First Person: How We Slashed Thousands From Our Annual Budget

Yahoo Contributor Network

It doesn't always take heart-wrenching sacrifice for us to save a little money. In fact, our family manages to save thousands each year by living without certain things that we don't even consider necessary. While to some people, the giving up the following things to save money might seem like extreme sacrifices, to us, they're barely noticeable to us and allow us live a comfortable financial lifestyle without spending a ton of money.

A Second Vehicle

Even taking the initial cost of buying a second vehicle out of the equation, going without a second car saves us thousands of dollars each year. The around $500 in insurance coverage, another $520 in parking costs each year, and then the cost of gas, oil changes, and similar upkeep and repairs would likely run us between $1,500 and $2,000 a year alone in additional household transportation costs.

Debt

According to CreditLoan.com, the average American spends over $600,000 on debt over the course of a lifetime. Personally, I find it troubling to owe money to other people. Whether it's in the form of a personal loan or owing money to the bank by way of a mortgage, I just don't like being indebted to others. Therefore, beyond avoiding credit card debt, we also take steps to make purchases outright in cash. Things like vehicles, our home, and many store purchases are made in cash, enabling us to save tens (and possibly hundreds) of thousands of dollars in related interest.

A Smart Phone

Laugh if you'd like, but we still have a landline phone. It's bundled in with our cable and internet and only costs us about $20 a month. We also have a pay-as-you go cell phone for emergencies and occasional calls when on the go and that we must put $80 on each year.

According to Chris Neiger of Investopedia, the real cost of owning a smart phone after all the taxes and fees are added in, runs about $3,400 for a two-year contract or an average of $1,700 a year compared to our $320. Better yet, we aren't tempted to text or talk on the phone while driving -- which can be extremely dangerous -- or download unnecessary apps, which can get costly.

A Flat-screen TV

We just bought a new television. And when I say "new," I use the term loose. "New" means new to us. Sure, we considered a flat-screen television, but I wasn't hot on the idea of buying a $300 or $400 television that by watching friends and family and their similar such televisions, don't seem to last all that long anymore.

Therefore, we decided to get a television of similar size to the flat-screen we were considering, but an older "box" version. We owned a previous such television for over 10 years without a problem, and the only reason we got rid of it was because we were moving. We sold it for $10. But when it came time to buy again, we repurchased a similar version for $10 -- not for the $300 or more that we would have spent on a flat-screen. And guess what? Our shows come in just fine on this television's screen even though it's not flat! And we saved about $300 in the process.

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