Rent, utilities, transportation, health insurance, cell phone, and the Internet… the list goes on. If you have a pulse, then you have monthly expenses. Even minimalists and people who live in tiny houses have bills to pay. Bills are simply a product of living. Bills are the debt we pay for existing in the first world. However, when bills increase and the income doesn’t quite exceed the bills, both the wallet and brain realize it’s time to reduce monthly expenses. Below are a few luxuries that most of us have that we could probably ditch for the sake of our bank account.
1. The Gym Membership with Expensive Equipment
If you have a gym membership, now is the time to consider buying a treadmill from Craigslist or doing what people did before there were treadmills—run outside. According to the Huffington Post, your body is just as good as any fancy fitness machine. When you choose to ditch machinery your workouts are easier to modify, there is less risk of injury, and you can work out anywhere. Most importantly, it’s cheaper. The average gym membership is about $50 a month, so you’ll save hundreds annually by canceling your membership. You’ll save even more if your gym is far away by reducing transportation costs to and from the gym.
2. Any Membership that Involves Music, Books, Movies, Media, or Games
There’s the Xbox Gold membership, Spotify, Audible, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Apple Music, Pandora and many more. There are a million places that make it easy to become a paid member or subscriber. The only membership that I think isn’t worth sacrificing is Amazon Prime. The ability to get a package in two days instead of five is simply worth the cost. To reduce monthly expenses, take a close look at which memberships you can forego and which you simply can’t live without.
3. The Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte with No Foam
We live in the most caffeinated time in history. Starbucks spans the globe and is simply waiting for Richard Branson to create the technology so that we can live on Mars and put a Starbucks on that planet as well. When people think of cutting back to save money, they usually don’t want to cut back on caffeine. But cutting back on coffee shops can significantly reduce monthly expenses. If breaking a caffeine addiction seems impossible, you could always brew coffee at home. It’s significantly cheaper than the four dollars you’d spend at a coffee shop. Some would argue that coffee is a small expense and that it doesn’t really make much difference in monthly expenses, but the small expenses add up quicker than you think. One latte a day is over $1000 a year.
4. Your Lunch at Chipotle or that Other Place You Spend $12 at Everyday
Brown bagging used to be the standard. Before the age of fast-food ushered in a new way of eating and “having lunch”, people took brown bags everywhere—to work, school, and on the road. Recently, more and more restaurants have popped up all over the country, enticing people into their dining rooms, replacing brown bags with wrappers, containers, and plates. Brown bagging may feel as archaic as life before cell phones; but cell phones have offered a convenience that is unrivaled—eating out has not. It’s easier and significantly cheaper to make something at home and take it with you. You’ll save thousands by brown bagging.
5. The Cable Package that Includes 3 Premium Channels
The Internet’s rise over cable is great for your monthly expenses. The average cable bill runs about $80 per month. However, in the age of the Internet, there simply is no need for cable. If watching a video is one of the ways that you like to entertain yourself, YouTube is perfectly free and a great way to watch millions of videos. Furthermore, there are a plethora of other services such as Hulu and Netflix that places thousands of movies and television shows at your fingertips. More people are ditching cable and finding that it’s easy to live without.
6. Organic Tea from Whole Foods
Whole Foods, which is infamously called “Whole Paycheck,” understands the clientele that can afford their groceries are of the upper-middle class, well-heeled variety. Organic food devoid of GMOs is expensive. In response to the expense, the retailer recently announced that they were on the hunt for millennials and decided to create a new concept store called 365 by Whole Foods Market. In other words, they are opening another Trader Joes. Saving money on groceries is as simple as avoiding places like Whole Foods and turning to stores that accept dozens of coupons or have a savings card. However, you don’t always need a coupon or savings card to save money on groceries. If you get creative about what you eat, you can reduce your monthly expensive. First, buy ingredients that can be used in multiple meals. Cut down on the amount of meat that you consume and actually eat what’s in your cupboards. By simply eating what you have at home, you’ll cut down money expenses AND food waste.