Lower Your Expenses for More Freedom
To build wealth I think the best thing to focus on is lowering your expenses as apposed to raising income. One reason to do this is lowering expenses is a tax-free endeavor. Any extra income you make will be taxed. Another reason to have low overhead, and companies do this all the time, is to have less of a need for money in general. That in itself gives you more freedom. You don't have to work as hard at your job if you have less of a need for money. It's nice to have options in life, and having low expenses gives you more options. I want to concentrate on three main areas that we spend money on and see if we can't come up with some ideas on how to lower expenditure in these areas.
The first and biggest outgo of money every month is housing. Even if you own your property outright you still have to pay for insurance, property taxes, upkeep, and utilities. You will always have some kind of housing cost. Accept that right off the bat. One way to keep this cost low is to move or live in an area of the country that has cheap housing. Once you have locked in to a 30 year fixed then pay that sucker off by sending as much coin towards it as you can. Having a paid off house is about as secure as you can get even though you never truly own it because of dumb property taxes. Another way to have cheap housing is to rent a low cost place like an apartment or room. I rent a room right now, and it's very affordable. There are some other crazy ideas as well such as living in a camper or trailer, or living in a boat. For those really adventurous you could try living in a cheaper country.
The second area most people spend money on is transportation. This usually means a personal automobile. I think it's really dumb that society is set up to force us to each have our own car. I much rather prefer walking and taking public transportation. An unlimited bus pass where I live is $35 dollars a month. Think about what that amount of money provides you in the car world. Not much! Cars are a giant money suck. Aim to use your car less or dump it altogether if you can. You could also buy a bicycle to go a longer distance than walking. And anytime you're about to crank up your car think in your mind if there's a way not to go where you think you need to go, or can you put off the trip another day. If there's no other reasonable way to get there and you have to go now then take the car. So as far as the car goes pay it off, keep it maintained, and drive it less.
The third area of big money expenditure is food. I've been trying to kick this habit since I was a little kid and haven't quite done it yet. In fact it seems to have gotten worse. Eating out is a big no no if you are watching those dollars. At a sit down restaurant you're paying for a mark up on the food, sales tax, and tip none of which you would pay for at the grocery store. A lot of people eat their lunch out every day. That adds up man! It takes a little planning, but it can save a lot of money to depend on the grocery store primarily for the fuel for your body. The dollar menu at fast food places is cheap too. I would limit this though because it's usually not very healthy.
I hope I gave you a few ideas on how to lower your expenses in the big three areas of life. These big three will always cost us as long as we're alive, and they are recurring expenses. Just be thinking about ways you can part with less of your money to get your needs met.
Lower Your Expenses
© 2013 Blair Williamson, ChFC®