The idea of cost-cutting is no fun. The idea of a global recession is worse. Therefore, a reduction in expenses is not only a good idea, but an imperative - even for Echo Boomers.
The idea of a Top 10 list for managing expenses is nothing new. In fact, in the last few months I’ve seen an overabundance of these lists. However, they all have one thing in common – they are no fun. They almost all involve removing everything fun in life, because let’s be honest, a lot of the fun things in life cost money. Herein lies the differentiator between my list and theirs, I chose the route of moderation instead of elimination – life needs a balance of work and play.
1. Hop on your parent’s family plan for your cell phone – This is a gimmie, family plans are a bargain compared to being on your own. Hop on a family plan with your parents or significant other and just share the cost.
-- Savings ($150/mth for unlimited everything on an iPhone - $50 family plan = $100/mth)
2. Ditch Starbucks – trade in that $4/day latte for a pound of a gourmet beans and roast your own cup before you head to your cube in the morning. Gourmet, fair-trade beans are also a cool source of convo by the water cooler (more so than a generic Starbucks cup). A good 1lb bag of java should run you around $12 and last 2 weeks.
-- Savings ($4/cup x 5 days - $6/half lb = $14/wk)
3. Make your own lunch – Impress your colleagues with a gourmet lunch you prepare, not a calorie-filled burrito from down the street. Not only a convo starter, like the java, but it’s easier to manage your nutrition if you prepare the food yourself.
-- Savings ($7/take out x 5 day - $3/brown bag x 5days = $20/wk)
4. Bike vs. drive to work – This is an easy one (if possible). It’s healthy, it’s eco-friendly, and the cardio wakes you up in the morning.
-- Savings ($10 parking x 5 days + 1 tank of gas @ $25 = $75/wk)
5. Beer vs. wells - The weekend is for fun, axing the bars entirely means axing your social life. Quick fix, order beer instead of a mixed drink, it’s almost always cheaper.
-- Savings ($7/mixed drink x 3 drinks - $4/beer x 3 drinks = $9/wk)
6. Bars with no cover – The best bars aren’t always where you pay a cover – and if you’re going in a group, it doesn’t really matter where you go. You don’t even have to ax bars that charge covers all together, you can simply alternate weekends.
-- Savings $10-$20/bar
7. Bargain theater vs. multiplex – In my opinion, the best theaters are the ones that show movies that have been out for 3 months and serve beer instead of a Coke. It adds novelty and creativity to a date/hang out. And tickets are less expensive and you get beer instead of a Coke (oh, did I just repeat that).
-- Savings $4/movie
8. eBay your threads – When shopping, try on the clothes you like, and if you want to buy them, take down the item number and size, then eBay it and get it new with tags, or used if you don’t mind. If you’re smart, the savings can be awesome – I recently got a brand new pair of Rock & Republic jeans for $50 instead of the $250 MSRP.
-- Savings vary, but if you’re savvy on eBay, you can save a grip
9. Nordstrom Rack instead of Nordstrom – For those that need their Nordstrom fix, the Nordstrom Rack is a God-send. The savings are awesome, and it’s on all your favorite brands.
-- Savings vary, but markdowns are typically 50% off MSRP
10. Ditch the gym membership if you don’t use it – I, like many of my friends, utilize my gym membership 6 days per week. I’m a huge proponent of a healthy lifestyle that involves regular exercise. However, I can’t even count how many of my friends have gym memberships that they never use – something about having a gym membership makes people feel better about themselves even if they don’t go. Ditch it if you don’t use it, it’s just a waste of money.
-- Savings $30-$100/mth
Your wallet thanks me.