Reducing Little Expenses = Big Savings

posted by Andrea | 02/15/2011

 

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It’s no secret that I’m a pretty frugal gal. I’m always looking for ways to save more, spend less, and find great bargains. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve paid full price for anything…ever!

Thankfully, Dave puts up with my thrifty nature {and is a good “saver” himself} which has allowed us to save a considerable amount of money over the past 5 years.

It hasn’t always been easy or fun; but for the most part, we enjoy saving our money and then using it to pay off our student loans, buy our dream house, build our retirement accounts, and give back to our church and Dave’s school — all of which are MUCH more important to us than some of the items listed below!

So what are we doing to decrease our expenses and increase our saving?

1. Eliminate Big Expenses

One of the ways we have managed to build our savings account is by eliminating big expenses.

  • We don’t go on fancy vacations
  • We don’t buy the latest and greatest electronics
  • We don’t own expensive cars, boats, or other vehicles
  • We didn’t buy any clothes for an entire year {which was surprisingly less difficult that I thought it would be!}
  • We don’t buy anything {except our house} unless we can pay cash for it

These “sacrifices” help us save thousands of dollars each year…which is great!

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However, there are so many other, less significant ways we save on a daily and weekly basis. And these little expenses surprisingly add a nice chunk of change to our savings account as well! {I know because I keep track!}

2. Reduce Little Expenses

Although it may not seem like saving $5 here and $10 there will add up to any amount of savings…I can assure you it does!

For Example: I’ve been cutting Dave’s hair every other week for the last 5 years — yup, we know how to have a good time! And the other day, as I was clipping away, I asked him how much he used to pay for a hair cut before we got married.

He thought it was about $10 – which actually sounded really cheap to me.

However, the more I thought about it, I realized that just a simple hair cut every other week would add up to $260 per year. So over the past 5 year, we have saved roughly $1,300. And if he continued to get his hair cut every other week for the next 50 year, that little expense would add up to $13,000.

Pretty amazing!

And if you’re looking for SIMPLE ways to reduce your expenses and build your savings account, here are a few ideas to get you started…but the possibilities are virtually endless!

1. Expensive coffee or other fancy drinks.

  • Average cost per day $3.50
  • Savings per year if you skipped two drinks each week = $1,274

2. High speed cable and internet

  • Average cost per month = $100  {I actually did some research on this one!}
  • Savings per year if you cut back to “basic” cable and internet = $50 – $60 per month or $600 – $720 per year

3. Going out to eat once a week {most Americans go more than once a week}

  • Average cost per week = $50
  • Savings per year if you only went once per month = $1,800

4. Magazines, Books, CD’s, and Movies

  • The average magazine subscription is around $10, movie tickets are around $8, books can be at least $20, and so on. However you can find all of these items at your local library for FREE. You can also subscribe to electronic versions of magazines for a fraction of the price, use Netfilx to rent cheap movies, and exchange books with friends and neighbors.
  • Look for ways to find these items for free, or at a discounted price, and watch your savings grow!

5. Hair cuts, colors, etc:

  • It’s estimated that women will spend about $50,000 on their hair over the course of their lifetime! {source}
  • Just think how much you could save if you simply skipped one color treatment, or went a bit longer between cuts!

These are just a few of the ideas we use to help reduce our expenses — I won’t bore you with the rest!

Please remember, I’m NOT a financial advisor – just a frugal girl with a blog — but I’m confidant we can ALL do a better job of cutting a few small expenses out of our daily budget to make a little more room for medical expenses, student loans, paying off debt, saving for a big purchase, or simply for a rainy day.

A few small changes WILL add up to big results!

Oh, and if you’re looking for a way to start tracking your savings and spendings, you can print a free spreadsheet here.

What are some ways you reduce your expenses? What do you use that money for?

{top image credit}

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8 comments

  1. Tweets that mention Reducing Little Expenses = Big Savings « Simple Organized Living -- Topsy.com

    02/15/2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jolon Hull and Andrea Dekker, TukaBear. TukaBear said: Great post! I actually unplug appliances when not in use! @LivingOrganized RT New Post: Reducing Little Expenses…http://goo.gl/fb/C23uw [...]

  2. Karen @ Abundance on a Dime

    02/15/2011

    Great post, Andrea. I think a lot of people don’t realize how the little things add up. Groceries is another area where small changes can make a big difference – $10 less a week is $520 a year, and there are so many ways you could easily save $10 a week at the grocery store!

    One of the big ways we save is through our commitment to being a one-car family. We actually lived without a car at all for 3 yrs when my kids were really young; with my dh’s current job a car is necessary, however we’ve made a lot of choices that allow us to live with one car (including the great walkable neighbourhood we live in, with grocery store, bank, drug store, library etc all within a 10 min walk). Our “second car” is a bike – and the mountain bike we use in the winter was trash-picked and rebuilt by my dh :)

    Switching to reusable products for cleaning and personal care (i.e rags for cleaning and reusable menstrual products) is another small change that adds up over time. I’m sure I could keep going but I’ll stop there :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow Karen, one car is impressive…and you even got buy without a car!

    We also use mostly reusable products for cleaning — paper towels and cleaning products can be really expensive!

    Thanks for sharing your tips.

    [Reply]

  3. Kalyn

    02/15/2011

    I tried to convince my husband to let me cut his hair to save money, but it was a no-go. :) So I send him to get his haircut at a salon, but make sure its always on a Tuesday ($9 cuts for men!)

    Once I started combining my coupons with local CVS and Walgreens sales, I found that I could usually get shampoo, toothpaste, etc. for really cheap and sometimes free! You just can’t be picky about the brands. That little bit has saved me more than I thought it would!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Kalyn, we get all our toiletries for free too — isn’t it great! You are right that you can’t be picky about brands though.

    [Reply]

  4. Bonnie

    02/15/2011

    Andrea..love reading your and all the other readers’ thrifty hints. I can be pretty thrifty as well and love consignment shopping for clothes. My sisters an my mom love to make a whole day of shopping at our favorite haunts. We have all gotten some really cheap but classy clothes. This really saves us a lot of money. The girls I work with are always asking me”Is this a new top or one of your bargains?” I love it!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the tips Bonnie!
    I honestly haven’t gotten into shopping at thrift stores or consignment stores {or really any clothing stores lately!}. Now that Spring is just around the corner, I need to get back in the swing of things and start finding more great deals. Thanks for the inspiration :)

    [Reply]

  5. Bekah

    02/20/2011

    Good tips! I recently started to cut back on my spending during the week (coffee, breakfast and/or lunch) – I figured that I spent probably close to $50 a week on that stuff. Over the last three weeks, I have cut WAY back – I’m making my coffee at home, grabbing easy breakfasts and making my lunch the night before. Once I got started it was easy! I figure over the last three weeks, I have saved us about $120 – which makes me halfway to my goal of buying a plane ticket to visit my good friend on the east coast! Now that its becoming a habit, think of all the money I can continue to save without a specific place to spend it!

    [Reply]