Since I was laid off, I have had to pare down my expenses. Here is my list of achievements so far and yes, I have more to do.
Any cost saving tips are most welcome.
1. Created a budget and signed onto Mint.com- Mint.com is a site that you enter in all your banking/credit cards/assets/create a budget. It tracks all of it so at the minimum you can see how your doing versus your budget. Do I stick to the budget? No, but hey it's a start, right. Work with me, people.
2. Got rid of my storage facility - savings $900/ year. I wish I had done this sooner. Just think if I had done this 3 years ago, I would have saved $2,700. Of course, I would have invested in the stock market and still lost money.
3. Reduced credit card debt (but still leave a balance) - In recent months, credit card companies are cutting customers credit lines regardless if you are a good customer or not. So instead of paying off my debt, I am pretty much pay more than the minimum payments so I don't lose the credit line as I might need to really use it. Let's face it, my priority is paying my mortgage and keeping a roof over my head.
4. Shopping at Trader Joe's - There is some debate here with friends who shop at Whole Foods but I still think Trader Joe's has the best prices especially for staples like milk, cereal, produce, snack foods and my fave, appetizers.
5. Coupons - I do use them but unlike supermarket in the suburbs, I am pretty sure you can't save a ton of money the way suburbanites do. In New York City, I have yet to see double coupons.
6. Collect loose change - I heard this idea a few months ago and thought what a ridiculous idea but it works. Sure I may be unemployed but it doesn't hurt to save up all that change. On average, I save about $30 a month. I pretty much bank it in an account for my daughter. It may not be much but it's something. I need to feel as though I am saving for the future.
7. Cut back on magazines subscriptions - My friends know this about me, I am just a constant reader of magazines. This is a holdover from when I worked in advertising and I was comped on a gazillion magazines. I am pretty sure I was the only planner who read every magazine every month. Not renewing People magazine was a huge savings of $100/year. That was tough habit to break. Now if I just go to Barnes and Noble and read magazines for free. Full disclosure here, I still subscribe to Vanity Fair (why, that magazine has really gone down hill and my all time favorite and never giving up Entertainment Weekly.)
8. Combined Phone/Cable/Internet - I saved about $100 a month by combining everything. Lots of financial advisors will tell you to get rid of your land line and go with just a cell phone. I just refuse to go down that path and why you ask? For the most important reason, I have lived through 9/11 and a blackout both of which the landlines were up and running first and cell phones were blocked.
9. Canceled Wall Street Journal - Saved $120/year.
10. Cut back on take out and eating out - Big savings here. I went from take out 2-3 week to maybe 1-2x month which is for me pretty good.