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Saving Money

How to Cut Expenses

How to Cut Expenses in 3 Easy Steps

If you’re just starting out your journey to financial freedom, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed. You might feel like there is nothing to cut from your expenses and have no idea how you’ll ever get ahead.

I promise you, there is a way. You have to do the work, but there is a way to get ahead, stay ahead, and start building wealth.

First, start with beginning to change your mindset around money. Make your budget and track your expenses to see where in the world your money is going each month. You can subscribe to my newsletter to get a free template to help you do this.

Once you have done your budget and are tracking your expenses, then you need to follow these 3 steps to cut expenses from your budget.

First Step to Cut Expenses

Once you have budgeted your money and tracked your expenses, you need to determine where all of your money is going each month.

See what areas you can easily cut out to free up some money in your budget. Do you buy coffee out every single day? Try bringing your coffee instead. It seems small, but a common problem is when small purchases add up over the course of the month turning a small daily expense into a large monthly expense.

Once you go through and find easy areas to trim out quickly, continue on with your month as normal. You don’t want to cut expenses all out at once because you will be forcing this change rather than settling into it.

Remember, you want to create new habits to make a life long change, not cut expenses to bare minimum and see how long you can go. There is a time and a place for that, like when you you’re challenging yourself to a no spend month.

Second Step to Cut Expenses

Once you have cut expenses that are easy, start thinking about what your priorities are. What do you find value in?

The best part about budgeting is that you get to tell your money where you want it to go. Have it go to what you value the most.

You’ll start realizing that some purchases you don’t find much value in and you no longer want to spend the money. Cut those expenses that aren’t valuable to you or bring you joy.

By cutting these expenses, it will allow you to free up money in your budget to go where you want it to.

Third Step to Cut Expenses

This can be challenging and requires another change in mindset, which is why it’s the last step I include. This can potentially be the hardest part, especially if you’re just beginning.

This also could be the easiest part for someone, it all depends on where you are in your mindset and how willing you are to change your lifestyle. .

Look at the expenses that you have to make each month and think about creative ways to make these areas more affordable.

Personally, I don’t find much value in where I live. Give me a bed, bathroom, kitchen, and somewhere to store my clothes and I’m good to go.

This is why I decided to move back home in order to pay off my $200k in student loans. The amount of money I can put towards my debt, about 75% of my income, while still investing and saving, makes it worth it.

Another area would be groceries, we need to eat, we can’t cut groceries from our budget unfortunately. But, we can choose healthy, budget friendly foods instead to lower our expenses.

Ultimately, this all comes down to finding what you value and what you don’t value in your life. by following these steps to eliminate the low value expenses, you will find more money in your budget to put towards the things you value and are important to you. What has helped you to cut expenses?

 

 

Saving Money

Saving Money in College

I was pretty carefree with my money my freshman year of college. I didn’t think about my student loans, didn’t get a job, and just kept pulling money from my savings account. Not the smartest moves on my part, but you live and you learn, right? 6 years later, 2 degrees, and about $200k in student loans, I definitely wish I did a few things differently back then. Don’t make the same mistakes I did, think about your financial future before you even step on campus.

Saving-Money-In-College

Saving Money Before College

  1. Carefully fill out the FAFSA form. Make sure you correctly fill out the FAFSA form, if you have any questions, I strongly recommend getting advice through your high school or college. Filling out this form wrong can result in you getting much less financial aid.
  2. Apply to scholarships. Apply to every scholarship you can find, and then apply to more. There is SO much unused scholarship money out there, it’s crazy! Look for local scholarships where the pool of people will be much smaller, but also apply to the larger national ones as well.
  3. Check in with the scholarship committees. This is one I never thought to do until I was in graduate school and it paid off incredibly. I went into the scholarship office every two weeks to check in until I finally got an answer. That poor woman knew me by first and last name, but it paid off because she had a face to a name and knew I really needed the scholarship.
  4. Ask for more financial aid. As soon as you get your financial aid package, call the financial aid office. Typically your financial aid package will arrive sometime in the summer before you head to school, call them immediately when it arrives. I learned this trick after my freshman year and was able to get more financial aid for my sophomore year. The schools send out financial aid packages and then a lot of students don’t come to the school. This makes more money available and they give it out on the first come basis.

