The leading cause of stress in the United States of America is finance-related, and this problem emanates from issues with how an average American manages his/her finances. A very effective technique to militate against this is by understanding and applying the principles of budgeting.
Having adequate knowledge on how to manage finances and keep expenses within budget limits will help you to control your finances, which will invariably reduce stress.
As you read this article, you will learn the benefits of reducing your expenses and how to reduce your expenses.
Why you should reduce your expenses
There are two significant ways to reduce your expenses. One is for those that are not in debt, and the other is for those that are neck-deep in debt.
If you’re not in debt, you need to watch out for those lifestyles and habits that have the tendency of making you run into debt. Learning how to control your expenses can also keep you from falling into debt.
And for those in debt, you need to reduce your expenses, as that is the only way to prevent the matter from getting worse, a lifestyle change is sacrosanct.
Here are ways to reduce your expenses;
1. Reduce Your Fixed Costs
Reduce Energy Expenses
It is easy to trace the source of financial waste in our lives, only if you pay attention to things that people easily overlook. One of such things is our energy consumption. Although it can be a bit hard to pinpoint how to save much money on energy expenses, having a general change in attitude on how we use our home appliances can go a long way in reducing energy expenses.
Some ways to reduce energy expenses is by switching your light bulbs to LED, turning off lights when they’re not needed, using solar-powered devices can help to reduce how much you spend on energy.
Reduce housing expenses
You should make a comparison of what you pay for your rent and what your neighbors and friends pay; this will help you to understand if you’re overpaying for your house or not. If you find out that those who live with you in the same neighborhood pay less for the same quality of the house, then you should consider renting another apartment. Don’t forget that it is that extra penny you spend that took you into debt, and it is the extra penny you save that will bring you out of debt.
Reduce Utility Expenses
There are things we spend money on that are totally against our financial plans. One typical example of this is the money spent on subscribing to cable TVs. The average cost of subscribing to cable is $107 per year; this might not look much but, it is a financial leakage that can be blocked if you can try some alternatives to cable.
Also, check with your phone carrier if they have some plans that are cheaper than what you use.
Summarily, utility expenses are one of those little leakages that can accumulate into loads of cash after a long time. Most individuals don’t just get into debt in an instance; they do so by ignoring those little leakages like utility expenses and borrow few dollars regularly, thereby resulting in a large debt burden after a few years.
2. Reduce Your Debt Costs
Reduce Your Debt Expenses
When you find yourself in debt, it can be difficult to decide what substantive debt relieving decision to make. However, the basic strategy is to stop your debt from accumulating and pay off debts as soon as possible.
A clear strategy for not getting into debt is to reduce how often you purchase on credit. And if you’re into enormous debt, then you need to watch out for the debt you’ve taken that has a high-interest rate. High-interest rate debts increase faster than low-interest-rate ones; as such, this should be your primary concern.
A great way to reduce the amount of debt you owe is by using the Avalanche method. This method works on the basis that your first financial priority after meeting your compulsory financial obligation is to pay off those debts with a high-interest rate first.
Another method of reducing debt is the Debt Snowball method. This method involves paying off your smallest debt first and then paying off the larger ones later.
In a study by Forbes that was done to compare the effectiveness of the two methods, it shows that; although it will take almost the same time to complete the debt, you will save more on interest when you use the Avalanche method. The only challenge is that people lose motivation when trying to take up high-interest rate debt first. Nevertheless, the earlier you start paying off your debt, the earlier you overcome stress from personal finance.
Any method that can help to reduce your expenses will eventually lead you to a financially prosperous life.
3. Reduce Your Variable Costs
Reduce your Grocery Expenses
The price of grocery products often tempt us to pick things that we don’t need, this habit is one of the reasons why our expenses are so high. If it’s possible to take account of the extra cash that you’ve spent on groceries in the last ten years, you’ll notice that, what you could have saved, can offset a huge portion of your debt.
You shouldn’t buy less quality grocery products because you want to save, but you can make use of certain opportunities to reduce your expenses.
Here are some options that can help you to reduce your grocery expenses;
- Buy during sales
- Buy things when they’re cheaper. One way to do this is by targeting when there is a low demand for the product; things are usually cheaper in this period.
- Buy your groceries in bulk; some grocery stores offer a discount for products purchased in bulk.
- Shop in places where groceries are cheaper
Reduce Your Transportation Expenses
It can be expensive to transport yourself to and fro every day; this is particularly true if you don’t drive a fuel efficient car. To reduce your transportation expenses, you may have to sacrifice your convenience by looking for cheaper alternatives.
If you drive a car to work daily, some cheaper alternatives to try includes;
- Any other local transportation system
Reduce Your Entertainment Expenses
Most times, we think it costs a lot to get ourselves entertained, well it shouldn’t if you’re determined enough, you can find great places to get yourself entertained at little or no cost. Activities such as open mic nights, picnics, and going to the beach offer maximum enjoyment at a little cost.
If you can’t find any free entertainment spot in your vicinity, you can visit such locations on free days, and when they offer discounts.
One other way to reduce what you spend on entertainment is by dropping those pocket draining hobbies for cheaper ones. Hobbies are difficult to drop; as such, this might require a bit of practice and discipline.
Having an understanding of how your debt accumulates, and how to reduce your fixed cost, the variable cost and your total debt cost will help you save money, reduce your debt, and relieve financial stress.
Biography: Ben Tejas is the writer for Saved By the Cents with the goal of helping people get and stay out of debt. He also covers articles such as Snow Day Predictor. In his free time, he likes to go on adventures with his wife and three young daughters around the bay area.