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  1. One Car Household

Deciding to commit to a one car household cut our day-to-day travel expenses in half. At the time of this decision, we fully owned one car and still had payments on the other. We were realizing that on the weekends, one car would sit idle with no use because we were always together. On the weekdays, we only used the cars for our short commutes. We decided to sell the car with the loan and we kept the money we made from the sale for our “emergency fund” and a fancy new bike for my husband. Now, we are only paying one car insurance, registration, gas, etc. In the circumstances where we both need the car at the same time for different purposes, we are able to fill in the gaps with public transportation, ride sharing, walking or biking. Even though it’s a pain to pay for a Lyft to work, it is still much less expensive than having a car payment, insurance and gas.

2. No Cable

When we first cut cable, we felt like badasses. We committed to only using Netflix and HBO. Now, I think most people are starting to do this. If you don’t need it, why have it? TV is bad for you anyway! Some people say that sports are important to them. Is there another way you can watch your favorite games? Can you watch at a friend’s house or even go to a bar with some friends? We recovered around $100 per month just by cutting cable. Hello new experiences!

3. Cutting Meat

After reviewing our weekly grocery bill, we realized that meat was always the most expensive thing on our shopping list. Since research suggests that meat consumption is not necessary at every meal, and the typical American’s consumption of meat it actually unhealthy, we began to cut back on both eating and buying meat. We saw our weekly grocery bill decrease on average $30 per week. That’s $120 per month! Though we typically cook vegetarian meals at home, when we dine out around 2 times per week, we order a meat dish. And of course, once in a while, we splurge on organic grass-fed meat and enjoy the rare treat in our household.

4. Minimalism

Minimalism is a whole other project in itself. But, what it means to me is not buying things just to buy. For example, my husband and I renovated the second floor of our rowhome almost one year ago. After the construction, all of the walls were completely bare! We had no artwork to hang on the walls. So, instead of just going out and buying whatever we could find to fill the walls, we let them sit. Almost a year later, our walls are still mostly bare but we have added a few key pieces gradually. This saved us money and also ensured that we only have things that we love in my home. Not feeling forced to make purchases to fill empty spaces has helped us save more money to spend on things we really cherish like travel and experiences together.

What things can you think of cutting back on in your life to help make way for increased savings and less money stress?

Sincerely,

Patrick Volk
Lead Advisor, InvestEd.

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