Give up little luxuries during lean times

By
Real Estate Agent with Michael Saunders & Company

I have been reading many blogs and articles and the common thread seems to be the little luxury items people are going without.  Some of the ways I have reduced my expenses are the following:

1.  I only go to Target when I really need something - school supplies presriptions, etc.  Target is a real problem for me.

2.  I only get pedicures when I receive them as gifts - my family has been covering this for me (birthday, mothere's day, etc.). 

3.  Stay away from Starbucks - unless I have clients.

4.  Drink less wine and more vodka and beer.  Wine at even only $12/bottle is more than vodka and beer per drink.

5.  Bottled water is only for travel and convenience.  The refrigerator water is filtered and delicious drink it before you open that bottle.

6.  I am a candle Junkie - I admit it.  I must burn through my current inventory before I can even look at Illuminations or Yankee ( same company, did you know?).

7.  Eat the food that is on sale.  No more steaks, seafood and fish on a whim!  Plan meals - this is not easy for me. 

Let me know how you are cutting back in your business and at home.  I am looking for new ways to reduce my spending. 

Comments (24)

Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

Rebecca - I have 2 teenagers at home.  How about back to school clothes?  My son really saved me some money this year - he no longer needs Abercrombie or Quicksilver.  Those jeans can run between $50 and $60 a pair.  This year he liked the Levis at $10 and $18 a pair.   Does that mean I can buy candles?  -  I don't think so!

Aug 13, 2008 03:24 AM
Lewis Beynon
CENTURY 21 Triangle Group - Raleigh, NC
Triangle Real Estate 411

OUCH!!!!   Number 7 is going to kill me.  My wife works 3 - 12 hour shifts and HATES to cook, so we end up eating out 4 to 5 nights per week.  We have cut back a little maybe down to 3 - 4 nights per week and it has made a huge difference.  I have been cooking a LITTLE more than what I used to but it is still not enough.  Like you indicate, the biggest problem with eating out is the bar bill not necessarily the food itself.  Thanks for the advice Edie.

Aug 13, 2008 03:34 AM
Bill Ladewig
LoanOfficerSchool.com - Escondido, CA
Experience Is Your Advantage

For those of you in California and Arizona (anywhere there is a Trader Joes) switch your wine preference to Two Buck Chuck.  It as good as most $12 wines.

Aug 13, 2008 03:44 AM
Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

Lewis - draft beer is usually cheaper.  My husband is not allowed Makers Mark when we go out, it is $9.00 a drink - that is the cost of my Ceasar salad!

Aug 13, 2008 03:46 AM
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

We've done quite a few things to help counteract the rising costs of other things (like gas).  On our cable service, we've cut out all the channels we don't watch and reduced our package to the minimum and still have some channels we like.  That reduced our bill by about $35/month.  We plan meals for a week at at time and ensure that grocery shopping is done via shopping list.  That way, we don't have to eat out unless we really want to, we always have everything we need for meals, and we don't buy a lot of unnecessary items at the store. We, too, buy in bulk as much as possible and separate to use as needed for meats.  With 6 kids, we can't afford to spend foolishly!

~Renae

Aug 13, 2008 03:51 AM
Chris and Maria Jeantet
Coldwell Banker C&C Properties - Redding, CA
Redding CA Real Estate Couple

Eadie this was great, I can relate with #3 and I too cut it out of my daily routine (that's Maria speaking)...and have done these additional things:

* Work from home as much as I can while Chris heads to the office and try to multi-task while I'm in town if I do drive out.

* I'm cooking more at home (especially breakfast) something I hardly did before :)

* I ask the buyers to drive me around, JUST KIDDING!! Just wanted to make sure you were reading this, wouldn't that be something!

* Cut down on clothes shopping, only when it's absolutely necessary

Aug 13, 2008 03:56 AM
Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

Renae - 6 kids, you have to have a strategy every time you go to the store.  A trip to Starbucks for your team of 8 could be $50.   Your family is twice the size of mine.  You have to be a professional saver. 

Edie

Aug 13, 2008 03:59 AM
Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

Renae - 6 kids, you have to have a strategy every time you go to the store.  A trip to Starbucks for your team of 8 could be $50.   Your family is twice the size of mine.  You have to be a professional saver. 

