“Seek first the kingdom, everything will be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33
After studying the flow of my finances using a spreadsheet, I now have a better picture of how much coming in and how much going out. Benjamin Franklin shows that we can either live by diminishing our wants or augmenting our means. But it would be faster way to recovery by doing both at the same time. But first, I will find ways to minimize the wants.
Minimizing the expenses
The first thing to consider when cutting down expenses is to distinguish if the expense falls into the category of WANTS or NEEDS. Shelter, food, clothes, water and electricity, and fares are in the NEEDS list. Still, these require more careful evaluation that they are not incurring additional expenses due to extra features and extravagances. All others fall into WANTS including the morning coffee from McDonalds, additional TV channels, video games, jewelry and sports equipment.
Food & Clothings
Food is necessary, but you have to make sure that you are not eating dinner in a restaurant every night. You can save money on foods if you do your shopping and cooking by yourself. We are all too busy for cooking, but you can do it during the weekend. Keep the cooked foods in lunch boxes, ready to heat up for a meal.
Clothes are needs, but you have to make sure you are not buying expensive clothes just to look nice. Find ways to save by not buying too much. Learn to be a minimalist. If you are a sportive person doing jogging during the weekends, you don’t have buy too many shoes, many shirts, many jogging pants and other things that having too much.
Water and electricity are needs, but make sure you are not wasting much of these. Find ways to saving with these necessities like turning off the lights when you can open your window curtains, or taking a shower rather than having a bubble bath on the tub. Doing little things can help minimize your expenses on water and electricity.
Time changes, that’s for sure, same goes with lifestyle. There are items that were considered before as Wants but now can be considered Needs. Smart phones, tablets and laptop computers are good examples. People expect that they can reach you on your mobile, and these are great tools when properly used. With your smart phones, you can bring your library with you and read your books anywhere – while on the bus or train, while waiting for your appointment and other things. Also, once purchased, they can last for three to five years if you are careful enough. Even though they are very useful, check that you are not buying what you cannot afford.
Computer and Internet connection are very useful nowadays for kids to help them on their research and school works. It’s also our way to cope up with the advancements of the information media. But remember, expenses can be minimized by getting the only the basic service.
Don’t be tempted to buy when shops mark their item on sale for a limited time. That is a great marketing ploy to make you have a quick decision, a sense of urgency as if there will be no more of it after the time limit. An item may look good at a very low price, yet if you don’t need it or will not be using much of it, which will still be a waste of money. If you really need the item, check if you can find an alternative to have almost the same thing, but can be purchased on a lower amount. Be mindful with your purchases. You have to check if the item can be a tool or simply an extra gadget.
Maintaining a car is a big expense. If you think you can live without a car, get rid of it. You are paying gas, insurance, maintenance, and parking fees if you don’t have your own parking space. If you forgot or missed to pay your parking ticket, you will get parking penalties as well. If you are living in a busy city where parking spaces are limited, your car can be towed for illegal parking that will cost a lot of money. I know you are a very busy person, but try to avoid making and accepting phone calls while driving. Penalty for this offense is expensive, and if they require you to go for seminar, it’s another expense. Include the day(s) you have to be in the seminar, since you will be absent at your work, you will not get paid of your salary.
Again, bank penalties are expensive. You can minimize these unnecessary expense if you make sure that you have enough funds to cover the automatic payments you have. If you can have your bank accounts online, it would be easier if you check it at least once a week to monitor the funds available.
These are just some ways to reduce expenses. If you have something more in mind, share by commenting on this article.
Here’s to your success!