This week Canadian blogger Finance Fox published a list of 11 things he does without for the sake of saving. It’s a broad and useful guide to trimming your budget by doing away with obviously frivolous expenses like bottled water and ATM fees. But some of Finance Fox’s don’t needs are items others of us simply couldn’t do without (hello, land line!). So how can you customize your ‘do not buy’ list to do away with the superfluous stuff while still maintaining your quality of life?
1. Examine your spending habits. Programs like MINT are fantastic when it comes to helping categorize expenses and totaling up your budget. See that you’re spending a small fortune on organic cheese puffs? Throw those on your ‘do not buy’ list.
2. Negotiate. Finance Fox refuses to pay initiation fees. You should too. It’s frustrating that getting a deal on your cellphone plan is as complex as a high-level diplomatic negotiation, but such are the times in which we live. Make counteroffers and tell the salesperson what you’re willing to pay. If they can’t meet your terms, don’t be afraid to walk.
3. Don’t forget the little things. It’s the tiny habitual purchases that add up to lots of wasted money. Whether it’s fancy coffees, daily chocolate bars or weekly sushi lunches, look at the patterns in your little indulgences and trim accordingly.
4. Adapt your lifestyle to your budget. Don’t abstain from the things you love by forbidding yourself to purchase them. Instead, create workarounds and refashion your lifestyle to match your budget. If you love to workout but can’t handle the $100 monthly gym fee, put the membership on your ‘do not buy’ list, and create a frugal, outdoor fitness regime to accommodate your exercising needs.