Personal Finance 
23
comments

How to Save Money Every Month with Negotiation

Saving Money Every Month!Trying to find a way to save money every month is a lot like playing Whack a Mole. In April you might save some money by brown bagging your lunch to work. In May you might try some hypermiling driving tips, like easing up on the brakes or driving closer to the speed limit. By June, you’ll probably have stopped brown bagging lunch as often but you’ll try going out to bars less after work. It’s hard keeping everything straight, especially if you haven’t made it a habit.

That’s why the key to saving money every month is to reduce your overall “financial load.” That is, cut or reduce your fixed monthly expenses.
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 Frugal Living 
29
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Downgrade Your Expenses

University GymHow many fixed expenses do you have each month? We have about half a dozen – mortgage, utilities, cable & internet, Netflix, insurance, and the gym. Of those, three are mostly non-negotiable (mortgage, utilities, insurance). For cable & internet, Netflix, and the gym, we’ve considered downgrading our services to reduce their expense.

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 Frugal Living 
8
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Subscription Optimization and Per Use Cost

We have a lot of subscriptions in our household. We pay to subscribe to several magazines (Real Simple, Wired, Portfolio). We are members of our local gym and we have Netflix. We both have cell phones (hers is through her company) and we both have E-ZPasses in our cars. All together we probably have at least a dozen “monthly” services that we pay money for, all of which made sense at the time we subscribed. As our needs and our routines change, some of those services may not longer make much sense.

The idea of subscription optimization and per use cost is very simple. For a month, track how often you use a subscription and calculate the per use cost. If you pay $60 a month for a gym membership and go thirty times a month, that’s a per use cost of $2. Then compare it with the a la carte cost, or how much it would cost if you weren’t a member but still used the service. If it’s cheaper to go a la carte, cancel the subscription.

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 Personal Finance 
25
comments

Skip Gyms, Exercise Outside

Joining a gym can be very expensive. Between the “initiation” fees and the monthly membership fees, I know some people paying nearly three figures a month for their memberships. We’re fortunate in that our neighborhood gym charges a mere $30 a month per person, but it’s subsidized by our local taxes, which we’d pay regardless of our gym membership. It’s something we do because exercising is important to us and while we don’t go as often as we should, we go more often than we would if we didn’t have the membership!

That being said, there are plenty of free alternatives for us, especially once the weather becomes nicer. The best example we have is when my wife and I take walks around a nearby lake. The entire walk is approximately three miles and has some very minor changes in elevation, so you do get your blood pumping, but it’s hardly a “work out.” But, it’s still three miles of walking and that’s better than not walking three miles, right? Best of all, it’s free. While we have to pay some local taxes that go towards it’s upkeep, anyone can visit the park and enjoy the scenery.

As an added bonus, there are little exercise stations all along the path. There are benches for sit-ups, monkey bars, pull-up bars, balance beams, etc. It’s a fun little diversion and you could work in a pretty good workout using each station. And, if you don’t consider walking to be much of a workout, simply run it. When it’s nicer, I like to go on runs occasionally, when it’s a little warmer than freezing, to get the blood flowing.

What are your favorite free exercise options?


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