Saving Money in College

  1. Price compare for textbooks. Look everywhere for your textbooks before immediately buying them at the bookstore. Yes, the bookstore is convenient and you will know that it’s the correct book, but it’s also usually a lot more money! I usually found the best deals on Amazon for buying and selling my textbooks all throughout undergrad and grad school.
  2. Sign up for student deals and discounts. There are so many deals and discounts out there only for college students, sign up for them! My all time favorite one was definitely Amazon Prime Student, which also made buying and selling my textbooks so much easier. I could easily procrastinate buying my textbooks and still get them in two days, FREE 🙂
  3. Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work. I just had to reference the Rhianna lyrics here, get out there and WORK! There were so many job opportunities presented to me, especially if you have work study as part of your financial aid package. Most universities will even pay you to be a note taker for the classes you are already taking notes for. You’re basically being paid to be a good student! It really is a win win for you.

These were some of the things I learned throughout my college experience and learning how to manage my money. It’s hard managing your money in college and trying to plan for your financial future with potentially so much debt. I wish I had known these things when I was a senior in high school so I could plan better for my future after college and have saved a lot more. Like I said, you live and you learn, right? What tips and tricks did you learn about saving money throughout your college journey?

Saving Money

My Top 5 Ways to Save Money

My Top 5 Ways to Save Money

I know when I first realized how much student loan debt I actually had, I got angry. Afterwards, I viewed it as a challenge and just wanted to tackle it head on, paying it down as fast as possible. I spent every spare moment I had in grad school searching ways to pay down debt quickly, save more, make more money, anything to get this debt paid off faster. I made quick easy changes that didn’t change my lifestyle, but made me save a lot more money. By making these changes I was able to pay down a lot more debt while I was in grad school making about $1,200 a month.

1. Plan your meals each week before you go to the store

Meal planning overwhelms me, I just don’t have the patient or the time right now to learn a good system for it. So, I don’t do it as well as I’d like to. But, I do have a plan for the week generally before I go to the grocery store and always have a list. This way I know exactly what I need to buy for the week and I throw away less food.

2. Pay attention to portion sizes

I buy mostly organic foods, which can be expensive. Especially when it comes to meat. I used to always eat an entire chicken breast for my dinner with a veggie. Not anymore. I eat about half of a chicken breast, depending on the size, with brown rice and a veggie. Rice is SO much cheaper than chicken, so this allows me to get two dinners, sometimes three if it’s bigger, using one chicken breast.

3. Baby wipes

I can’t even put into words how wonderful these little wipes are. I used to spend a ridiculous amount of money on make up removing wipes. Out of pure convenience, I just couldn’t give them up when I started trying to save more money. When I found out that baby wipes work in the same way, I had to try it. I have very sensitive skin and using the sensitive skin fragrance free baby wipes I had no problems.

4. Sign up for store rewards cards

The best one I have is Rite Aid, I currently get 20% off everything in store because my family shops there so much. On top of that, I switched to using all store brand products and those usually have an additional discount. For me, this works for my budget because it is so convenient. I wish I had the time to make my own products to use because it would be even cheaper, but being a first year teacher makes my time limited!

5. Waiting to buy

This one was very hard for me at first. I can be stubborn and want to get an item right away. I quickly realized that I was missing out sometimes on great sales or realizing that I didn’t actually want what I was buying afterwards. Once I started waiting to buy, I saved so much money because I was no longer impulse buying. If I still wanted the item after doing all my research and finding the best deal, I went ahead and got it. If I realized it wasn’t what I wanted, then I saved myself the wasted money on something I didn’t actually want.

These are just a few tips that I have been using to save money that I find to be very simple changes that made a difference in my budget each month. The easiest thing to do is look at your spending habits and find ways to make slight adjustments or ways to make what you’re currently doing cheaper. What are some ways that you save money?