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Save Money Cut Cost During Hard Times

Updated on July 8, 2013

We are seeing gas and food prices go up and wondering when it will end. Some of you are looking for ways to cut cost and make ends meet.

It amazes me the people I see online whining about not having enough money for groceries right after they’ve shown off their new pedicure, sporting pictures of themselves with gourmet coffee or bragging about a new handbag they’ve purchased. I’m going to share with you a list of things that are not necessities and can be cut out of your budget.


This is a new thing women have decided they have to have but in reality is not necessary. A few decades ago women painted their own toenails and lived to tell about it. You can soak your feet in warm soapy water and sand your calluses with a pumice stone or other device sold at your local department store or pharmacy.

Unless you have an extreme weight problem or health issue keeping you from bending over and reaching your feet you should be able to polish your nails without any problem. Practice makes perfect and look at the money you’ll save.


Just like pedicures, getting a manicure isn't something you absolutely need. Some just get in the habit of having a service and can't imagine life without it but when you have to cut back this is one of the best ways to do so.

Buy a few new colors the next time you are out and experiment. You can even go on Pinterest to get ideas for fun ways to decorate your own fingernails.

There are clear coats you can put on to protect and lengthen the life of your manicure. Put a new coat on every few days to keep your nails fresh and chip free.

Hair Salons

You can do some things yourself like dying your roots if you have gray hair. Henna is a safer hair color and most salons only use harsh chemicals.

Believe it or not the easiest hairstyle to maintain is long hair. You can put it up in a ponytail or bun or wear it down loose. There are many different things you can do with long hair. Short hair has to be cut on a regular basis, needs to be styled and is higher maintenance.


Gourmet Coffee

Another new item we’ve acquired in the past few decades. Not only is it not a requirement, they are loaded with extra caffeine, calories and in some cases fat none of us need. There are flavored creamers you can buy that make it taste better if you can’t stand to drink it black.

Better yet switch to green tea, it’s better for you anyway.

I overheard a senior citizen talking to his buddy, "Kids today don't really like coffee, they like the syrup and whipped cream they add on top."

Paid Television

Watching too much television isn’t good for any of us. And how many times have you surfed through all three thousand channels only to decide there is nothing on and end up watching one of the networks you don’t even have to pay for?

I was shocked to find how many free channels we have when we cut our cable a few years a go. We have a channel called Cool TV, it's a music channel that actually plays music videos instead of reality shows. That is cool.

I know people that pay a hundred dollars a month or more just for cable. They could be putting that money in savings, investments or paying off a credit card bill.

Do yourself a favor and cancel your cable or satellite service. It wastes time and money.

If you can’t get reception without it, buy an antennae, it will pay for itself in one or two months.

You may go through withdrawals for a bit but find something else to do, like oh I don’t know maybe take a walk, visit a friend or take up a hobby like bird watching or star gazing.

Avoid a new cell phone contract.

After that initial two-year plan you’ve paid for your phone. You do not have to start a new contract. Most cell phone service providers will keep you on your original plan even when rates go up and they will go up, they always do. You can buy another phone if yours wears out or disappears. Sometimes you can find a used one that will work just as well. Just make sure it’s keyed for your provider.

When you sign a new contract and get another phone you usually have to pay more and you are locked in with that company until the time is up. If later you decide you want to change to another service you are stuck.

You can keep your same cell phone number even if you change services, provided you didn’t leave the old company owing them money.

You do not need the latest cell phone, the one you have probably still works just fine.

Cell Phone use

When possible use WiFi unless you have unlimited internet access. Using your cell service can rack up bills.

You don't need to be connected to your phone at all times even though this seems to be the trend. You can run your bill up pretty quick if you aren't careful depending on what kind of cell phone plan.

Gym membership

You can exercise at home or at the park for less. Look on YouTube for ways to work out without going to a gym. Your health is important but there are still ways to move, lift and get your heart rate up without paying a membership.

The Latest Electronic Gadget

The funny thing about new appliances is that we didn’t know we had to have one until we got it. Take cell phones, microwaves and even cars; before their invention people got along just fine and had no idea what they were missing. After having them for a while people decided they were a necessity and can't live without one.

Do yourself a favor and don’t buy any new inventions unless it's necessary for your job otherwise you may fall into the trap.

If you have the extra money to spend, great, but when we are trying to cut back and stay within a budget we have to reevaluate our priorities and some of these things can wait.

Buying a child a cell phone.

Children are always under the care of an adult or at least they should be so they do not need a cell phone… in most cases.

If they walk home alone in a dangerous neighborhood or are left home alone without a land line then it makes sense. Most kids I see with cell phones are not in this situation. They have a home phone and are never alone where they would need to call their parents.

Peer pressure is the main cause of this. One parent that had more money than sense bought their child a cell phone so the other moms and dads not wanting to be outdone got their kids one too.

If your child doesn’t need one then you might reconsider. Yes, they’ll whine and pout but if you explain to them the economy and the fact you can’t afford it they should understand. If they want one badly enough let them find a way to make money to pay for it.

Expensive Clothes

Fashion is fun and we like to look nice. You can still look good without buying high dollar designer duds. People do it everyday and get by just fine. There are lower end look a likes as well as consignment shops selling career clothes if you work in an office environment and need to dress professional.

Before making that purchase ask yourself these questions. Do I need it? Do I have room in my closet? Can I do without it?

Dry Cleaning

I mostly buy easy care clothing that doesn't need to be professionally cleaned. I make exceptions for coats or other outerwear. I take them in to be cleaned at the end of winter and store them until I need them again.

