"The most elementary exercise for any aspiring tightwad is to recored spending habits for a period of three months. Write down everything from the mortgage to the candy bar. There will be two types of expenditures: essential and optional...and only you can say where the line is between the two." Amy D.
This is a very eye opening exercise for some people. Liz Pearl, in her book Money, A Memoir, talks about the change in the "middle class." Specifically, she says that the middle class has been so elevated that we hardly recognize it anymore. With the rise of easy credit and two income families, what was once thought of as luxury has become "essential." That really is so true. 500 thread count sheets, coffee ground fresh every morning, designer clothes...all these things have become so common place that we view them as "essential." (Think about Haiti and you'll see what "essential" really looks like.) So contemplate that as you make your list.
In the meantime here are 12 ways to save a hundred bucks this year. Apply that extra hundred to your $100,000.00, 6% mortgage each month and you could easily knock 9 years off a 30 year loan and save almost $40,000.00! Little things do make a difference. This list was originally Amy's. I have changed it and added to it:
1.Puchase 10 articles of clothing at thrift stores or yard sales instead of department stores.
2. Hang 4 loads of laundry a week instead of using your dryer.
3. Make one or two pizzas (or other meal) a month from scratch instead of ordering out.
4. Reduce your soda or latte consumtion by 4 a week.
5. Bake 2 loaves of bread a week...or buy them from the bakery thrift store.
6. Save $50.00 on two kid/spouse birthdays this year by making a homemade cake/decorations and opting for less expensive gifts.
7. Pack your/your kids lunches at least 4 times a week.
8. 4-6 times this year, instead of going to a new release movie, rent one from the library or Redbox.
9.Reduce your whole milk consumption by 2 gallons a week...(see my archives for milk alternatives.)
10. Reduce your smoking by 3 cigarettes a day...or quit altogether.
11. Drop your home phone if you already have a cell, or go to a cheaper cell plan.
12. Cancel cable and get a "box."(we've never had cable, with the converter box, we actually get 7 stations now!)