Do You Really Need It? 8 Expenses You Can Cut Out of Your Life

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Do You Really Need It? 8 Expenses You Can Cut Out of Your Life

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Old habits die hard.

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If you take a critical look at absolutely every penny you spend - a really detailed examination - you might realize that your money is going to a number of places that it doesn't need to go.


Some are monthly expenses you're so used to paying that you don't even notice them any more; others are regular expenses we incur that are viewed as necessities (or rather, necessary luxuries) - all of which there are reasonable alternatives for. Check it out!

Monthly Expenses You Don't Need:

Home Phone

More and more people are moving away from having a land line in their homes. With competitive cellular carriers and increasingly reliable (and cheap) VOIP plans, traditional land lines are becoming unnecessary. I've been without one for almost four years now - no problem.

Credit Card Insurance

It may seem cheap at a few pennies for every hundred dollars you owe on your credit card, but credit card insurance is not only exorbitantly expensive in relation to comparable forms of insurance, but it's also one of the least effective and most difficult insurances to successfully claim on.

Bank Account Fees

Take a look at your bank account. Do you pay a monthly fee? Could you avoid paying that fee if you maintained a minimum balance? What about withdrawal, debit, or other transaction charges? A friend of mine recently scrutinized all her bank account statements to discover she can save over $400/year in unnecessary fees, simply by paying more attention to the structure of her account and transactions.

Cable TV

For some people, television is a non-negotiable requirement, and if you're one of those people, far be it for me to tell you that you don't need it. All I ask is that you take a look at exactly what you watch on TV that gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction, and ask yourself if there's any other way to view the same show or obtain the same information (online, for example).

Years ago, I moved into a place that (accidentally) had free cable. When the cable company realized the error of its ways and revoked it, I decided to do an experiment and see if I could live without it. Although there was an adjustment period at first, I coped pretty well, and also managed to save some cool cash each month in so doing.

Other Expenses Worth Reconsidering:

Coffee Shop Coffee

As much as I love a really good cup 'o' jo, I refuse to feed my daily addiction at a coffee shop. Instead, I buy good quality coffee beans, grind them fresh daily, and use a nice French press to create the perfect cup. If I need one for the road, I take a travel mug with me. I figure I'm saving about $1,000/year on lattes, as well as the environmental cost of ordering all those coffees to go.

Bottled Water

In grocery shopping with a friend recently, I was shocked to see her load up the cart with multiple cases of bottled water. I see very little up-side to bottled water; it's largely unregulated, the plastic leaches unhealthy toxins into the water, the waste factor is horrific, and for all this you pay a formidable price. There are alternatives; please consider them.  

Lazy Lunches

After too many uninspiring sandwiches and granola bars, I lost the plot and spent a small fortune eating lunch out for a short spell. I tried to justify it by choosing inexpensive and healthy lunch options, but no matter which way I sliced it, I was consistently spending more money than I did on my packed lunches.

But I couldn't bear to prepare and force back another dull packed lunch. So instead, I started cooking larger dinners at night and taking the leftovers for lunch. Now I enjoy a hot healthy meal at lunch; one that I often look forward to enjoying during my mid-day break.

Grocery Shopping Strategies

This is yet another lesson learned the hard way by yours truly. Despite having a solid routine of weekly grocery outings armed with a well-prepared list, I moved somewhere with great shopping nearby and it all fell apart.

I truly believed I could shop just a meal or two in advance without spending any more money. In some ways I still don't understand why it didn't work since I bought many of the same ingredients, but ultimately my grocery expenses doubled. A little planning and fewer trips to the grocery store can go a long way.

These are just a few expenses that I've found success in cutting out of my life without too much ado. What expenses could you do without?


Avoiding Pain at the Pump

 Running Your Business on a Shoestring Budget

Balancing the Needs of Tomorrow with the Desires of Today

Nora DunnNora Dunn

Nora Dunn is The Professional Hobo: a full-time traveler and freelance writer. She is a contributing writer under Life Balance. Having sold her business and belongings to travel, she has been on the road since 2007. She travels in a financially sustainable manner, taking advantage of creative volunteering positions while constantly balancing life and her location independent work on the road. As a former certified Financial Planner, she is financially responsible for her actions along the way. She believes there is a fine balance between planning for tomorrow, and living for today.Compensated CareOne Blogger.

Follow Nora on Twitter @hobonora and to follow us click here  

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  • We have none of those expenses - save the land line phone - which we keep for DSL. There is no other Internet access available in our area.

    Now what do we do?

  • I quit buying pop for my family at the grocery store.  I ended up saving about $100. a month.  I was shocked.  I hadn't expected to save anything.  I just assumed that the money would go toward other drinks. I quickly found out that everybody started drinking lots of water instead.  We are all happy about this . It was done for health reasons and ended up being a very good idea for our finances.

  • I agree with everything in this save for the plastic leaching toxins into the water. The bottled water leaching you're talking about is less than the levels of the same compounds found in regular tap and faucet filtered drinking water. Downside to living in a modern society. That being said, I agree:

    don't buy bottled water, it's an absurd expense.

    Be wary of fearmongering while giving good advice, lest you prove Allan Sherman correct.

  • Yes.  To all you middle and lower class losers.  Keep finding ways to cut costs and live on less, while us millionaires laugh all the way to the bank.

  • just manage your money better and none of this will matter. none of it.

  • Will never be without a landline at home.  In case of emergency (especially if you have children), no one is going to have time or the presence of mind to root around in someone's pocket or home looking for a phone.  Cell coverage can also be unreliable.  You don't have to get a large package; basic service will do and is worth much more than any of the bells land whistles for which we're charged for using a cell.

  • My biggest weakness is take-out food, not drive through crap, but high quality sushi and similar.  No preparation and cleanup is a breeze, some concern about those nasty styrofoam containers, but tt's the next best thing to having a cook.  My hands are arithic and I shop for coupons and take-out is significantly cheaper than delivery when you're out on other errands.

  • Don't forget using groups/sites like FreeCycle to get rid of things you don't need, and to get stuff you might like to have.  No money exchanges hands, and the landfill gets less junk.  Trade services with co-workers, relatives, friends and neighbors, such as babysitting, pet care, lawn-care, clean-up, tutoring, cooking, shopping.  Buy large-quantity items you can split with them, too, and get a discount for buying in bulk.  Neighborhood yard sales are fun, foster a sense of community, and allow you to get rid of stuff you no longer need for a bit of cash.

  • Instead of buying cases of Bottled Water, but the Large Gallon Bottles. Save a bundle.

  • Please Eric get a life, must you take EVERYTHING you read to heart and disect it. Yes there have been problems with bottled water, what about the home filtering systems everyone has. Is that bad too? Are yo the bottled water police, if you are then why are they still disposable? Why are they just tossed out of a oving vechile window, why is our landfil filling up with them, don't see any advantage to drinking bottled water, when they tell you not to refill it with anything but bottled water. Making the whole bottle idea a waste of space and money.

  • Great post, thanks for the info. People always forget that making a few small changes can make a huge difference.

  • I'll keep the land line with answering machine for important calls my cell phone is used for emergency calls do not like having a leash around my neck i.e. cell phone

  • Nice post by the author on expenses

  • Although things may feel the same, more changes than we think. And if we review finances regularly, it's not a long arduous process; it's empowering and easy.

  • Interesting post on financial planning

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