Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Changing my habits to save hundreds of dollars

Not too long ago, I realized that the strategy was fairly simple for getting a handle on saving and cashflow. While earning extra income is not always easy, I realized that lowering my debt was the easier of the two to do. So, the key is to lower my standard of living and become accustomed to it. I've changed the following and it has made a big difference:

- I eat at home more frequently.
- I use my TiVo to record as much T.V. as I want to watch.
- I bring lunch to work more. (Lean Cuisines at 3-3.50 each is about 1/2 the price of a take-out lunch at most places.)
- I drive less and take public transit more. This has really cut down on gas costs.
- I spend less on throwaway entertainment (trips to amusement parks, movies) and opt for permanent, reusable entertainment options (computer games, dvds, an Ipod, a TiVo (subscription paid up-front)) and healthy activities (like tennis or walking outside).
- I buy a morning coffee far less, opting to make coffee at work. Instant coffee is awful, so instead I've opted for Folgers Coffee Singles. Its not the candy that is Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks, but it is still pretty good, especially when considering that it costs only about 12 cents per cup.

I still go out to eat, I still go to see a movie occasionally if I am dying to see it. The difference is that I think about it, and I try to do these things with other people as a social event not just something because I am alone and bored.

The money saved goes toward paying off debt and no new purchases are done using credit cards. New items are bought with saved money. There's still got a long way to go - but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

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