what you can do to replace your gym. Just search on Google and YouTube and be creative. Most people do not use their gym membership anyway, so it is a waste of money. They only keep it to make themselves feel like they are doing something to lose weight and get healthy.
- Movie Rentals: Stop renting DVDs and Games from the Red Boxes and stores, because most of us always end up paying the late fees.
I look forward to working with each and everyone one of you in the near future, and remember, each new day is another chance to change your life – you just have to find the right path.
- 12 Steps To Financial Freedom
- Bread Crumbs
- BreadCrumbs To Financial Freedom
- Build Wealth
- Building Wealth
- Debt Equals Pain
- Debt Free
- Eliminate Debt
- Financial Freedom
- Financial Independence
- Love Life
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- Zero Drama
- Zero Responsibility
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