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.
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
Simple Ways to Save Money -www.MoneySmart.gov.au
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.
Published 22nd February 2013