I love everything about the holiday season. The smell of the fir trees, sweater weather, warm cider and especially giving gifts. Which gets expensive. Fast. If your like me then you try to buy for everyone in your family.. and not just one gift but a few. And not just a few gifts.. but the perfect gifts. It adds up and in the end I wonder if it was even worth the cost. This year Im saving money on Christmas gifts, but Im still going to give great gifts. Here are a few ways that you can too!
This is the final part of our how to cut your monthly expenses series. (Click here for all previous entries). We talked about classifying our expenses into two categories and discussed how to reduce our fixed costs. The second category is variable expenses. Remember the question to determine if it was a variable?
” ‘Will this expense change if I ______ more?’ The blank can be things such as cook more, travel more, or watch more TV. If the answer is no, then it is a fixed cost and a yes means its variable. “
The only way to lower your variable bills is to do less and more at the same time. Confusing right? Let me explain. If we are trying to lower our electric bill then we need to use less power in our home but we may need to do more of something to substitute for the decrease. Open our windows for more light or use more blankets for heat. Or if we want to eat out less then we need to cook more. Its an odd concept but once you understand its easy to reduce your bills that are vary each month.
Now, we know what category our bills fall into, we know how to reduce fixed expenses with substitutes and our variable expenses are reduced by doing less (and more). Look at your monthly expenses and see where you can make some cuts. Maybe refinancing your home isnt an option, but things like lowering your electric or water bill will help your budget. Pick a few bills to focus on reducing (or eliminating) and make changes that will help not hinder your family.
Ok, so the past few weeks we have been talking about cutting our personal expenses. We first split them into two categories, fixed and variable expenses. We have had two examples of large bills (car payments and mortgages) and some practical ways of lowering them each month. Our last fixed expense example is TV.
Did you know that you can live without cable TV? I know, I know. I didn’t think so either but it was one of the bills we choose to cut so that I could stay home. We haven’t had it for months now and we are actually love not having it. We still have TV but we use other ways to watch shows.
We also use our DVD player almost daily. We bought a bunch of Nick Jr. DVD’s at our local used bookstore for a third of the price. Netflix is a great way to score cheap entertain and cut your TV expense. Plans start at $7.99 a month and you can watch movies on your TV, computer or iPad device. They also have tons of great kids titles. Also, check out redbox and rent DVD’s for $1 a night. And if there is something that we have to watch (Rangers in the World Series!) we head over to my parents, a friends house or a restaurant that has the game on.
To recap, the key to lowering fixed expenses is to find alternatives and shop around for the best deal. Just because they are considered fixed doesn’t mean they can’t be changed.
Ok ya’ll.. its Financial Friday Linky Party!
Pretty simple, right? It sounds easy but when you’re living on the bare minimal its tough to try to stash some money away. (Trust me, I know!) Its like trying to lose weight, if you lose just one pound it seems easier to lose the second. Plus you stay more motivated when you know that what your doing is actually working. So start small, but think BIG. You’ll get there, you just have to save that first dollar.
Welcome to our second Financial Friday! Last week we talked about the golden rule of personal finances, know your credit score. Today we are going to go over a few simple tricks that will help you improve your credit score.
First here is how your credit score is determined.