Lowering Your Cost of Living
Typically, when people hear the phrase cost of living, they tend to think about factors that are out of their control, and thus something that they can't really affect. However, just like many things in life, lowering your cost of living is something that you can easily do on your own. To get your cost of living under control, keep in mind these guidelines. Remember these are only guidelines, and as such are only a starting place.
- Set aside some time. Since the whole process of lowering your cost of living can actually take a bit of time make sure that you have the time to do it right. Ideally, you will want to do as thorough of a job as possible, so plan on spending at least half a day working on this.
- Do a debt assessment. Sit down with a pad of paper, a pen, and as many of your bills as you can get your hands on. Write these down so that you know where you stand, and how much work you have to get rid of them. You will want to be as accurate as you possibly can so that you don't end up getting blindsided with some fines or late fees for unpaid debts. Don't forget your monthly bills when you do this as well.
- Create a budget. Using the debt assessment as your starting point, begin creating a budget that you can live off of. Figure out how much you need to spend in order to get everything paid off. If possible, create the budget in such a way that you are able to pay off one of your outstanding bills as quickly as possible. One way to do this is to pay more than the minimum amount on one of your bills, and then the minimum amount on the remaining bills. Once you have one bill paid off, take that total amount that you had been paying and apply it in conjunction with the minimum payment you had previously been making. Repeat the process with your remaining debts, and you will soon find yourself without any debt.
- Look for ways to reduce expenses. Go through your budget and determine where you can lower your overall expenses. For example, cut back on going out to eat so often, or going to see movies, and so on. Drive less, or more efficiently, so that you save money on gas. Think of every method imaginable, and use the ones that look like it will remotely work.
- Become a bargain shopper. One of the best methods for lowering your cost of living is by becoming a bargain shopper. Look around for the best possible bargains on everything that you may want to purchase, and get the ones that cost the least. This can include everything from gas, to groceries, to cars, to homes.