Back to financial basics

Money you don’t really need to spend: 10 ways to simplify your life.

It’s a new year – start by making a resolution to simplify your life by cutting out those needless extra expenses. Here are 10 ways to cut back on the money you don’t need to spend.

Number Ten:
Pay in cash – this means you will always know exactly how much money you have. With credit cards, debt can add up quickly and you may not pay them off as fast as you would like to. When you pay in cash, it’s also a great feeling because you know it’s done and paid for and you won’t have any bills piling up.

Number Nine:
Don’t get someone else to do it for you – stop paying extra to get things done for you when you can do them yourself. Instead of automatically taking your shirts to the dry cleaners, wash them by hand and hang them to dry.

Number Eight:
Eat out less – Visit your local supermarket and pick up fresh ingredients to make homemade meals. You can also take your leftovers to work or have them the next day for dinner.

Number Seven:
Shop with a purpose – Whether you’re grocery shopping or attending to other errands, it’s best to shop with a list. A list reminds you of your reason for shopping and to resist impulse items. It is also a good idea to plan your meals in advance, so that when you get to the store you know exactly what you need to make meals throughout the week. Try to avoid shopping when you’re hungry.

Number Six:
Get some fresh air – Walking is good for you, and it’s cheaper than driving. If it’s possible for you to hike or bike to your destination, do it.

Number Five:
Keep your car longer- do you really need that brand new car? Maybe your old one will operate just fine for a few more years. If you maintain the car you have now, you may be able to put off buying a new one for quite awhile.

Number Four:
Give up your car altogether – if you live in a city with well-equipped public transportation, chances are you might not even need a car. When you add up the expenses of car ownership including insurance, maintenance and parking, the costs may outweigh the benefits. Make a detailed list of what you actually need your car for. Try renting a car if you need it for a weekend away, or for the monthly trip to Costco you could take advantage of a car-sharing service such as AutoShare or Zipcar.

Number Three:
Find cheaper ways to entertain yourself – instead of going to the movie theatre, rent a movie, relax and make some popcorn. Movies in the comfort of your own home can be a great way to spend an evening. You can go even further and rent movies from your local library. All you need is a library card and you will have plenty of movies, books and CD’s at your disposal.