It wasn’t that long ago that we were living so close to the edge while I was on my (yearlong) maternity leave, that I was forced to have a good, serious, look at our spending. I knew there had to be areas to save but I didn’t know where to start. To save you some time I will give you five areas your family can likely start cutting today.
One thing I was still doing was maintaining my short hair style, with a cut every six to eight weeks. I had long ago stopped coloring to save funds, now the time had come to evaluate my haircuts. I was spending almost $50 every two months to cut my hair. It wasn’t a terribly complicated cut, the truth was that I was friends with my stylist and enjoyed seeing her every few weeks. I sucked up her salon prices and continued.
It didn’t take me long to realize this was an expense we could, at the very least substantially cut down. I knew I would still want my hair cut just not for $50. I asked around to a few friends and family and found a lady who worked at a salon in the day but on weekends and evenings cut hair out of her house, for cheap. She’d cut my hair for $15. Done.
(Here are more ways to save on beauty.)
I’ve never been a big spender on clothing but I still find ways to save. Unless it’s underwear or a staple like my husband’s undershirts or my tank tops, I almost always looking for second hand first. Between thrift stores and online classifieds I generally have quite a bit of luck (especially with woman and kids).
This can be one of the hardest ones, but if done right it can be so beneficial.
Before we started budgeting, we really had no idea how much we were spending on food but I knew it was a lot. While I was on maternity leave we were forced to budget very well since money was tight and though we’ve loosened things up a bit in the years since, it was a great learning opportunity for us.
If you have more than one vehicle, consider selling one. If possible, look into public transit or car share programs. Be conscious about how much gas you’re using. If you can carpool with someone maybe consider sharing costs. If you pay for parking and there are options around, look into parking options. I could park at work for $225/month but I can think of quite a few other things I’d rather spend that kind of money on, so I park at a free park and ride and take the bus the rest of the way in. The bus costs me $2 each way and saves on my gas and wear and tear. In the end, I’m only losing about 15 minutes by taking bus (vs driving the whole way).
Where, and how much, each family can cut will vary but these seem to be a few obvious ones most people can relate to and are a good starting point.
What areas has your family cut down or totally out to save money?
Catherine is a first time momma to a rambunctious toddler. When she isn’t soaking up all that motherhood has to offer, you can find her blogging over at Plunged in Debt where she chronicles her and her husbands journey out of debt. You can also follow her on Twitter.
Janice Tyler says
While searching about reducing family expenses, I found your blog post. Since it wasn’t long and simple written, I read all and started to think about your shared tips. Sometimes reducing expenses seem really easy, but in reality it isn’t as easy as it may sounds. I agree that your tips are simple and well thought, but I think that sometimes unexpected things happen and increase expenses. And I should say that to have a haircut is quite expensive everywhere! It’s hard to find a good hair stylist who can do your hair cheaper than at hair salon. But I don’t say that it’s impossible. Actually, I heard that there are some hair stylists’ schools where students cut your hair almost for free, and if you don’t like, you don’t have to pay and they give some hair procedures for free. I think it is also a great way to reduce expenses.