Lowering Your Personal Expenses

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Personal expenses are usually classified as discretionary

because they are generally quite flexible. And as such, we

tend to overlook their importance when it comes to budgeting

and saving money. This is the category that people keep the

least track of because they really don't want to know how

much money they are wasting. Here are some tips for lowering

personal expenses in three areas: clothing/appearance,

communications/cell phones, and funeral arrangements.


Buy used clothing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor

Statistics' most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey, the

average consumer spends about $1,850 a year on clothing and

its upkeep. You can potentially cut that in half by shopping

at consignment shops, auctions and thrift stores.

If you must buy new, buy in the off season. This is

especially great for kids' clothes because you know they

generally go up one size each year. Plan ahead and budget

for this. You can also buy clothing at name-brand outlets,

factory outlets, or secondary department stores (where

department stores send their overstocks).

Buy less cost-related clothing; choose fabrics and designs

that are easy both to wear and maintain. Watch out for "Dry

Clean Only" and instead choose garments that you can care

for at home.

Cut back on makeup and perfumes. Or look for sales and buy

generic brands. Most people won't notice the difference.

Donate old clothes to charitable organizations and keep

track of their values to use as a charitable donation tax

write-off. Go to for a guide

on the value of donated items.

Communications/Cell Phones

Instead of calling, use e-mail. It's free (if you already

have an Internet connection) and you will save money on your

long distance phone bill. Also, comparison shop long

distance plans and find one that works well with your

calling style.

Write a letter. It only costs a bit more than a quarter to

send and it will help you improve your writing and

communication skills.

Keep track of your calling minutes to make sure you don't go

over your allotted time. Most long distance and cell phone

companies have high charges for extra minutes. If you

consistently exceed your plan's minutes, upgrade your plan.

The extra monthly cost for the next step up is usually much

less than the extra charges for more minutes.

Shop around for cell phone plans. Cell phone companies and

plans vary widely, so compare carefully. Now you can even

take your cell number with you if you switch providers.

Before switching from your current company, call them and

tell them you are about to switch and see if they will match

or beat their competitor's offer.

Funeral Arrangements

Make your wishes known about your funeral, memorial, or

burial arrangements in writing. Don't leave this decision to

the ones you leave behind.

Before selecting a funeral home, call several and ask for

prices of specific goods and services, or visit them to

obtain an itemized price list. You are entitled to this

information by law and, by using it to comparison shop, you

can save hundreds of dollars.

Many funeral homes offer prepaid plans, but be cautious

about prepaying because there may be risks involved. For

information about the least costly options, which could save

you several thousand dollars, contact a local memorial

society, which is usually listed in the Yellow Pages under

funeral services.

Keep your discretionary spending in check by modifying your

spending habits. Evaluate your apparel and communications

spending and see how you can improve. Jot down your wishes

concerning your future memorial service and put them with

your will and trust. Downsize or even eliminate those extra

dollars that just disappear each month and put them to good

use, such as paying off debt or investing. Soon you'll be on

your way to a healthier financial you.


© Simple Joe, Inc.

Chemain Evans is a quality control specialist for Simple Joe,

Inc., makers of the popular Simple Joe's Expense Tracker PC

software. Expense Tracker is a quick and simple way to keep

track of your expenses and stay within your budget. Expense


is ideal for tracking personal, business, home and club




  1. We have switched to pay as you cell phones and it forces us to budget our minutes each month. Once you get used to it, it's not so bad and there are a lot of options in the types of phones you can get these days. is a good place to start.




Powered by Blogger.
Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan
The One Income Dollar. All rights reserved.