When we find ourselves mired in debt, we try to do all that we can to stave off those bankruptcy lawyers and rectify the situation. We take on a second job, look to consolidate, and cut all unnecessary expenses. It goes without saying that the new car, new smartphone, and Caribbean vacation are probably not the best purchases for someone trying to emerge from debt.
Few people, however, think to cut those expenses that ultimately matter most: the core expenses. These involve rent, utilities, food, and transportation costs. While all of these expenses are necessary, they also, usually, have some fat that can be cut. Here are some ideas:
This one is obvious, but downsizing to a cheaper apartment or house can save you thousands of dollars each year. Such a move can be difficult if you have a family in tow, to be sure, but it’s certainly worth to check the market and see if there’s anything out there that may work better than your current situation. For those of you with a family, you might want to look into rent-reduced apartment complexes. If you’re on your own, it’s not too difficult to scour Craigslist for a better deal.
There are other ways to save on utilities costs besides shivering in the winter and sweating in the summer. You can, for example, buy energy-efficient light bulbs or windows with better insulation. While this certainly creates up-front costs, you should be able to more than make up the difference over the long run. Furthermore, make sure to unplug and turn off appliances when they are not being used.
There are three main ways to save money on food. First, you want to shop at discount grocery stores such as Walmart or Aldi. Second, you’re best off focusing on those food products that provide the best nutritional bang for your buck – products like beans, rice, pasta, and tuna. Third, you can amass further savings by planning ahead: instead of simply going to the store and buying what you think you need, plan out your meals for the next couple weeks and then only purchase those products that are necessary. You’d be surprised how much your grocery bill can be reduced as a result.
Getting around in a car is one of the most expensive ways of transporting oneself. Of course, most Americans have no other viable alternative, but those that do might want to consider the cheaper options. Whether it means taking a train, biking, or taking a bus, you can save drastically on gas costs by switching to these other options. Not to mention, you might be able to eventually get rid of your car – and all the substantive costs that go with it – after taking the bus for a while.
These tips can hopefully get you started with cutting those core expenses. Although the cuts may not initially seem substantial, core expenses – by definition – are those that are incurred repeatedly and add up quickly over time. Small cuts, therefore, can reap considerable benefits. If you’re in debt you may want to give it a try.