Friday, March 30, 2012

Money - Reducing expenses

Back when I was in college we had a communication class.  In this class we had to give several presentations.  One of these presentations I decided to do on reducing your expenses.

Saving money such as buying something 50% off, or going to a thrift store, or using compact florescent lights (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED) to save electricity are all ways of saving money.  Sometimes saving money is immediate...such as getting a 10% discount at Lowes or Home Depot because you serve in the military.  Some are longer term like buying a CFL and saving on electricity over the years.

Sometimes savings can be occurred by doing things smarter.  I'm sure you've heard that putting the proper air in your tires can increases your gas mileage if they are under inflated.  I know in the Army that any time people go on leave a vehicle inspection was required to make sure you are safe.  This is good practice to keep with you throughout your life.

Saving energy at work is important too.  Being in the military or a civil servant we have a responsibility to the taxpayer and ourselves to curb fraud, waste, and abuse.  This means turning out lights when you leave a room for the day, or turning off your computer monitor when it time to leave.  At one of my previous employers we were all told to turn off our computers and desk lights entirely when we went home for the day.  If we didn't, we would get in serious trouble.  Why?  It cost the company a lot of money to run large amounts of electricity.  Keeping costs low meant being able to make more money or grow the company larger.  Growing the company means more promotions, and better pay.  Some workplaces requires us to leave the computers on all day everyday.  I find this rather silly, but they run updates at night.  However, I still turn off my monitors when I leave for the day.

Something I recently purchased was some rechargeable batteries.  They came in an 8 pack of AA and 4 pack of AAA plus charger for about $29 from Sam's Club.  It always seemed like we went though batteries so quickly, so I decided to give them a try.  I'll have to let everyone know how they are working and determine if savings exist or not.  I've put the first 4 batteries to use and am happy thus far.  I'm positive from an environmental standpoint it is a good idea, but costs should not outweigh benefits.

Something that I do is follow a flexible budget.  Basically what this means to me is I calculate my gross income and subtract all of my expenses.  I use excel to determine where my income is coming from, and where it is going.  The majority of it goes to shelter, taxes, and food.  I do not have the capability share this basic spreadsheet on this blog yet.  If you e-mail me I'd be happy to send it to you.  Why is it flexible?  Well, because each month I look and make certain that my estimates are correct and if I can reduce any of these expenses.

Knowing where your money is going is very important to your financial well-being.  Successful businesses know exactly where there cash is flowing.  This way you can make changes and improvements and see immediate gains.

Any example of a change I made was not having cable or satellite.  When I was in the Army we had satellite TV.  Now that the Internet can practically stream everything...I purchased Netflix streaming online, and we watch it through our PS3.  I used to watch shows on Hulu quite a bit too.  This is a free service.  I've watched shows when I am on a business trip using my laptop.  The cost including tax is about $8.50.  I subscribe to Time Warner Roadrunner and pay about $53 per month. It used to be cheaper, but the one year is up.  I have a home phone through Ooma.  It costs me around $3.68 for unlimited local and long distance.  The quality is good except for the occasional beep like someone pressed one of the numbers on the phone.  The price is great.  You do not need to have your computer on all the time, you could take it with you, and it has 911 capabilities.  This saves me a great deal of money every month.

I'm always looking for better deals, and I may make a switch to Amazon Prime in the near future.  Currently I do not think PS3 works with Amazon Prime.  This would save me even more money, plus Amazon Prime has several other benefits such as quicker shipping, and free downloadable books.

Know a great way to save money?  Let us know!

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