When you look at your budget, how many of your expenses are reoccurring? Most of them tend to be. You always go shopping for groceries, and you always have that car payment. How great would it be to skip out on some of these expenses from time to time?
Obviously there are some expenses you cannot skip out on at all. Things like that car payment or your mortgage or rent payment. If you do skip these, your credit is going to take a hit and you risk getting collection calls or worse. But there are other expenses that you have the power to skip out on from time to time.
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Why You Should Start Skipping Expenses
There is great power in skipping expenses and it comes in many forms. First is the benefit of saving some money. When you don’t spend money on something, you keep it and have more to spend on something else or you have something to save. The second benefit is empowerment. Too often expenses just become a part of life. While not an example of skipping expenses, I am amazed at how many people don’t call their cable company to get a reduction in their bill. They just pay what the price is each month and accept the price increases. Yes it is work to get it lowered, but there is savings there if you put in the effort. All too often the increase in price just becomes a part of life that we accept.
But back to skipping expenses. Take for example your grocery bill. What if you skipped one week of grocery shopping? You might argue that it can’t be done, but I bet it can be. If you are like most others, including me, you have a pantry full of food you rarely touch. You probably have food in your freezer that has been there for a long time as well. You can easily survive on these for a week.
Of course we wouldn’t be skipping out on grocery shopping every week, but we could do it 4 times a year with ease. If you average $150 per week on groceries, that means you save $600 a year.
Look Around For Expense Skipping Opportunities
Where else can you skip on expenses here and there? I already mentioned grocery shopping. Here are a few others:
- Haircuts: If you get your hair cut once a month, can you stretch it to once every 5 or 6 weeks? If you can stretch it to 6 weeks, you just saved 4 trips. At $80 a haircut, that is $320!
- Dining Out: Same idea as above applies with your haircuts. Try to stretch out your dining out trips and save that money. Explore 6 Alternatives to Dining Out for more ideas.
- Dry Cleaning: Can you get an extra wear out of a pair of pants or a shirt? Maybe you can rotate more articles of clothing that don’t need to be dry cleaned into your wardrobe.
- Tolls: When it comes to tolls, maybe you can find an alternate route to work that doesn’t cost you money. Another option could be to car pool into work so that you aren’t paying for tolls every day. And bonus points for going this route and saving on gas and car maintenance.
- Taxi/Uber: Can you do a little extra walking? Not only will this benefit your wallet, but also your health as well. Skip your next taxi or Uber ride.
- Entertainment: This is the biggest area where you can cut expenses. What can you skip out on? Maybe instead of going to the movies, you stay in and play board games. Maybe instead of going to the bars, you have your friends come over and you just hang out at home for the night. Also see How to Get a Natural High for $5 or Less.
In addition to the above, you can just make smaller cuts to your spending and treat them as skipping expenses. For example, when you go out to eat, don’t get a soda, just get water. Or don’t get an appetizer or dessert.
When grocery shopping, you could go without some snacks or other non-essential items from time to time. You might even incorporate these tips in with the completely skipping expenses to really boost your savings.
Add Up the Savings
Just looking at the handful of ideas I noted above could save you over $1,000 a year. And all you did was go without for a little bit. If you can do this consistently for 10 years, you are looking at an extra $10,000 you’ve saved. And that isn’t even taking into account any interest you can earn if you put the money into a savings account or invest it.
However, this idea only works if you have discipline. You cannot skip out on groceries one week only to buy double the next week. You have to be smart and disciplined and only buy what you need. Remember, the reason you have so much food in your pantry and freezer is because you really have too much. You don’t need to replace the excess.
Get By on Less
As I mentioned above, you also become empowered. You see that you don’t have to grocery shop each week. You see that you can get by on less. This will have long lasting benefits for life.
First you will see that you will want to buy less because you know you can get by on less. You will also begin to question more and more expenses and find ways to start reducing them as well. This will lead to greater empowerment and even more savings.
The idea of getting by on less might scare some people into thinking they can’t enjoy life or that they will be living a standard of life that they will be unhappy with. This is not the case at all. You will be going without some things but your quality of life will not change all that much, especially in the long term.
Yes, the first week you don’t grocery shop you might have a hard time figuring out meals to make. But that difficult time is only short lived. You will quickly overcome it.
I challenge you to try skipping expenses. It is a great exercise that will open your eyes on some of the things you are spending your money on and will also empower you to question more of your spending and become wiser about money.
In the short term, you might feel some temporary pain as you adjust to a better way of life, but it is short lived and you will come out stronger and more aware in the weeks ahead.
More Frugal Tips
- 10 Frugal Tips from the Tightwad Gazette
- 10 Surprising Things You Can Turn Into Cash
- 9 Tips to Stretch the Life of Common Household Items
- How to Save Money on Haircuts, Hair Color and Hair Care
- 7 Things You Should Be Buying Used
- Share Expenses with Friends to Cut Costs
- 6 Ways to Make Money Organizing Your Clutter
- 13 Ways to Save Money Before Walking Out the Door