Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How To Be Thrifty: We Cut Over 40K From Our Annual Expenses

Involuntary Simplicity:  A Job Loss Meant 40K in Annual Budget Cuts for Us

When my husband lost his job last year, we had to take a hard look at our budget.  With less money but more time, our mission in life became how to actually live better on less money. We started collecting ideas from frugal forums and books from the library, and listed below are the actions we took to cut 40K from our annual budget. Listed below are a few of the big ticket items we eliminated to reduce our spending. 

Work Related Costs Eliminated: 13K Savings


Man at train station
Not having to take the train to work every day saved $2,400 a year.

With no job, there were no longer any work related costs to pay for out of our own pocket. While my husband was working outside the home, he spent over $13,000 a year just on expenses just to support his job.  These included:

  1. Train tickets to and from work every day.
  2. Daily fast food or restaurant lunches.
  3. Vacation "buys" to get extra vacation days.
  4. Driving costs to and from the train station.
  5. Business casual work clothes.
  6. Monthly parking at the train station.
  7. Dry cleaning pants and having work shirts professionally laundered.
  8. An extra car for work meant saving for a replacement car, registration, maintenance and insurance costs. 

We actually made a little extra money the first year by selling his commute car.  We aren't down to a one car family because our kids still have cars.  We are just a one car less family now.  

How much is your job costing you? This is an especially important question for parents to ask if one or both wages aren't particularly high and you are paying for day care.  Being at home means having time to do a lot of cost saving activities such as making meals from scratch, price shopping insurance every year, renegotiating your cable bill and many other money saving techniques. Is your job really worth what it is costing you?

Switched to FoodMaxx: 3K Savings

FoodMaxx is a local pack it yourself warehouse store.  They match all of the local retail stores weekly sales prices. Their regular prices are 20% below retail.  By trying to stick to brands on sale, we tend to average a 30% discount over the local retail stores prices. For us this meant saving $3,000 a year on groceries just by switching stores. The local store is more convenient, but we decided it wasn't 3K a year convenient.

Cold Turkey on Fast Food: 3.9K Savings

When we both worked full time, my husband had a long commute and I worked from home while trying to juggle school car pools and soccer practices.  With our busy schedules, we didn't think twice about grabbing fast food several times a week.  At $25 per meal for our family of four, this really added up.

Now our "fast" food is spaghetti or hamburgers with a side salad made at home.  For nights we are really short on time we will go to Trader Joe's and get a prepared meal, but we can buy two entrees there for $10 instead of less healthy fast food for $25.


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