Some Ways I'll Cut Expenses in 2009

The big expense I’ll be cutting is transportation because I won’t have a car. I’ll still have some transportation expenses but I think I should be able to cut this expense by up to $1000. Another expense I’ll cut is my cell phone. When my contract expires at the end of June I am not going to renew it. This will save me $35 a month. The savings will be less if I decide to add a line to my GF’s cell plan. I most likely won’t though and will just use a public phone if I need to make a call away from home. I’m also enrolling in an HSA eligible health insurance plan. This will save me about $10 a month plus any tax savings from contributing to the HSA. The biggest way I plan to cut expenses is by hiking the Appalachian trail for five months. I intend to hike on $200 a month. I’ll still have some non-hiking expenses but this will greatly reduce my overall expenses. These aren’t all the ways I’ll cut expenses but it should be all the major ones. What are your plans for cutting expenses in 2009?

10 thoughts on “Some Ways I'll Cut Expenses in 2009”

  1. The biggest way I’ll be cutting is by downsizing to a 1 bdrm or studio apartment closer to work in March. I’ll live in a safe, good area, but not the “cat’s meow” area I live in now in a 1.5 bdrm. I’ve done lots of initial preparation, mental and otherwise, to get rid of clutter. Based on my research, I should be able to pay at least $400, and probably closer to $500-600 less a month in rent by doing this. An added benefit will be a much shorter commute to work. I’ve slowly but surely given up little things all throughout 2008, my cable silver package, near daily Starbucks, weekly manicures and regular pedicures, etc. The next big one I’ve got to get control of, and really struggle with from a personal discipline perspective, is what I spend per month on eating out. I do great for breakfast and lunch, always bring from home, shop for specials, etc. – but I work very long hours and it’s very stressful, so what typically happens is that it’s 7 p.m. when I walk to the bus, my stomach is roaring, I could kill for a glass of wine (no, I’m not an alcoholic, on weekends and vacations I never think about wine…LOL), and the choice is typically to wait outside in the cold for the next bus in 20-30 minutes (before a roughly hour total commute home) or dart inside the restaurant just behind the stop for a happy hour glass of wine and one of their $5 appetizer (really a small meal) specials. Guess which choice given my stressed, starving state usually wins out? 🙂 At one point, I tried bringing dinner food to work and making a point to stop and heat it up at 5 or 6, which was hard because that’s not where my focus is at that point in the day, but I HAVE to get back to that. Even at happy hour prices and specials, I’m spending $15-20 a day on dinner.

  2. Ashley- Saving for the new car will save you money when you buy the new one.

    Meghan- It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into cutting your expenses. Hope your plans work well for you.

  3. My biggest savings will come from reducing or eliminating eating out by myself, which could save me up to $900 in 2009. I usually buy fast food or Chinese takeout when I miss breakfast, cook too much and get sick of the same food, and fail to prepare dinner the day before. I intend to meet this goal by going to bed 30 minutes earlier, packing portable breakfast items in my bookbag, cooking only two day’s worth of meals at a time, and cooking one day in advance. There is still room in my budget for eating out with people. If my social life picks up and I do eat out or cook with friends more often, then given my usually low cost food choices, I think any additional (if at all) expenses will be worth it. More savings will come from switching from brand name to generic prescriptions. This will save me $348/year. I will also cut short the remainder of my gym membership, thus saving me an additional $100 and canceling my Netflix subscription will save me $114. I will start planning ahead when it comes to street parking to avoid parking tickets and street sweeping tickets–these cost me $190 this year. I will note the earliest due dates on my calendar to avoid library fines which have cost me $67.70 this year. All in all, if my intentions manifest, I could save a total of: $1719.70! Eighty percent of these extra savings would go towards purchasing my first real estate rental property and the remaining 20% would go toward my vacation fund.

  4. Andy,
    Nice goals. I’m jealous that you can get by without a car. But how are you going to get by with no phone? Public phones are hard to come by. And, I know the reception could be spotty anyway, but I would feel safer hiking if I had a cell phone on me. Either way, good luck! 🙂

  5. claire- I might get a phone on my GF’s plan but I think I’ll more likely go without a phone. I haven’t had much trouble finding phones when hiking before.

  6. Andy,

    That’s great that you’re going to hike the AT. We live right by it in Northern VA–one of my best friends here runs the hostel in Bluemont, VA (Bear’s Den), as a matter of fact. So will you be hiking from Maine down or will you be heading North? Either way, what a great experience you’ll have!! Is your GF going, too?

  7. Diana- That’s cool that your friend owns the Bear’s Den hostel. I haven’t stayed there but I’ve heard good things about it from other hikers.

    I’ll be hiking from Maine down. My GF might do a couple of days with me but otherwise I’ll be solo.

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