A major part of a bankruptcy consultation with me involves a review of your monthly expenses. We do this not only because your expenses comprise an entire part of your bankruptcy schedules but also to see if you’ve got a money leak.
In case you haven’t heard the term, a money leak is like an unseen hole in your pocket. You end up losing money somewhere along the line, and it impacts your ability to support yourself and your family. Locating and plugging the money leak is the first step in helping you stabilize your finances so you don’t end up in debt again.
Here are 32 ways to plug the money leaks in your life.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Use energy-saving lightbulbs rather than standard ones.
- If you’ve got to travel less than a mile each way, walk rather than driving.
- Drink water rather than soft drinks.
- Make iced tea from tea bags rather than from powdered mix – it’s healthier and cheaper.
- Make coffee at home in the morning, and take it to work in an insulated mug.
- Buy in bulk.
- Get a second freezer to hold extra meat and perishables you buy in bulk.
- If fruit is about to go bad, cut it up and freeze it for smoothies and ingredients.
- Don’t use plastic utensils or paper plates. They’re bad for the environment and cost more.
- Use cloth napkins.
- Choose a bank with branches where you live and work so you can cut down on ATM fees.
- Unsubscribe from all retailer email lists – this way, you’ll be less tempted by their weekly sales.
- Make a list when you go food shopping, and stick to it.
- Kill your cable or satellite television service, then use Netflix and Hulu Plus to feed your TV addiction.
- Borrow ebooks from your local library rather than spending a fortune at Amazon.
- If you’re a big music buyer, use Spotify instead of buying tracks on iTunes.
- Eat before you go food shopping.
- Cancel your magazine subscriptions and read the articles online.
- Plan your errands in advance so you can get them out of the way at once rather than taking multiple car trips.
- When flying, travel on Wednesdays (the cheapest day to fly).
- When renting a car or a hotel room, use Priceline and Hotwire rather than paying full price.
- Wash your car on your own, using water in a bucket rather than an open hose.
- Invite friends to your house for dinner rather than going out to a restaurant.
- Cancel your home phone service and use a basic cell phone or, better yet, Skype.
- If you want to get healthy, take up running or biking rather than joining a gym.
- Drink tap water. If your tap water isn’t good, buy a filtration device for your kitchen sink.
- Sell old clothing online or donate it for the tax deduction.
- Whenever buying something online, go to Google and type in the name of the retailer and the words “promo code.” Use those promo codes to save money.
- If you shop online, join Ebates.com to get money back. It’s free, and it works.
- Fill prescriptions with generics whenever possible.
- Pack a lunch for work.
Yes, there are probably another few hundred things you can do to plug the money leaks in your life. The point of this list is to give you a few ideas for ways you may be able to look at your monthly expenses and make some smarter decisions.
With any luck, you won’t need my help.