How I Reduce Spending Every Month

I wrote a quick off the cuff comment on Quora which answered the question “Why are most people broke?” As of today, my answer has been viewed about 250,000 times. Since it’s received so much viewership, I decided to write a more expanded version of it.

There’s always been the two groups: “group save” vs. “group make more”. But today I want to focus on how we can get more efficient with our money and stretch it out a bit more. I’ve put together a quick list that I personally use to reduce my own expenses. Some of these may hit close to home for you and some may seem like an outlandish suggestion. Feel free to pick and choose:

Rent

This is the biggest expense item on everyone’s sheet. It’s also where you can save the biggest amount. Living in an affordable part of town, or outside of a gated community, or an expensive apartment means you can put back hundreds or even thousands of dollars back in your savings account. You can take the extra saved money and invest it, pay off debt or splurge on it.

Groceries

My shopping list predictably includes meat, nuts, coconut milk, veggies, milk, bread, eggs, sugar, cheese, coffee, and high quality ice cream. I have significantly reduced my bread, rice, sugar, and dessert intake. I rarely buy anything that is packaged so no $4 Kudos bars or $4 Tropicana Orange Juice. Buying raw food and non-packaged goods reduces my bill (also keeps my belly reduced too). I avoid high retail types of grocery stores like Safeway and Albertson and the ilk. They are there primarily to sell you pancake mix, sugary yogurts & cereals and granola bars. Thanks Safeway, but I’m on to you.

Cars

I’m a car guy. Over the last 15 years I’ve owned some nice machinery and have always paid for my cars on cash except for my latest which is financed. I’m not wasting money on cars for now. If I hit it big, I’ll be sure to park an Italian Stallion in my stable. But until then, no to fancy cars and cars that depreciate very quickly. Every time you go and sell your used fancy car you lose thousands of bucks. Also, I’m not buying a German car more than 5 years old and it’s also going to have an extended warranty. Stay safe and get a used Japanese car. Pay it in cash. 

Flying

I’ve been traveling international since I was 3 years old so it’s become a part of my identity to get on a plane and explore. Traveling is a splurge that I will never sacrifice. It’s what I live for. But there’s no way I would spend 3x or 5x the money flying business or first class. I would never use my credit card points on them either. I’d much rather spend the extra money at my destination. It’s way too much money for slightly more room and better food for a flight that lasts just a few hours. Economy class all day every day.

 

Hotels

Are you the Airbnb type or hotel type? There are pros and cons to both. But for a price conscious consumer like me, Airbnb is an option that has worked out more than a couple of times. Airbnb worked out for me in Austria, Italy and Switzerland. I got nice places at nice prices.  If I really want to live it up I go the hotel route. Airbnb gives you pretty good stuff in nice locations for not a lot of money. Try it.

Entertainment

I don’t go to live concerts (rarely), I don’t pay extra to watch movies in 3D or IMAX, unless they are truly amazing movies. And I definitely am not interested in purchasing to watch sports games at a stadium. And to add to that, you won’t see me paying $200 to watch an expensive play or a musical tour.  

Drink and Drugs

This is simple because I don’t indulge one bit in alcohol or any type of drug. They aren’t good for you and they drain your funds. More money in my bank please.

Clothing

As I get older I don’t want tons of clothes. I don’t need 9 pants, 20 dress shirts and 16 tshirts. What I do want is fewer clothes that are really higher in quality. For example, You can get a $9 tshirt from Old Navy. Or you can go to Banana Republic and get a $30 tshirt that has been made with a higher thread count of fabric. It will also last you thrice as long.

Owning fewer clothing means less confusion in the morning when running out the door. Branded clothing is more expensive and usually just a price gouge for no reason. I avoid brands and especially brands with massive logos. I actually hide clothing brands if I can. Buy less, but when you do, buy really high quality.

