Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cutting Back

With the economy plummeting, news are all over that families need to spend less than what they bring in. Duh, right? Luke and I don't need the failing economy to tell us that; we have always been pretty savvy when it comes to living way below our means. Here are some ways we do it:

- Pets. Some people say that owning a pet is expensive. I say not so! We do all the grooming and washing in-house. We get coupons in the mail for free dog food (again, can't emphasize the awesomeness of FatWallet and Slickdeals). My parents baby-sit the little guy when we are away. Except for his medicine (flea and heartworm - can't scrimp on those two), we hardly spend any money on Pargo. In return, he gave us tons of happiness. We take him out for walks. That activity is not only free, but health benefiting too.

- Groceries. Just a few words about cutting your grocery bills. Clip coupons. Never pay full price. Research + compare. Plan ahead. Buy fresh produce. Avoid pre-packages items. Embrace tap water (but do buy a water filter pitcher). Above all else, even if you do splurge on your groceries, it's always cheaper to cook at home than going out to eat.

- Hobbies. Have an inexpensive hobby. Blogging provides me endless hours of fun. Photography is relatively cheap too - the initial investment may be steep, though. Cooking is pure enjoyment for me, especially budget cooking. Luke buys a video game every quarter. A video game doesn't usually take that long to finish, but Luke stretches out the fun by collecting all the coins, gold medals, etc. Yes, he could just rush through all the stages and beat the game, but he's maximizing his playing time. :)

- Transportation. I could never use public transportation as my sole source of getting around. However, I do drive a very economical car, and so does Luke. My car is a method of getting me from Point A to Point B. I don't need a fancy car. I don't want a fancy car. Avoid buying new expensive cars and you will save on insurance, car tax, and gas.

- Utilities. Good habits save money too! Turn off the light when you leave the room. Lower the heat and put on more clothes. Unplug the plugs when you go on vacations. Save the water you wash vegetables with for watering plants (ok, a little drastic here).

- Rent. I don’t have any good advice here, except Luke and I are always very mindful about the money we spend on rent. I understand if you have a mortgage, the number is less flexible. However, the rule of thumb is you should never spend more than 25% of your combined take-home income on housing. For us, we spend a bit more than 10%.

Living cheaply (or I prefer the word smartly) doesn’t have to compromise the lifestyle you desire. We are living proofs.

How do you save money?

1 comment:

  1. Join The Peace CorpsOctober 12, 2008 at 7:03 AM

    Hmm...Economy. WTF to say about that? Saw all this coming back in 05/06. Left the country for good, but got sucked back in. Nothing like walking head first into a shotgun. I think I need my own post to talk about this tidbit.

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