Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Quick Guide to Save Money

Cutting costs makes my wife uncomfortable. However, I believe it is key to living simply. Every situation is different.

1. Make a budget.
2. Compare to your income

Comparison Items:

1. Housing is usually the most expensive budget item. Simply, is your living in an extremely expensive place? Do you own or rent (renting is much more appropriate if you living lease by lease and want the option to move)? Do you have more house and property than needed? How much could you save by downsizing? This is often the hardest thing to adjust. Currently, I live in a multi-family setting for a very manageable amount of rent.
$600/month lower rent
$50/month utilities (split)
-$60/month extra gas

2. Cars are another large budget item. Do you pay monthly payments on a car? What if I told you that most people don't need a newer vehicle? My wife's car is 18 years old, with 231k miles on it, running strong. I paid $3000 for it and have done minimum repairs on the about 40k miles put on it. No monthly payments, low insurance cost and cheap parts. The value of the car isn't going to fall with a small new scratch. This is the easiest thing to quickly save on. Do be careful when buying a used car though as many people who do no maintenance try to overprice their car. Use Stick with an inexpensive, reliable car. My wife had a Saturn when we met and spent about $100/month on it for some random repair. Sometimes reliable vehicles are not in good condition. Have someone you trust help you choose a vehicle. The people who are braver than me ditch 1-2 cars and go bikes. That is the ultimate way to save, but you need to have transportation worked out.
$500/month no vehicle payments
$100/month lower insurance from older vehicle
$50/month high mileage vehicles (mine gets 35 average per gallon. Not bad for a $2.5k car)

3. Health insurance is a sore spot due to new regulations. This I don't know as much about since you have to comply with new rules and coverage not always accepted. Remember that the purpose of insurance is risk management. A Dr. visit isn't a risk. Large overpriced medical bills are a risk. Somehow, I ended up with a job including benefits. This is harder to calculate how much we save, but comparing it to when we were on another plan it is about $100/mo
$100/month lower monthly (lower deductible)

4. Internet and cell services can also make quick savings. My wife used to be with Verizon because we lived in a remote location. Now she is with Republic Wireless (reseller of Sprint, roams on Verizon). For unlimited texts and calling we pay $10 a month. We had to buy the phone for about $200 but have no contract. Meaning, we can have the phone last as long as we want and not be forced to pay for it via subsidized phone price in monthly cost. In 2 years, she will have spent $440 on phone service on Republic Wireless, compared to $1060 on Verizon. In 3 years if the phone lasts, she will have spent $560, compared to $1540 on Verizon. She also now can use her phone on WiFi for internet, with a much better phone. Internet service is more tricky due to different providers. Research what is local to find savings (without bundling! Stay away from that!)

5. Cable. Trade your cable in for Netflix (or Hulu). Go from overpriced to $8/month and have no commercials.

6. Cut your local landline. You can just use cell phones, or set up a new telephone number via Google voice and use that. Last I checked, that could be used to have off-time to prevent sales calls at inconvenient hours.

7. Taxes. The tax code supports tax avoidance (legally finding ways to avoid paying taxes). Tax evasion is illegally lying or not paying what the tax code determines you should pay. Collecting your donations, mortgage interest, student interest, Hope/American Opportunity Credit and dozens more can help you have a refund. If you don't care about knowing taxes, perhaps ask your accountant what will give you the best return on your time.

8. Find new ways to save. Make it like a contest or something you do to enjoy yourself. Do you really both need 2 Macbooks? What if you had 1 Macbook and 1 tablet/Chromebook? That could save $800 on a one time purchase.

9. Get buy-in from yourself and family, otherwise extra purchases will replace savings. Perhaps you are saving for a down, or trying to get debt free. The important thing is to get the entire team on board. If you are married to a spender, provide limited amounts of credit. Sure, this person may max out the credit card, but if they have a credit limit of $200 or less per month, that is manageable.

10. My wife cooks naan bread from bulk ingredients instead of buying bread. We also grow some vegetables. A quick estimate says we save a few bucks per month, but it is much more healthy so that is a quality of life increase for less money.

If you add up all of the saving minimums, it comes to about 16.7k a year. That is quite a bit of savings for minimum sacrifices. Be sure to somewhat regularly compare to your budget and make sure you are spending within it. Lean more to asking if you need it, rather than you want it. Dear reader, what have I missed? What are some things you do to save extra money and what do you save it for?

1 comment:

  1. And finding ways to save money is fun from the wife's point of view too. Most women dread the "b" word because they think they can't do anything. But if you use the internet resources you have at your fingertips and make it a game you will be able to do more in the long run since you will be healthier and have more money.