Toiletries

No fancy luxury cosmetic products for me that come in shiny beautiful packages. The point of soap is to break oil apart. Everything after that fact is a nice to have. I don’t buy fancy shampoos, fancy lotions, fancy hand soaps and no $25 hair pomade gels. The less products you douse your body with the better. A simple shampoo, body gel and basic conditioner are good for me. To be fair, I use a slightly upper scale shaving cream, because you know, Barbasol.

Credit

I never ever keep a revolving balance on my credit cards. I charge them and pay them off immediately. I do not carry credit card balances from month to month. Ever. When you do this you pay a toxic finance charge which is calculated using daily interest. You are better off taking cash, rolling it up, and torching it to warm your hands on a cold night. Complete waste. Say no to wasting money on interest.

Eating Out

This is a big one for everyone. I refuse to go to restaurants for the ambiance, or super upscale places. You won’t catch me dining at a place that is even $40/head. I skip appetizers and get the main course. I stick to simple places known for making excellent food at digestible prices. But I like my desserts so I’ll make a twice a month run to Cheese Cake Factory to try a new flavor.

Airplane Food

Being hungry on a plane is expensive. There was one time where I had to order food on a flight because I was feeling sick with hunger. Always eat beforehand. I personally have Priority Pass lounge access so I usually can eat at any airport in the world for free. In April 2017 I took a vacation to Iceland and Sweden. When we landed in Sweden, I found an amazing Priority Pass lounge and we went in. We must have eaten $100 worth of food before heading into the city, for free. Food in Sweden is slightly pricey, and food prices in Iceland are insanely pricely.

Gadgets

I don’t replace my phone frequently. Most smartphones purchased within the last 3 years are capable of doing everything that I need. 5G is coming out, and soon 6G, then 7G…it will never end. I’m using 4G today so I’m not going to refresh my phone for a 5G one. Forget it. Also say no to cheap gadgets that you play for a week and then throw away. Only buy the stuff that really really appeals to you.

 

Useful Gadgets On Amazon Worth Splurging On

If you’ve been following me on my journey so far you’ll know that I advocate of spending money on things you really love. It’s a tough deal to deny yourself all the things that you really want throughout your life. Man doesn’t live on water and bread only. Rather than buying mediocre nonsense across the board, figure out what you really can’t live without, then get it. If it’s painful to live without it, then go get it. For those folk who get what I’m saying, I’m not advocating purchasing a used Ferrari on a credit card on a $56k salary. Your splurge shouldn’t bankrupt you, or even hurt your financial position. If a splurge bankrupts you, then it’s not a splurge, it’s a suicide. No suicides please. 

And so today, I’ve put together a list of gadgets that are useful and that you can splurge on. No dumb trinkets that you use for two days and forget about. The word “gadget” usually implies a useless device that is sensational and not useful. But not today…today we are going for the useful stuff that can actually improve the quality of your life.

True Wireless Ear Buds (Earphones But Without Wires)

I think we are at a point in time in technology where we don’t have to put up with wires anymore. We’ve been tangled up in wires for the last 3 decades which started out with the walkman. Those days are long gone. It’s time to move to a slightly more refined way of living. Say no to cords and go wireless! Grab a wireless bluetooth connected ear bud. Once you try them it’s really hard to go back to the caveman days.

The Tranya T2  is the choice that I made for myself. It was like $40 and does the job just fine. You can use the earbud to control volume, skip songs and movies, activate Google Assistant etc. I also found out they were durable the hard way. I left them in my sweater pockets and sent them for a wash. Then to add insult to injury, I put it in intense heat in the dryer. Also, coincidentally while at the gym, I was walking up the stairs when the right ear piece popped off and went crashing 10 feet below to the bottom story. Still working like a champ and I recommend them.

Here are a few other options that aren’t crazy expensive but offer good value.