Unless you are an executive that has to wear a suit everyday you can get by without clothing that has to be dry cleaned.

You can find lots of nice easy care pieces. It costs a lot of money to have your clothes done professionally and it adds up over time. Learn to iron your own shirts or buy wrinkle free.

Enjoy simple things in life-

There are a lot of fun things you can do that are free:

Walk in the park, go for a hike, free concerts in the park, public gardens, a picnic, play a board game, watch the sunset or sunrise, bike ride, read a library book and a whole lot more. Learn to enjoy nature and the little things in life.


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    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Angie, I have not idea but I've lately seen a few whining about not having enough money right after having a pedicure done or going to Starbucks. People need to get their priorities in order.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      This is a good list, Pamela ... but it amazed me as I would have thought that it would be obvious that this was all stuff that should have been ditched first off when the last dip of the recession struck in 2008/9.

      And I will never understand the nail bar culture! What is the matter with people? Why can they not tell the difference between necessities and luxuries?

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Will, it has always amazed me where people's priorities lie. Some of the most poor people you'll ever see are the ones spending money at the state fairs and amusement parks then they can't pay their electric bill or buy groceries.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      It's amazing what people think they must have when they can't afford it. American 'poor' people would be considered quite wealthy in many countries.

      While waiting to pick up my son from an emergency room, I watched all the 'indigents' waiting to see the woman who would place them on a state plan for the poor. I noticed that they all had far better cell phones than I had.

      What does that tell you?

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks, Mentalist. I've thought about getting Netflix but haven't yet. It would tempt me to watch more television and I don't need that.

      Rob, we cut back where we can, for some a cell phone is important but for many of us we can do without some of the extras we only think we need.

      Thanks for reading, Beata.

      Lesley, some of these things were created during a fruitful period when things were going well but when they take a downward turn we have to cut back.

    • profile image

      Lesleysherwood 6 years ago

      Very good advice. I agree whole souled. I guess my only money wasting vice is coffee. Although I have now decided not to drink as many in cafes as I used to at over £2 a cup. Voted UP

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia

      Always useful to read, thank you:)

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 6 years ago from Midwest USA

      This is a great list. For me, ways of saving money are not having a cell phone, digital or cable TV, having my wife cut my hair, eating out as little as twice a month, and learning to make large meals that create a lot of leftovers. Stingy? Probably. Conservative? Definitely. In the long run, though, the longer I grow accustomed to living without certain things, the less I want to own them again. Now, I'm sure at some time I'll cave and get a phone because I think I'm the only person in state without one. But until then I'll survive in my so-called bunker of a life; eating last week's lasagna; and speaking on a land-line.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      I agree with and follow most of your suggestions Pamela...I don't have cable television and traded it with a Netflix account.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      RLW, living through the first recession taught me lessons I have never forgot; live within my means. Unfortunately so many want to live like the rich and don't realize that the economy is and always will be a roller coaster ride, sometimes it's up but it will always go back down. We need to be prepared when it does.

      JamaGenee, I didn't realize they had phones like that and it's a great idea. Kids don't need something real fancy someone will just steal it anyway.

      Forexpulse, we need to put our priorities in order and cut out the extra stuff we don't need. Thanks for reading.

    • forexpulse profile image

      forexpulse 6 years ago from Califorrina

      Good advice! I read some hub earlier on this topic. Thank you for sharing!!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      I gave up a lot of the stuff you mention years ago because the idea of having the money in MY bank account appealed to me more than it being in some corporation's. So when the economy and my income took a nosedive, I was already on the Thrift Track. Never ceased to amaze me, tho, when I worked for the gas company and people would call to say they couldn't pay their bill because they had to pay their cell phone bill (for 4 or 5 family members, no less).

      As for giving children their own cell for safety if they walk to and from school, there ARE phones available that can be programmed so the kid can ONLY call home or 911 and will ONLY accept calls from a parent's number(s). No internet, no games apps, no "fun" stuff that adds to the bill. ;D

    • rwelton profile image

      rwelton 6 years ago from Sacramento CA

      P n R -

      Very timely, many people missed the boat when the economy took a dive and realized, too late, that their spending habits outpaced their income - or lack thereof. Looking at the (mostly)vegetarian lifestyle will also save a bundle at the grocery store. Thanks for the tips. Enjoyed Joe video.


    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Ktrapp, if it's helping making you money then it's an asset and worth keeping. It's those services we don't need that can be cut out.

      Kerlynb, some items are worth the expense like a nice pair of boots you can wear for years to come or a good coat.

      Cousin Fudd, we can all use a little extra money in our pockets.

    • profile image

      Cousin Fudd 6 years ago

      Great ideas to cut back and save some money.

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      Ouuuuiiiii!!! So I'm on the right track! I'm doing all these things, except for buying expensive clothes every now and then :( I also try to invest in hard-wearing shoes, which sometimes cost me a lot :( Guess I have to learn to look for alternatives.

      I like your suggestion about enjoying the simple things in life like free passes at the museum, parks, and quality family time. I really would like to save up for the rainy days and retire when I get to my 50s. I still have a lot of time in my hands but would like to start planning early. Your hub just reminds me of my long-term goals.

      Thanks Pamela N Red :)

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      These are all really good money-saving tips. When I think of the expenses that we have that didn't even used to exist (digital cable, internet, cell phones) etc. I am astounded. Of course some of these are luxuries and can be cut out if only it was easy to transform back to simpler times. Of course some of these devices help make us many so they do add value, as well. A lot of food for thought. Thanks.