7 Monthly Expenses We Don't Realize We Don't Need
When you put together a frugal budget, you are usually careful to make sure you're not spending money where you don't need to. But are you getting railroaded by expenses you are bearing which you don't even realize you can avoid? Here are a few you may want to consider paring down.
Okay, for some people television is not an option — it is a necessity. And if you are one of those people, that's fine. But even so, it might pay to take a close look at exactly what you are paying for and whether or not you can take up some of the slack.
I had free cable for the longest time. It was simply a matter of moving in, plugging in the tv to the cable outlet to see if it would work, and blamo — it worked! I didn't have the heart to advise the cable company that I was getting free cable, so I just kept it. Of course a few months later, the cable company realized the error of its ways and cut the cable. I thought as an exercise I'd see how long I could last without it. And you know what? With the internet I could get all the news stories I wanted and more, and although I initially missed some of my favourite shows, I didn't miss them enough to go back to paying upwards of $50/month for them.
If you are not willing to cut out the television entirely, consider cutting some of the extra services or beefed-up channel selections you have. Personally, I found my life was immensely enriched by listening to more music, reading, and socializing instead of sitting in front of the tube.
Credit Card Insurance
I recently wrote a post going into more detail about this expense, but to sum it up, more often than not it is a superfluous expense for which the benefits do not outweigh the costs.
As per the well-known Latte Factor , those cups of java can add up! Sure, it always tastes better when you get the local brew and don't have to clean the coffee pot at home yourself, but you're paying through the nose for this service. Not only that, but every time you take away a coffee, you're hurting the environment by disposing of yet another (albeit recycled) paper cup.
I just paid over $2 for a 710ml bottle of water. It's water! Shouldn't it be free? Bottled water comes from many sources and is sometimes just filtered tap water anyway, and the plastic is of such poor quality that after 6 months of shelf life the plastic actually starts to break down and leach toxins into your water! Not to mention the amount of waste used bottles are producing.
With a little forethought and preparation, you can carry a sturdy glass bottle or thermos of tap water around with you and save the astronomical expense.
Ever since I was a child, I brown bagged yummy lunches that I looked forward to. No baloney sandwiches here — I brought left-overs! When I became an adult, I always cooked enough for dinner to yield a lunch the following day. No time was wasted in the morning getting it ready - it was already in a re-useable container in the fridge ready to go. Most workplaces have a microwave, and even if they don't, I don't mind cold stew if it will save me $10 on a mediocre lunch eaten out.
For the last year, I have had nothing but my cell phone as my "land line". This has worked out just fine, and I haven't missed the home phone one bit. Most cellular plans have great features and promotions that will suit your specific needs (be they long distance, lots of minutes, or a good range).
Another consideration as an alternative to the home phone is the increasing popularity of voice over IP, where you can use your internet connection to call other computers, land lines, and cell phones. Some of these services are free (or partially free) like Skype, and others you will pay for depending on your needs.
The more often you go the grocery store, the more likely you are to spend over your budget. When I went shopping religiously every Tuesday evening, I had a list I'd been working on throughout the week, and I stuck to it quite effectively. Then I moved to a place more conveniently located closer to the grocery store, and thought it would be neat to just buy the ingredients only a meal or two in advance.
It may have been fun to prepare meals inspired by what I saw as I cruised the aisles, but my grocery expenses also almost doubled as a result. Not only that, but I gained weight too! Sticking to a list can save a ton of money and grief.
These are just a few among the myriad of monthly expenses we don't realise we don’t need to be doling out our dollars for. What are some of yours?