Well....... It's Cheap Time!

Written on Thursday, June 26, 2008 by Deeze

For the first time, I'm really starting to feel the economic crunch for the simple things in life. Normally, I don't let economics guide too many decisions as far as life style. Due to transportation and food costs, I'm unfortunately going to have to make some changes since I don't want to pick up another side gig to make up for the difference. In the past, I would pick up an extra class, or side gig to make up for new expenses or rising costs. At that rate, I'll have 10 jobs and be dead by 34.

For the first time since I've was laid off in 03, I'm going to have to make a tight budget for myself. I hate being cheap!

New cost cutting measures:

Buying the Sunday paper 2 times a month to get the coupons.

I can't afford to buy gas anymore but once a month. When living in Atlanta between 2001 and 2005, my gas expenses was $60-80 monthly driving approximately 1000-1200 per month. Now, my gas expenditures are about $240 monthly and I actually drive less, approximately 700-800 miles a month. The funny thing is my salary hasn't increased by 400% but my expenses has! My salary has only increased by approximately 35% instead of 400%. I can't totally offset the cost of gas but I can make some changes to help offset costs.

Searching for a new Barbershop:

I'm looking Downtown, South Loop, or West Loop area that doesn't cost much more than 3-5 my South Side Barbershop's rate. I've been going there since 1999 so I really hate to change.

Take the train to work, gym, barbershop, dinner, etc.

Riding my bike to the gym on good weather days. My gym isn't very far from me, but those 5 miles add up if I'm going 4 times a week. Also go only on heavy weight-lifting days, and go on core/cardio days in my building since I have a nice one there. That should save about 80 miles per month.

Now that I no longer work walking distance from my place, I drive to work, which is about 300 miles a month, plus about 20 more if I go out and buy lunch instead of packing. To take the train is about $60-80 per month which is the price of a tank of gas for me.

Taking the train should cut my traveling expenses by 40%. Cabs are also going to have to be cut out the budget because they've added a $2 surcharge for each ride. I usually only use them for going out on the weekend, but I'm cutting back on that too.

Food Expenses

Packing lunch daily, Coupons, Super-Walmart, and Ultra foods are the keys to cutting back. I used to go to Whole Foods about 3-5 times a week, but now I only go once. I go for their fruit, and bottled water for the gym. I'm still going for fruit, I'm going to buy water a gallon at a time, especially since Chicago imposed a bottled water tax. I'll buy it at Super-Walmart. Also, I'll get a liter water bottle to start taking to the gym to get out of the buying a liter of .99 water at Whole Foods habit (and an Odwalla smoothie when I'm feeling sluggish for $3.39 which went up $.40 in the last month). I hate cooking but I'm going to have to start eating my horrible cooking or bbq everyday :) . I love to go out to eat, but instead of once or more a week, I'm going to have to do it a few times per month, and make one of them 'cheap eats'.


I'm already cheap with utilities so that won't be a problem. I keep the house dark, and don't watch much TV..... maybe I should use my ipod around the house instead of the stereo and use my laptop on battery power and charge it when I get to work....... Ok, that's a little to far... just kidding.

I'm going to try all this stuff for the rest of the summer in hopes of saving about $300-500 per month. Considering the gas and food prices, that shouldn't be too hard.

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