Cutting expenses

Pauline has inspired me, again (cause of course I like a good list)  She’s collected a number of questions to help to cut expenses.  And I’m a penny pincher if there ever was one!

My answers are all in bold.  Nice way to tell you a little bit more about myself, and my money management skills.

Car

Do you need a car? NOPE! So I don’t have one.  Well, I lie.  I have a ‘free’ work car, for driving to and from work, and at work.  Bonus! I then share a car with my younger brother.  At the moment, there’s no sharing – he’s half a world away.  That being said, I don’t need it, though I do enjoy having more regular use in his absence

Really? Sure, I’ll use one, but if I don’t have a car on hand, I work it out – pub trans, walking, a cab

Can you work from home a day per week, or commute? See above, whilst the car is free, I’m sitting pretty from a $$ (say nothing of my green credentials being shot – so much for being a greenie when I drive to and from work!)

Can you walk or cycle more? YES! (if only to be able to eat more bad foods!)

Do you pay the minimum amount on insurance for the coverage you need? Good question – we don’t pay comprehensive (so if the car gets nicked in my less that safe suburb, that’ll be a real shame!).  Compulsory third party insurance is unfortunately not at all competitive, but I did get two quotes back in September when it was due.  Otherwise, I don’t think we have roadside assistance, which seems ok – cause our parents and our other brother live nearby (and I also have awesome friends who’d help out if I got stuck)

Do you need two cars? Well, no – I don’t even have the car space for more than one!  But one is 100% free in the dollars sense… Alas, it’s due to be taken off me in March due to changes at work.

Housing

Are your utility bills as low as possible or are you wasting energy? For sure I’m wasting energy – I’ve got lax on switching off the microwave at the wall (and I’m using it less often now, so I really should make the effort!).  I have also powered the air con a bit lately – largely for guests, but I’ll admit that it’s often for me too!  I do have a 10% off contract with electricity, which is pretty pathetic (imo), but it’s not a very competitive industry (I’d know, I work in it!)

Do you need cable? I’d love to have it – but alas I don’t!

Do you turn off the lights when you leave a room? Always! Admittedly occasionally I leave some low energy mood lighting on if I know I’m coming home late (ie when I go out after work), as much for others that will come home with me, than solely me.  But I like a little ambient lighting when I get home…  My guest last night went and turned lights off before we watched a DVD – what a great friend!

Can you switch to a better deal for broadband / Netflix / utilities?  I don’t have internet at home! With a smart phone, I hardly need it (despite my friends telling me otherwise!!)  I stopped Quickflix – which is mail order DVDs Australia style.  I haven’t missed it either.  So that’s two things I don’t have as expenses.

Is your house properly insulated? Well it’s a concrete box looking out of one large set of windows (it’s a loft apartment!)  The concrete floor is a good thermal mass – especially with the air con!  But generally the place stays warm in winter, which is more important to me than cool in summer, cause I don’t get that hot.

Could you dry your clothes outside? Yes – although, this question would perhaps read better ‘naturally’.  I hang them up on a clothes airer inside my apartment.  I don’t own a clothes dryer.  I don’t need one, and if and when I do, I go to the local laudromat, pay my $5, and they dry it for me.  In a year, I’ve used them on two occasions  and interestingly, only for other people’s stuff…

Do you need a cleaning lady? Hells yes! But alas, no I don’t have one of these either.  I did recently engage someone for two hours to clean after doing a large wedding in my tiny apartment.  I used some of my ‘pay’ to cover this ‘expense’

Groceries

Are you eating everything you buy? More or less, yes. I’m churning through (quickly spoiling) fruit salad, as I don’t like to waste.  I hate to have ‘wet’ rubbish, so this really helps not to waste food.  I did throw out some parmasen cheese that was a little funky last time I used it

Could you switch to the store’s brand? Done – even though I did feel a little weird when someone was standing next to me in a grocery store.  I feel like because people think I earn ‘good money’ I should buy ‘premium’ – but I’m not that silly!

Do you eat meat with every meal? Nope!  Love a good vego meal, or even a meal that’s largely vego save for a slice or two of bacon.

Could you reduce meat, dairy and alcohol consumption, even temporarily? Sure can – bought some beer and wine for NYE – wow that’s a pricey trip.  But I can’t cut down to the extent that I’m ‘freeloading’ from my friends.  So it’s a balancing act.  Dairy has been severely reduced in the past year – mainly cause it’s hard to buy zero/low waste versions of cheese/yoghurt/cream.  I really would like to limit my trash, and dairy isn’t easy as I don’t have a local deli.

Have you gone through your stockpile for products about to go bad? No, but I do have a ‘to use’ list so I make sure those esoteric ingredients get used up, rather than languishing.  But no meat in the freezer (as I became used to at M&D’s place)

Do you use coupons? No – they aren’t really common in my local grocer (ie they are independently owned stores, not a chain).

Personal

Can you do without new clothes for some time? Yep – did this in 2011 – got SO bad, my father started questioning my decision, as he often hung out the family’s washing. It was worth it to be able to buy my own place.  Since then, I buy the bulk of my clothing whilst on holidays, which is usually once a year.  I buy underwear whenever it’s in stock and I’m in store (not often enough!).  I tracked clothing expenses for two years – I spend between $2000 to $5000, so a year off is a HUGE saving.

Can you ask a friend to cut your hair, or do your own manicure? I have a buzz cut – I supported my friend who is currently undergoing chemo.  So no more conditioner, no more hair dryer (at least for now!)  Even my hair clips are languishing in the drawer.  Now manicures.  This is something I’ve never done, but my partner has indicated he’d appreciate.  I painted them twice since – once was ultimate fail, but the second time was an improvement (thanks to good quality polish).  Actually, by late Jan, I can recruit my mum to DIY – she’s a pro!

Can you find a free course instead or a paid one? I’m not doing any courses… maybe I should be?!

Can you get your books from the library instead of buying them? Pft – people buy books? (OK, I bought two cook books as gifts for Christmas… but still). I have a list of library books to read, and I work through them.  That reminds me, I must renew them, they are due back today or yesterday (ekk!), and I’ve only read one of four.  (Bless friends for keeping me busy this Christmas/New Year period whilst my family were away). I’ll also never buy a magazine, save for a long haul flight – and then I’ll buy an economist, which is worth whatever the ticket price for the amount I learn!

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4 thoughts on “Cutting expenses

  1. Cool to read a detailed reply! Looks like you are doing pretty good overall 🙂 I would consider that the parking space could be rented as the ”expense” to have a car, plus obviously the cost difference between driving and taking public transportation. It is cool to have an otherwise free car or two!

    Reply
    • Hi Pauline, I’m looking forward to my work car being ‘taken’ away, and then I can make money off the car space that’s part of my property (which I own/pay a mortgage on). The occasional use of the other car hardly warrants a nice underground carspace! I often wonder the cost difference between public transport and driving, but given I don’t handle the current car driving expenses, it’s hard to do a good experiment with my own life.

      Reply
    • Hey – I have two cars (technically) – at least you’re two people! And you live in Canada, so the clothes drying is totally understandable, at least whilst it’s snowing.

      Reply

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