50 Ways to Cut Your Spending/Expenses by 10%

With all this talk of cuts to the economic stimulus package, I started to wonder if there were any other ways I could cut my personal spending 10% (which is about how much they cut from the package.) So here are 50 simple, not-so-simple, and sometimes silly ways to cut spending by 10%. This assumes an income of $50,000 a year, so a cut of $5,000.

  1. Quit Smoking. Boom, you just saved $1,800 a year (assuming a pack a day habit.)
  2. Write down everything you spend to curb your urge to waste money.
  3. Only use your own bank’s ATMs.
  4. Sign up for direct deposit. Save $5-10 a month on account fees.
  5. Pay off debt. Not paying interest can save thousands.
  6. Use free online bill payment if your bank offers it.
  7. Drink less. Don’t give it up, but drink at home instead of at a bar. Switch to cheaper wines. You can find great stuff for less than $8 a bottle (the equivalent of one bar drink.) Save $600 a year.
  8. Brew your own coffee. Save $1000 a year over Starbucks.
  9. Bake your own muffins/bread for breakfast. Save at least $500 a year over fast food or Starbucks.
  10. Start using grocery coupons.
  11. Cook at home rather than ordering out at least once a week. Save $500 a year.
  12. Make dinner from scratch. Raw ingredients are usually cheaper than boxed food, unless you have a great coupon and sale combination
  13. Take your lunch to work. Save $1300 a year.
  14. Make homemade freezer meals for those days you know you’ll be tempted to order out.
  15. Keep the freezer full. Place half-filled water jugs inside when you run low on food. The more frozen stuff it contains, the less energy it requires to stay cool.
  16. Plan menus to avoid letting food go to waste.
  17. Make your own baby food.
  18. Switch to cloth napkins and dish cloths.
  19. Practice CVSing to save on personal care items.
  20. Host potluck dinner parties instead of going out to eat.
  21. Go out once a month instead of once a week.
  22. Borrow books and DVDs from the library.
  23. Return borrowed books and DVDs on time.
  24. Cancel the newspaper and check the mailbox for the coupon inserts instead.
  25. Put yourself on a music download budget.
  26. Drive less.
  27. Get rid of your car – switch to mass transit.
  28. Get a roommate.
  29. Cancel your landline phone (if you don’t live in a potential disaster zone or need a landline for safety reasons.)
  30. Buy a cheap cell phone/phone plan. No text messages, no internet access or email, no Bluetooth.
  31. Use the ringtones your phone came with.
  32. Cancel Premium Channels or DVD subscriptions. Save up to $480 a year.
  33. Cancel cable. Get a converter box or download shows from network websites.
  34. Buy clothes that don’t need to be dry-cleaned.
  35. Go deep in the closet to find old clothes. If they still fit and are remotely fashionable, update them with a simple belt or accessories. Note: the belly shirt you wore to spring break ten years ago cannot be rescued.
  36. Turn down the heat/AC.
  37. Buy a thermostat with a timer. Avoid heating the house while you’re asleep or at work.
  38. Go bigger and turn them off – use a fan and a blanket instead.
  39. Weatherize your home.
  40. Unplug unused electronics, phone chargers, etc.
  41. Turn the power strip off when appliances aren’t in use.
  42. Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
  43. Get rid of the garage refrigerator. Save $280 a year.
  44. Don’t leave your computer on overnight. Save $150 a year while you sleep!
  45. Cancel your gym membership. If you don’t use it at least 15 times a month, there are cheaper options out there.
  46. Cancel most automatic subscriptions. You may not even realize what you’re paying for. Scour your credit-card bills for anything that can be cancelled.
  47. Lose weight. Plus-sized clothes cost more because they require more fabric.
  48. Buy fewer gifts.
  49. If you don’t already plan to buy enough to qualify for free shipping, wait or pay the shipping fee rather than buy extra stuff you don’t need.
  50. Ditch expensive friends. If you can’t hang out without spending money, maybe your friendship isn’t that strong. It’s a hardcore step, but sometimes it must be done.

Got more ideas? Post them in the comments.

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