How to Cut Spending

Submitted by Maureen Crimmins on Friday, January 9, 2015 - 3:00pm
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Cutting your spending doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a lot. There are savings out there if you just pay attention.

I watch a reality show called “Extreme Couponing,” in which shoppers collect coupons to drastically reduce their grocery bills. Most of the couponers have shelves full of food and groceries in the garage or pantry with savings amounting to thousands of dollars.

What it takes to organize, cut out coupons and plan for a shopping visit to a specific food store is close to a full-time job or in the least a full-time hobby. Some do it for the thrill of getting a bargain, and some do it out of necessity. You don’t have to go that extreme like the show does, but it brings to light that there are opportunities to save money from daily life expenditures if you just look for them.

Before you begin cutting coupons, the first thing you should ask yourself is how much money you spend monthly. This is one of the questions I ask when I meet with a client for the first time.

What is available at the end of the month is obvious, but most people are unaware of where their money went. They also underestimate the actual amount they spend on certain categories. According to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, to feed a family of four for a month costs between $801 and $1,217. And this does not include eating out.

Knowing your spending habits is the first step. And with this information, you can take a look at where you may be able to save more for your future.

Here are some tips on cutting your spending:

  • Do you go out to restaurants frequently? Eating out always costs more than eating at home. Setting up a limit for the number of times per week you eat out can seriously reduce your dining expenses.
  • Do you need the premium package for your cable? Do you watch all of those channels? You can save big by switching to a basic package, which often still include the popular channels. Most cable carriers even offer to lower your cost if you call them asking about changing carriers.
  • How much do you pay for your insurance? Maybe it’s time to get a new quote from a different insurer. Shop around to find better rates. Go over your policies to avoid overlapping coverage.
  • Do you have subscriptions and memberships you no longer use? Some companies automatically renew your subscription and charge you for it. Carefully review your credit card charges and call to cancel those services that you no longer use.

Saving more is always good. Simply walk through your expenses and look for alternatives to cut spending. Strengthen your financial future today by educating yourself on how you spend.

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Maureen Crimmins is the co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Her websites are www.CrimminsWM.com and www.RootsofWealth.com.

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