Luxury Expenses

Yesterday we talked about what to do if your budget doesn’t balance…one thing to look at is what I call luxury expenses.  Here are some alternative ideas to cutting or reducing these expenses.  Some of these are not new ideas.  It all comes down to a person’s willingness to recognize their financial troubles or wanting a simpler life,  then having the courage and determination to change it.   

Cell Phone/Home Phone – Cancel one or keep both but cut all the extras on your home phone.  My family and closest friends have my cell number and call it if my home line is busy.  Most of my contacts know that we do not have call waiting.  If there are times when I am in the middle of something and don’t feel like answering the home phone, I let my answering machine pick up.  If it’s important enough, the person will leave a message.  I also registered on the www.donotcall.gov site to reduce telemarketing calls.

Cable/Satelitte TV– You can purchase a $15-$20 antenna from Wal-Mart or Target that will pick up most channels.  Our antenna picks up NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS and about 4 other local channels.  Be sure and get the kind that plugs into an outlet also.  This extra feature provides much better reception and reduces the need to adjust the “rabbit ears”. 

Dining Out – This is one of my priority luxury expenses.  For my husband and I, we were willing to do without cable so we could continue to eat out on a regular basis.  We enjoy trying new restaurants so this was a priority for us.  If eating out is not a big deal to you but cable is, then keep the cable and cut back on the dining out.

Lawn Treatment – Many companies now offer no contract.  I have heard that the best time to fertilize and help with weed control is in the Winter and Spring.  Therefore, you could actually limit or cut out lawn treatments in the Summer and Fall.  Or you could research gardening sites and do your own weed control.  I know that some subdivisions now require yards to be weed free so make sure you know all the homeowner regulations before buying in a subdivision.  Lawn treatments could be an added expense you did not anticipate.

Manicures, Spa Treatments – If this is a priority on your list, instead of cutting it out completely, look at reducing the number of times you have it done or look for a less expensive place to visit.

Shopping – I have a friend who uses part of her day off to bargain shop.  She manages her shopping well by 1) doing most of it at thrift stores and consignment places, 2)  usually only paying with cash and a set amount, 3) doesn’t use shopping to fill a void and 4) although she may buy something decorative for her house, she also pays much less for school clothing, books or other needed things for her household.  If you love to shop but overspend, set an allowance for yourself and instead of heading to the mall, find a nifty consignment or thrift store.  I can’t tell you the number of name brand items (some with tags still attached) or barely used items she has found.   Just as I have a hobby of scrapbooking, some people have a hobby of bargain shopping.   

EVERYONE has things they feel they can’t live without…things that make our lives more comfortable or enjoyable.  I’m not suggesting you cut out all these things (except in extreme cases) but to really look at all the extra “stuff” your money is going towards.  You might find that by cutting a few things, you come up with an extra $200 a month that enables you to save more, pay debt off faster, have your spouse quit a second job or in some cases keep your home.  Think what luxury items you have and evaluate if their cost is really worth the burden they are placing on your finances.

Until next time…have a joyful week!   Dana

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One Response

  1. Great tips. I am interested in the antenna and appreciate your tip on getting one that plugs into an outlet. Thanks for sharing!

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