What is one thing you can do this week to help cut expenses?

I recently published a post about the fact that you don’t really need any more financial advice. Yet, here I am back at the keyboard and here you are back for a little extra — because we can all use a few pointers every now and then, can’t we?

Something you may have noticed about personal finance blogs in general and this blog specifically is that cutting expenses tends to be a huge focus. In some cases, figuring out ways to trim your expenses seems to be the only thing we here in the blogosphere talk about.

With good reason.

Minimize expenses and get rich, no matter what

If a baseball team never gives up a run, it can’t lose.

The same goes for your finances. If you can trim your expenses down to zero, you’ll never go broke. That’s actually called “Early Retirement,” if you think about it.

Of course, we all need to eat. Most of us need to pay for housing. And insurance. And a car, clothes, and of course, coffee. We all need to spend money.

The question is what do we actually need? What makes us happy, and what can we deal with living without? I’m not talking about pure deprivation. I am, however, talking about living intentionally. Make decisions that specifically make you happy, instead of mindlessly making a purchase you’ll regret the minute you get back home or the Amazon box arrives in a few days’ time.

Figure out one or two expenses you can trim, and bank those savings today

Again, you don’t really need more financial advice. You need to get motivated, and get started.

If you’ve been wondering what to do to start watching your bank account grow, take a quick peek at your expenses. I guarantee you there is something there that you can cut.

What are you still paying for that isn’t bringing you any happiness?

It could be a large expense, or a small one. You don’t need to move into a one-bedroom studio with a roommate and a mattress on the floor all in the same of curtailing your spending. Even a few bucks here and there will add up to significant savings over time.

Plenty of expenses can be cut, and the bigger the better:

[Budgeting against lifestyle creep: “Same house, same spouse, same car.”]

Roughly 68% of the average American household budget is spent on three things: Housing, Transportation, and Food. If you can cut in those three areas, great. I you can cut elsewhere, that leaves more in the budget for those three things. No matter what, trimming your expenses is a huge win for you and your loved ones.

But how?

Let’s list a few examples here, just off the top of my head:

  • Gym membership.
  • Your daily coffee. Or muffin, or whatever.
    • I guarantee your office has a coffeemaker, for the low-low price of free!
    • Saving $5 a day on coffee (or whatever), and investing it in a low-cost index fund will potentially make you a millionaire in 40 years.
  • New clothes.
    • If you buy a new shirt every month, just try extending that to every other month. It’s a small change that will greatly reduce your spending habits.
  • Any old magazine subscriptions.
    • The internet exists and all that.
  • How many cars are in your household?
    • Going from three to two or from two to one (or ideally down to none!) will boost massive savings in insurance and gas costs. Not to mention actual car payments.
  • Bring a homemade lunch to work everyday.
    • It may be boring, but is a Panera salad every day worth having to work an extra five years when you’re older?
  • Eat your leftovers!
  • Cook dinner instead of ordering in … and eat your leftovers!
    • Seriously. Elizabeth Royte, in a National Geographic study in 2014, indicated that more than 30 percent of food in the United States, valued at $162 billion annually, is never eaten. What? Dude that is so much food.
      • Think about this in terms of your budget. If you spent $10,000 each year on food for your household, are you actually taking $3,000 and lighting it on fire?
      • According to this study, yes you are. You wouldn’t do that voluntarily, of course. So eat the food you buy, and you will have greatly reduced your overall household expenses. While saving the planet.
  • Lose some weight.
    • You’ll eat less food, and therefore pay for less food.
    • Your long-term health will be on stronger footing. Minimal doctor visits means far lower healthcare costs.
  • Quit smoking/drinking, or cut down on it.
    • Again, you won’t have to see the doctor as much. Meaning you won’t have to pay the doctor as much.
  • Sell a few items around your house on Craigslist or eBay.
    • This won’t necessarily reduce your expenses, until …
  • Figure out if you’re ready/capable of downsizing to a smaller home.
    • If you’ve sold off some stuff for a quick cash infusion, your life will fit into a smaller home.
    • The smaller mortgage payments will allow you to invest more each month.
    • The smaller space will result in far smaller utility bills.
    • You won’t be tempted to buy new stuff because you won’t have the room for it.
  • Negotiate working from home at least one day each week.
    • Save on gas and general auto wear-and-tear
    • You’ll be more likely to eat your lunch in instead of spending those $10 on a burrito. Burritos are delicious though, just as a side note.

So there you go. Many expenses in your life can be trimmed. Some are big, some are small.

All have the potential to get your nest egg built up to the number you want to see.

_______________________________________________________

Check out the ongoing, full retirement ladder here:

Step 0: Create a budget that helps you get wealthy

Step 1: Why building an emergency fund is so important for your nest egg

Step 1.5: What type of account is best for your emergency fund?

Step 2: Contribute to your 401(k) up to the company match

Step 2.5: How should I pick the best 401(k) investments for me?

Step 3: Pay off all high-interest debt as aggressively as possible

10 Comments

    • NestEggNinja said:

      Thank you for the love!

      September 6, 2017
      Reply
    • NestEggNinja said:

      Thank you for the great shout out!

      September 6, 2017
      Reply
  1. MoneyAhoy said:

    Great list – I agree that cooking at home is a HUGE one most people miss. You can literally saved THOUSANDS each year by really cutting down on eating out. The best part is you can use leftovers for lunch the next day and save even more!

    August 29, 2017
    Reply
    • NestEggNinja said:

      It can be really difficult to keep up with it. Buying fresh ingredients every week and really building a solid rotation of recipes that you and your family all enjoy takes real time and energy. I understand how folks can miss it — but that’s also what makes it such an easy expense to cut! By putting a time and energy into it, it gets fairly simple to prepare food/leftovers and save a TON of cash month over month 🙂

      August 30, 2017
      Reply
  2. Joe said:

    Nice list.
    I’m for cooking at home too. It’s healthier and more affordable. Once you learn how to cook good food, cooking is an enjoyable activity.
    I don’t want to cancel my gym membership, though. I can’t workout at home for various reasons. Summer has been tough because the kid is home, but I’m getting back to the gym as soon as school starts.

    August 26, 2017
    Reply
    • NestEggNinja said:

      Every situation is different. The important takeaway I hope to convey is that as long as your spending is intentional — that you spend money on what makes you happy and cut out the rest — you’ll be fine! 🙂

      August 28, 2017
      Reply
  3. AdventureRich said:

    Awesome list! We are big fans of making extra dinner and using the leftovers as lunch for days to come. And I’m glad you added the tip to negotiate a work-remote day. When I worked in an office, I had the flexibility to work from home 1 day a week and it saved me a lot of time, money and sanity!

    August 25, 2017
    Reply
    • NestEggNinja said:

      Thanks! You hit it on the head: There are plenty of small ways to make a big difference. The important follow-up, of course, is making sure to earmark those saved dollars for investments!

      August 25, 2017
      Reply

Share your Nest Egg Ninja wisdom below!