RAYCON E50 

G-WACK J29 

JBL 

SoundPeats

Pasonomi

For the most discerning and demanding customer there are premium options available like the WF-1000XM3 and Apple’s AirPods. The Sony will also offer noise cancelling functionality. But why spend 3x when you can get most of the benefit for 40% of the price? Save a few bucks and splurge on something else.

Tile Mate (Locate Your Lost Belongings With Your Phone)

Everyday, I spend a cumulative of 10 minutes searching for my TV remote, wallet, my watch, my keys and my phone. It’s gotten to a point where it’s driving me crazy. I know I should be more mindful of where I put stuff. But that’s where the Tile Mate helps out so much. It helps you locate your items.

AnkerPower Core (A Portable Battery To Charge Your Phone)

I don’t know what kept me so long from purchasing one of these. Again, my wife was ahead of the game and got to this before I could. It turned out to be an amazing buy when traveling, especially international trips. We could charge our phones up to 5 or 6 times without having to worry about finding a charging outlet in a random city. Here is the 10,000 miliAmp and the more powerful 20,000 miliAmp.

Samsung Micro SDXC (Give Your Phone More Storage When You Are Running Low)

One of the biggest issues I’ve had is to constantly dump all the photos off my phone to my laptop to free up memory. Or, if I am going on a long trip, I’m careful on how many pictures and videos I take for the fear of running out of space and being stranded. Call it storage anxiety. I solved this anxiety by just getting a micro storage card. It’s tons of extra space whenever you want it. You can get a card with 32G, 63GB, 128G, 256G, 512G. 

Amazon Echo Dot-3rd Gen (An Assistant To Help You Out)

I picked up an Echo Dot (3rd Gen) and I’m finding it more and more useful as I interact with the device over long periods of time You can ask it a variety of commands and questions:

Alexa, what is the Stock Price of Facebook?

Alexa, what will the weather be like tomorrow?

Alexa, read me the news headlines for today.

Alexa, play me a lullaby.

Alexa, can you set the temperature to 70 degrees?

Alexa, how many teaspoons are in a cup?

Alexa, please set a timer for 10 minutes.

Alexa, set my alarm for 6 am tomorrow.

Alexa, give me some ideas for breakfast.

Alexa, please call my phone.

You get the idea, this hockey puck looking device is getting super useful.

Yootech Wireless Phone Charger (Charge Your Phone Wirelessly)

Using a wireless charger is a quick way of charging your phone. You don’t have to fiddle with the wire to connect it. Just drop it on the charger and it starts charging. I usually use the Yootech Wireless Charger at night before heading to bed. It’s charge is on the slow side, but you don’t have to fiddle with cords and aligning the plug with the socket at night. 

Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (Powerful Speakers That are Controlled By Your Phone)

These bluetooth speakers provide a lot of sound power and can be used outside at the beach, at a park, at a picnic, or when your simply in your backyard entertaining and BBQ’ing. I also use these to listen to podcasts when I’m taking a shower. Super useful. Here are the most promising brands that give the most value.

Anker Bluetooth speaker

Ultimate Ears Boom 3

JBL

BOSE

SmartWatch (A Phone On Your Wrist, Almost)

Hardware devices are progressing as time passes. Technologically we are moving forward. We’ve gone from the PC to laptops to tablets to smartphones to wearables. Wearables undoubtedly is the future. I believe within the next 20 years we will be wearing glasses that act as an unifying device. Everything will be overlayed over your real vision. The device will become us. Augmented reality at its best.

Smartwatches are a step in this direction. When it comes to smartwatches, I don’t settle on the cheapest model, I would personally go for the best. As an android user the Galaxy gets my choice.

Samsung Galaxy SmartWatch

Apple Watch Series 3

Google Wifi Wall Mount-3 Pack (Increase Your Wifi Power Around The House)This is a great device to get strong wifi around your house. Just plug these puck looking devices into an outlet around your house and you should be covered by an invisible mesh of connectivity. No messy wires sticking behind your wifi hardware. It’s clean and simple. Check it out here.