Cutting Expenses

By Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP

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If your spending is out of control, it is time for a little austerity. Here are some ways you can cut expenses painlessly.

  • Spend less on gifts. Be creative rather than extravagant with friends and family.
  • Turn down the thermostat in winter, and turn off the air conditioner in summer. Put on a sweater in winter and use a fan in the summer to heat and cool your body inexpensively.
  • Practice utility control. Install a water-saving shower head, buy energy-saving light bulbs, turn the temperature up on your refrigerator and down on your water heater, and turn off the lights and television when you leave the room. Little economies add up to big savings over the course of a year.
  • Make long-distance calls on weekends, early in the morning and late at night. Or better yet, e-mail or write letters.
  • Save food costs. Buy on sale, clip coupons, buy in bulk, purchase generic brands, eat less expensive cuts of meat, and don't frequent convenience stores.
  • Ride public transportation to work, or car pool with co-workers. You'll save gas and wear and tear on your car.
  • Improve your gas mileage. Buy an energy-efficient car, check the air in your tires frequently, and slow down on the highway.
  • Buy used rather than new. Cars, furniture, computers, stereo equipment, televisions and appliances can all be found at substantial discounts in the want ads and at garage sales and swap meets.
  • Cut entertainment costs by renting videos rather than going to movies, eating at cheaper restaurants, eating out less frequently, and brown bagging it to work. Take food out rather than eating at the restaurant to save on tips and drinks.
  • Save on supplies. Use sponges rather than paper towels, use a multi-purpose cleaner rather than several specialize ones, and recycle newspapers, bottles and cans.
  • Give up bad habits such as smoking, hard liquor, and frequent evenings in the local pub or at the race track.
  • Save on vacations. Explore local recreational sites, ask your travel agent about special deals, and visit vacation spas and resorts off season.
  • Drive your car an extra year or two before you replace it with a new one.
  • Stay healthy. Eat right, exercise more, buy a few pieces of exercise equipment and drop the gym membership.

Ginita Wall is the Co-founder of WIFE. She writes two weekly columns: Tax Talk, Suddenly Single. Worth Magazine recently named Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP, one of the top financial advisers in the country. She provides forensic accounting and financial guidance to men, women and their attorneys before, during and after divorce. She is the author of several books, including "Your Next Fifty Years" and "Our Money Our Selves". Visit her website at:

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