General Question

Ponderer983's avatar

What are some things to do in order to keep monthly expenses down?

Asked by Ponderer983 (6406points) June 15th, 2012

I’m moving out of my parent’s house for the first time, so money will be tight. I am thinking I will only be getting internet as opposed to both internet ans TV.

Does anyone know how to connect your computer to your TV so that what you are watching on the internet shows on your TV? I so have a desktop, not a laptop. Are there ways to see live TV on the internet, so that I can then stream it to my TV?

Any other suggestions as to how to keep other costs down? My heat and hot water is included in rent, so it’s only electric and anything else I want to hook up, which won’t be much.

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18 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

Eat at home. Learn to cook. Don’t buy snack foods. Budget. Spend on necessities first, until you know how much money you’ll have to use for entertainment and treats. Get a room mate if you can’t make it on your own.

lillycoyote's avatar

A good way to start might be to do a simple budget. I don’t know what type of job/income you have and what your expenses are. If you’re salaried or make an hourly wage and your hours don’t vary much from week to week then your income will generally be the same from week to week, month to month. Then you will have fixed expenses every month like your rent, your car insurance, a car payment, maybe cell phone bill, internet, etc. Deduct the fixed expense you have every month from your take home pay then you know how much you will have to spend on food, entertainment, clothing … and those are the categories where you can spend more or less.

There are a lot of places where money can sort of “leak” out of your life on a daily basis and you kind of don’t notice it. Like @Sunny2 mentioned, learning to cook and eating in and stuff like packing your lunch for work and bring your own coffee. Money spent eating out, buying lunch at work every, Starbuck coffee, those things really add up over the course of a month.

And hooking your T.V. up to your computer is relatively simple, but how you do it depends on what outputs your computer has and what inputs your T.V. has.

flo's avatar

Take care of your teeth. Those dentist bills are horror shows.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Recognize that small daily expenses add up to a lot. A half a pack a day cigarette habit will cost you $150 per month. Avoid them as much as possible.
Paying $2 every other day to use an ATM will cost you $30 per month.
Pay bills on time. One late payment per month will cost you $30.

Avoid alcohol, weed and other drugs. They will blow your budget faster than you can say: “Mommy, may I move back home?”

Be careful about choosing your friends. Like it or not, their spending habits will rub off on you. Avoid high maintenance women and show-off, blowhard men.

flo's avatar

I know it is not a monthly cost but still…

josie's avatar

Try to get over the notion that you deserve stuff you can’t afford. Learn to cook, don’t eat packaged food. Find a girlfriend with a job who thinks that people in a relationship should share expenses. . Ride a bike whenever possible. Don’t spend money in bars or restaurants except on real special occasions.

ragingloli's avatar

Get an electrical outlet strip with an off switch. Devices will suck juice even when powered off.
Walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible. Shower, not bathe. Forget alcohol and fags.

YARNLADY's avatar

A refrigerator is a major electricity user, so don’t open the door any more than necessary. Decide what you want before you open the door, and keep it full so you aren’t cooling empty air.

Do not leave on any lights you are not using, use hand operated devices such as can openers, shavers, and such rather than electric.

woodcutter's avatar

Resist the temptation to get any kind of pet. Ok maybe a beta fish but nothing bigger. Since you won’t be going out, that fish is a cheap friend

gondwanalon's avatar

Brown bag it for lunch each day and learn to love leftovers. You can save as much as $2000 per year that way. Also don’t buy you coffee at expensive places like Starbucks®. Make your our own coffee at home and same about $1000 per year. Also don’t eat at restaurants.

hearkat's avatar

Not only do you want to prep your own meals at home, but it is helpful to also make a weekly menu, so they you are only buying what you need for groceries. I’ve never been good at this, and get mad at myself when I have to throw food away because it’s gone bad.

If you’ll use Air Conditioning in the summer months, Turn the thermostat warmer when you leave for work and when you go to sleep at night.

Run errands on the way home from work to consolidate your trips and save gas. Plus it leaves you more free time on the weekends.

Shop the clearance racks and discount stores. They start putting “back-to-school” items on display in July, before the worst of summer has hit, so you can get some decent in-season bargains that way. Also, buying more classic styles that you can wear over the course of years is better than buying trendy looks that look silly the following year or two.

Avoid “Dry Clean Only” clothing items and get garments that you can launder yourself. If you don’t like to iron, then look for ones that are wrinkle resistant… the garment may be a little more at the outset, but you’ll make up the difference in dry-cleaning or time ironing.

Also, I consider time a more valuable resource than money. For example: an ex of mine would get on my case about paying to go through the car wash rather than doing it myself; but the $20 for 5–10 minutes at the car wash vs. 2 hours washing and waxing by hand – and how ever much those products cost – was a reasonable trade off.

Health and beauty products can cost a mint, so try to find less expensive brands the do the job as well. I like the Tresemme hair products as much as Pantene, for example.

And whatever products you do get, try to ration the amount you use as if you were at the bottom of the bottle – there was a recent graphic going around the web about how the first ¾ of the toothpaste tube is gone in a week, and the last quarter lasts for a month. To measure the amount, I count the number of pumps or if in a squeeze bottle or tube, I measure by dime-size, quarter-size, etc. For smaller amounts, like eye or face lotion, I use landmarks on my finger, such as from the second knuckle to the tip.

I also find that items with a pump still have TONS of product left in them once the pump stops picking it up – so I remove the intake tube from the pump mechanism, replace the top and turn the bottle upside down—I can get as much as two more weeks of use from the residual product!

And as noted above with dental – health maintenance is much cheaper than health care, so take measures to develop healthy habits now that will take you through your adult life.Good luck!!

bolwerk's avatar

You can find odd ways to save on electric. Unplug all appliances you can unplug. Power strips draw power even when there is nothing plugged into them. So do phone chargers supposedly.

The computer: I replaced my old computer and my bill dropped about $20/month(!).* I broke open all my external drives and mounted them internally on my desktop and saved more. I don’t like laptops, even if I have one for when I need it, but they save even more energy.

Avoid the air conditioner as much as possible. If you have a laptop, you can take it to Starbucks or something and use their wifi. In my case, the weather here is often cool until July or so, so a fan in the window works instead of an AC…at least for now. This may be difficult in most apartments, but as far as is possible try to keep the room airtight if you must use the AC so that you can use the AC for a few minutes and enjoy cool air longer.

It’s no exaggeration that incandescent bulbs use more electric too. As much as you can, replace them with compact florescents.

* Granted, electric is unusually expensive where I live.

Ponderer983's avatar

Thanks everyone! I already do most of what you are saying as far as cooking for myself and things like that. I know how to budget and know what I can or can’t spend. I just new a guy (that I no longer speak to) who ripped off his TV and internet through Google or something and I was wondering if anyone knows how to do that sort of stuff. I am more interested in how I can keep the 2 new bills I will have down, the electric and internet.

Sunny2's avatar

@Ponderer983 Why didn’t you tell us that in the first place?

Ponderer983's avatar

@Sunny2 If you read the details, I am mostly asking about turning the internet into TV. While my question was general, I specified in my details

lillycoyote's avatar

@Ponderer983 As I mentioned in my answer above, connecting your T.V, to you computer is not that hard, but it depends on what kind of outputs your computer has and what kind of inputs your T.V. has. What kind of inputs and outputs do the devices, the computer and your television have?

linguaphile's avatar

Hey everyone… I’m making a drastic lifestyle change and will only have ¾ of my usual pay, so ALL your tips are benefitting me. Thank you!!!

Ponderer983's avatar

@linguaphile Glad I could help by asking the question lol.

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