Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cutting Expenses?

People always come to financial messages boards and ask for help with their budget. They then proceed to say they should spend less on groceries. They are spending say $50-100/week for their families. But they hope to save $25/week.

I think that's nice, but to be honest it's a drop in the bucket and does not solve the problem. What? Well think about it. The real budget breakers are things like mortgages/rent, car loans, cable, internet, cell phones, etc.

That's where the fat is and should be trimmed first because those items usually take up larger portions of the budget than you can imagine. Why would you bother saving $25/week in groceries when you have a $500/month car loan? Or $120/month in cable? You don't even have to change your eating habits, in fact you can eat out more if you dumped the car.

Or if you over bought on a mortgage and pay 40% instead of 30%? What would happen if you had that extra 10% in your pocket? Could you afford cable, internet, groceries with that extra 10%?

If so, then why are people looking at pinching pennies for groceries when there are bigger budget busters that should be examined first?


Anonymous said...

Good post! You should add a mini poll asking which budget category your readers would trim first. I have no idea what I'd pick, though :-)


Anonymous said...

As always, a great post.

It may be too cost effective to get rid of a large house and downsize right away. That takes time. But dumping a car, cell phone etc. is a sure fire way to start.

I'd rather not give up anything on the eating well side.

elizabeth said...

Great post, and I couldn't agree more. When I finally decided to get out of credit card debt last year, my first call was to Comcast to terminate my cable TV service. My life is better for it, and better for the healthier food I can now afford to buy (although I still shop w/coupons and buy store brands to keep the cost low).

Living Almost Large said...

But if you look at my poll, most people are voting cutting groceries, not eating out, cable, etc?

Fabulously Broke in the City said...

Because it's easier to pinch on groceries because they're smaller purchases, and more variable than let's say, a cellphone.

I do have to say, Husband and I do use our cellphones quite a bit as a regular home phone (we don't have one) so it's a bit of a necessity. And I use it to call him all the time since we have a plan that has free minutes between us.

We also have no cable tv (online Youtube is our entertainment).. and we play free vide (flash) games online *sigh*

Living Almost Large said...

Why not eating out? What about cable, internet, home phones? I think the problem is most people cut groceries first as the poll is showing, but leave cable, internet, phone. I'd cut those first because right there I'd get $100/month for cable. Then another $60/month cell phones, and I use mine a lot. I guess I don't see that sort of savings immediately happening with groceries.