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One of the most important lessons almost all of us learn too late is cutting out unnecessary expenses. Are you always thinking of ways to cut all these pesky unnecessary expenses out, but don’t want to make big sacrifices to your current lifestyle? Me too. No, really. I loved the concept but didn’t think I could do it. It would be too hard but then I started reading finance blogs that teach you how to save money. The easiest way is cutting out unnecessary expenses so that was my first step.
You could be cutting out unnecessary expenses because you’re saving up to buy luxury (Vestiaire Collective, anyone?) or saving in general. We all only have a finite amount of money (especially us in our 20s) so we need to be careful about how we spend it. If you’re not keeping track of your money, your expenses start to pile up real quick and you’ll go, ‘where did all of my money go?’ There have been too many times where I think like this so I’m determined to cut out some unnecessary expenses in certain areas.
I don’t understand people who wait in line every morning for a cup of coffee or tea. I line up sometimes wanting to get a juice (I don’t drink coffee or tea. Shocking, I know) if I’m really craving it but how do people do it every day? I’m usually rushing to work already and standing in line in a crowded coffee shop is unpleasant. I’ve asked people why. Their response: they don’t have time to make it in the mornings. It makes sense.. kind of…but can’t you make a cup of beverage at home with the time you’re spending waiting in line?
You’ll save a ton of money making your morning beverage at home. A $5 cup of coffee a day adds up, you know. Ordering coffee/tea outside does taste different than homemade but you can save some $$$ so what are you going to choose?
It’s not realistic to say you’ll never buy a cup of beverage and drink only water for the rest of your life. You can still enjoy a nice cup of beverage once in a while but spending every morning lining up to get your morning drink isn’t necessary.
2) Bottled Water
It’s easy to not buy bottled water at work because chances are, you either bring your water bottle to work every day or already have a cup at work. Can you imagine buying a bottle of water every day when you’re at work? Gosh, that would be super expensive. Then, there’s the third group of people. Being at home all the time now because of the pandemic. There’s even less of an excuse to buy bottled water because you’re at home.
I understand if you buy some bottled water to leave in your house in case of emergency. I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about buying bottled water on a regular day.
Why would you spend money on bottled water when it’s an unnecessary expense and is not helping the planet? Bottled water ain’t cheap either!
We covered the weekdays earlier but the weekends, though, can be a different story. I absolutely adore using crossbody bags because they can keep my hands free! Unfortunately, it means I’m not the biggest fan of carrying my water bottle during the weekend because it’s so big.
If you’re like me and like smaller bags, this can be a problem. I would suggest bringing your water bottle with you when you know you’ll be out all day. You will get thirsty especially during summertime. If you’re only going out for a short time, it’s less likely for you
3) Subscriptions You’re Not Using
Doesn’t everyone have at least one of these? It’s easy to waste your money on subscription services because the companies charge your credit card monthly. They sneak up on you too. If you don’t keep track, you’ll soon find yourself having a pile of unnecessary expenses.
I’m generally quite good at cancelling a subscription before the next payment because I write it down in my calendar. Cutting unnecessary expenses means knowing exactly when the next payment date is. I’m NOT going to waste my money on things I don’t want or use and you shouldn’t either. Set an alarm or write it down in your agenda to ensure you don’t keep getting charged for something you’re not using.
I recommend you to have ONE ongoing subscription service if it’s something that you will use often. For me, it’s Spotify. I’m an avid music lover. Others might prefer Netflix or Amazon Prime or, even a gym membership.
I was debating between Netflix and Spotify because those are the ones I used the most. Spotify won because I listen to music daily whereas I don’t watch Netflix every day. Be realistic on how much you’ll use the service. If you don’t use it often, it’s an unnecessary expense and has got to go.
I have taken a taxi a handful of times in the four months since being back in Hong Kong: from the airport to the hotel I was quarantined in and the other times were with my mom when we had too many things to carry.
You rarely need a taxi in Hong Kong. There are tons of transportation options: MTR (I have quite a few readers from Singapore and I think it’s cute that it’s called MRT over there), double-decker bus, minibus, the ferry, and the tram. The MTR, aka the subway, is the fastest way to get around places. There’s always a lot of cars in Hong Kong so hello, traffic. If you’re taking taxis, those taxi meters go up real quick. The only thing good about taxis is that it’s convenient. You get dropped off at exactly where you want but the cost isn’t worth it to me. Especially since there are more than enough public transportation options.
Limit yourself to taking taxis when you absolutely need to. I only take them when I have too many things to carry or when my stuff is too heavy to use public transportation. Your wallet will thank you.
5) Newest Technology
I never understood the hype around constantly buying new tech gadgets. Don’t get me wrong. I love my iPhone and MacBook Pro and don’t know what I would do without them. I rely on them SO MUCH but technology is not an area I would spend a lot of money on. Eh, then again, people don’t get why I love bags. It’s the same idea.
Technology moves real quick. Every year or even less than that, there’s the latest new ‘it’ item with upgraded features. It’s hard to keep up. I understand that you might have two phones or two computers because one is for work and one is for personal use but other than that, how much more do you need?
I get a new phone every 2-3 years and a new laptop every 4-6 years. These tech gadgets have a shelf life and they’re usually around 2-3 years. Those and my AirPods pros are the only pieces of technology I have. I use those devices to death so at least I’m not spending my money on unnecessary expenses.
6) Eating Out
People in Hong Kong love going out to eat. It’s a part of the culture where you socialize with others. Good food bonds people together, you know? I love eating out. The food comes fast, it’s delicious and you never run out of options.
I almost never used to cook because I had zero cooking skills. I didn’t want the trouble of buying the ingredients to make it myself. It was too much work. My food expense was extremely high for years.
COVID has given me ample time to be quiet and reflect. I was determined to use this time to learn new skills. One of them is cooking. What used to seem like a lot of work now brings me joy. I would feel proud of myself knowing that I made that dish. That feeling of accomplishment is something that can’t be bought with eating takeout.
It took a while to gather some of my favourite online recipes because there are so many out there. These recipes are all ones I’ve made multiple times and have the approval of my friends and family. There are two parts to this blog post series: part 1 and part 2.
I still enjoy eating out and ordering takeout but it’s a treat. If you eat out every day, it’s not healthy and hurts your wallet. If you’re eating out every day, cook a few times a week at home. You’ll be able to save money and cut out some more unnecessary expenses.
What are your thoughts about this list? Anything that seems doable/not? What are some unnecessary expenses you have cut out or are planning to? Leave a comment down below!