There are many products and services we pay for that we don’t need for survival. Prudent consumers interested in managing their money well, often make a personal commitment to examine how money is spent to cut out unnecessary expenses. While spending an extra $5 here and there often does not register mentally at the time, these $5 and $50 extras add up to more than most people realise. Keeping a spending journal is one way to fully understand how you spend your money.

1. Some Unnecessary Household Expenses

In the name of convenience and to keep up with the latest technology craze, many consumers are paying two and three times for the same service. Home phone lines are not necessities for most people who now carry a mobile phone. The counter argument to that statement is that mobile phones are not needed if you have a land line. The bottom line is that most consumers have multiple ways to make a phone call, when they only need one way.

The fact of the matter is that any consumer who needs to cut expenses can easily cut back on phone services, opting to either use a land line or a mobile phone. Many plans can also be cut back to basic usage. Does a person really need to be able to access the Internet with a mobile if they have a home computer? Given that many people use a computer at work and also have a private laptop, why does that person need to pay even more so they have access to the Internet every minute?

Entertainment services like satellite TV can be another expensive luxury that people confuse for a necessity. While it is easy for many families to justify $60-$100 per month to access hundreds of TV channels that provide hundreds of hours of cheap entertainment per year, there is no one that can prove that watching TV is a necessity. For people who need to cut back, TV is one place to cut back, or completely eliminate to save money. Many educators might suggest that going to the library to pick up some books to read is a much better way to spend some free time.

2. Gym Memberships 

One luxury expense that can be easily cut is a gym membership. While exercise is certainly a necessity for good health, you do not need a gym to get your exercise. Multiple reference sources provide easy exercises that can be done from the comfort of home. Walking and jogging are free. Floor exercises are also free. When you consider how the military gets new recruits into shape, it is obvious that a gym with expensive equipment is not necessary. Push-ups, sit-ups, hiking and running are some basic ways to get in shape and it won’t cost a cent to do it!

3. Garden Services

Anyone who is trying to save money needs to start by cutting their own grass and doing their own gardening work. Yes, it is annoying that your grass needs cut often so that your house doesn’t look like a corner of some remote African savanna. However, not only does maintaining your garden save you money, it also gets you outside. Furthermore, this kind of work has a certain therapeutic element that can help lower your stress levels.

4. Cleaners

There is no legitimate reason to pay for housekeeping unless you are physically incapable of doing these chores yourself, or you have plenty of extra money to spend in this way. Survival does not demand a perfectly tidy house. And while it can be a tedious job to tidy up after your kids, if you can establish a cleaning routine, and even involve your children in the job, it can give you a sense of achievement that you’ve actually done something instead of watch someone else do something you’re perfectly capable of doing. Getting your children involved also reduces the stress and works out well in the long term as they learn to take care of their possessions.

5. Dry Cleaning

Buying clothes that do not require dry cleaning saves a lot of money annually. Not only will this save you money, it is also better for your health. Dry cleaning chemicals are very harsh and can cause skin irritations, introducing toxins into your home environment.

Other Ways to Cut Back

10 Money Saving Websites for Aussies – http://www.creditcardcompare.com.au/blog/10-money-saving-websites-for-aussies.php

50 Ways to Save Cash – http://www.news.com.au/money/investing/painless-ways-to-save-cash/story-e6frfmdr-1111114828174

Simple Ways to Save Money -www.MoneySmart.gov.au

Conclusion

In contemporary times, it is easy to confuse luxuries for necessities. Taking some time to reassess expenses and priorities is a valuable exercise for anyone interested in improving financial health and changing their life. An important grounding fact to remember is that once you have food, shelter and basic clothing, you have the necessities covered.

About The Author

Andy Boyd is the co-founder of CreditCardCompare.com.au, a credit card comparison website where he reviews credit card offers and blogs about getting out of debt and managing, saving, and investing money. When he isn’t working, he leads a very busy family life, enjoys travelling and good food. For more of his writing or to get in touch, visit http://www.creditcardcompare.com.au/ or you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter

  1. BellaB

    June 28, 2014 at 9:30 pm,

    MoM Rewards: BellaB has a diamond MoM rewards level BellaB said:

    Sounds like I’m doing pretty well then – I have both a mobile and a landline, but my kids don’t have mobiles. I don’t pay for any of the other things listed!

  2. shareem

    May 31, 2014 at 9:50 pm,

    MoM Rewards: shareem has a diamond MoM rewards level shareem said:

    I agree. We could cut our home phone. Having it discounts our internet costs though and it works out about even (add one cost, discount another). We don’t have the others. In my opinion things like Foxtel are increasingly being treated as necessities but are truly not needed.

  3. eestigirl

    May 31, 2014 at 2:53 pm,

    MoM Rewards: eestigirl has a diamond MoM rewards level eestigirl said:

    Yes you are right! We do most of those things. Now, if only hubby would decide he can live without Foxtell!

  4. mom57522

    May 30, 2014 at 8:59 pm,

    MoM Rewards: mom57522 has a diamond MoM rewards level mom57522 said:

    Already doing all these things!

  5. no1ladydj

    May 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm,

    MoM Rewards: no1ladydj has a diamond MoM rewards level no1ladydj said:

    We’re guilty of having a cleaner, a lawn-mower man, Foxtel and a home phone line. But we budget for them, and we give up other things so that we can afford them. Different courses for different horses. We don’t have smart-phones or internet access via our mobiles, we don’t dry-clean clothes, and we rarely ever eat take-away.

  6. mom57522

    May 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm,

    MoM Rewards: mom57522 has a diamond MoM rewards level mom57522 said:

    Good point about the phones. We only use our mobiles.

  7. kazh

    May 13, 2014 at 10:39 am,

    MoM Rewards: kazh has a diamond MoM rewards level kazh said:

    Don’t have a cleaner, don’t pay for dry cleaning, am NOT giving up my gym membership. Would rather give up just about anything

  8. May 11, 2014 at 9:05 pm,

    MoM Rewards: rachaelchara has a diamond MoM rewards level rachaelchara said:

    Good ideas but I am doing all these things already…ok I have got the gym membership.

  9. Happymum-2

    May 10, 2014 at 7:51 pm,

    MoM Rewards: Happymum-2 has a diamond MoM rewards level Happymum-2 said:

    some great hints at cutting expenses

  10. May 09, 2014 at 3:08 pm,

    MoM Rewards: scottie has a diamond MoM rewards level scottie said:

    as you get older and find it hard to do these things yourself (like gardening) they are not luxury services any more

  11. yyon4699

    May 08, 2014 at 2:14 pm,

    MoM Rewards: yyon4699 has a diamond MoM rewards level yyon4699 said:

    i don’t have any of those… but still struggling… sob sob

  12. mumzee

    April 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm,

    MoM Rewards: mumzee has a diamond MoM rewards level mumzee said:

    The gym is definitely one that can go from my list…easier and cheaper to have a home gym if you have the room.

  13. crumbles

    April 17, 2014 at 8:48 pm,

    MoM Rewards: crumbles has a diamond MoM rewards level crumbles said:

    great. thanks for sharing this

  14. shazzbot

    April 01, 2014 at 8:56 am,

    MoM Rewards: shazzbot has a diamond MoM rewards level shazzbot said:

    Great read, thanks for sharing this.

  15. sah13

    March 29, 2014 at 12:45 pm,

    MoM Rewards: sah13 has a diamond MoM rewards level sah13 said:

    Thanks for the read. Maybe one day I could add these in to my household!

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