Edie

Aug 13, 2008 03:59 AM
Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

I'm going to ask my buyers if I can drive their car to look at properties.  Letting them drive would take too long. 

Edie

Aug 13, 2008 04:01 AM
Patty Carroll
Vancouver, WA

We just now canceled the newspaper. Not happy with the cost as they have cut the paper back to almost nothing.

Aug 13, 2008 04:24 AM
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

I dont eat out. maybe once every 4-5 months or whenever a service vendor asks me out. I live alone so my grocery bill may only be around 40-50 per week. I only go to Sam's when it's party time or stocking up for the winter. I know how to cut corner's . My kids say i'm cheap but i call it frugal. Money does not grow on trees.

Aug 13, 2008 04:37 AM
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

Yeah, we don't do Starbucks! hahahahah  If we go out to eat as a family, it is either for a special celebration (a great report card, for example) or for one of or "just because" days (which we do once every 2 or 3 months).  Then, we go to a restaurant that is not only family friendy but,as Robert says, frugal!  Like Denny's.  And when we go any kind of shopping, we always have a plan!  Otherwise, it is utter chaos!

~Renae

Aug 13, 2008 04:43 AM
Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

Ranae - I think you just nailed it when you mentiond chaos.  I think less chaos more savings is a direct correlation.

Edie

Aug 13, 2008 04:48 AM
Steve Mangus
not active - Oklahoma City, OK

Edie, I agree, these days we have to make our $ go further. Try these....

1. You can save a ton of money by ordering water at restaurants. A glass of tea or a soft drink will run you about $2 each plus tax and tip--let's say $5 for 2 each time. Multiply that by 2 times per week times 52 wks = $520.

2. If you can't pay cash don't buy it.

3. Starbucks--I love verona but I buy it buy the bag, grind it at home and run it through my french press. It tastes great and 1 bag (about $10) lasts 3-4 weeks.

4. If you're not using Quicken, use it or something like it. We can account for every dollar. I was shocked to see how much we were spending on groceries and eating out. It's a great way to keep score and if you don't know where you are, how can you know where you're going? Good luck.

Aug 13, 2008 04:56 AM
Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

Steve, I like the way you think about the annual cost of something.  I try to point this out to clients who want a certain mortgage payment but aren't willing to give up their $4 per day McDonald's breakfast 4 times a week.

Edie

Aug 16, 2008 01:42 AM
Tanya Venable
Orlando, FL
SEO, Mobile SEO, and Internet Marketing Consultant

Edie, Great Post!  #7 can take a while to get use to but a read great tip that says to plan your meals for the week based on what's on sale. I love steak too.

#6 - Can apply to more than just candles but anything that you stock up on. I use to have so many different bath soaps. I stopped by them even when they were on sale and just use every one I already have. After months I still have plenty.

Also a good tip is when you are running errands to plan your route before you leave home. This will save you on time and gas.

Aug 16, 2008 01:55 AM
Janice MacMillan
ERA Joyner Realty - Valdosta, GA
Associate Broker

I try to do all the shopping for the week, little jaunts to the store get expensive. I end up buying more than I went for.

I, also have cut back on Starbucks. I have not been for 2 weeks now. It is clear across town from me so not only am I saving from the beverage I am also saving the gas.

We use to eat out once a week as a family and was costing us around 115.00 - 120.00 each time. We have decided that should be a special treat for special occassions.

That's my two cents!

Aug 16, 2008 02:03 AM
Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

My daughter wanted a vest - they are the "in" item in fashion - at Macy's they were $39.  At Ross they were $7.99.  We bought the Ross vest.

Tanya - one person's soap is another person's candle.

Edie

Aug 16, 2008 02:18 AM
Steve Mangus
not active - Oklahoma City, OK

Edie...aboout the annual cost of something.......that $520 we saved by drinking water? How many hours does a person have to work to earn $520? For someone who earns $13 per hour that's a weeks wages, someone earning $20 per hr would work 26 hours--is it worthit?

Two people you may enjoy---David Bach (finish rich.com) and Dave Ramsey (daveramsey.com)

Aug 16, 2008 03:08 AM
Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

David - and that is before tax earnings!  Thanks for the websites!

Edie

Aug 16, 2008 03:15 AM