Cutting Expenses Still Matters

By Carlos Portocarrero

This site has been retired :(
For fresh, practical career advice, please visit

robot with scissors

There are two parts to your budget: the money you make and the money you spend. Money in and money out: it’s at the very core of every company’s budget, including your own.

A lot of poeple recommend we focus most of our time on making more money vs. cutting our expenses. After all, the money you make is unlimited on the upside (you can always make more), but you can only cut so much from your budget.

Your expenses are a fluid, ever-changing thing, and you should always keep them in check. That’s why I recommend taking an annual look at all your bills and exploring ways to maximize where your money is going. Plus it can be a lot easier to cut your bills than it is to make more money.

I just finished doing this myself and I was surprised at how much money I could still save. Especially since I’m one of those really proud personal-finance bloggers that thinks he’s got his stuff all locked up, optimized, and nailed down.

If a better deal was out there, I would’ve caught it, right?


After running through all my bills, I was able to cut my expenses by $120 $150. All it took was making some calls, doing a little research, and taking a look at how much I use the services I feel I “need.”

Here are the details on where I saved money:

T-Mobile ($75 $100): This was the big one. I got M and I on a family plan (BEST PLAN EVER is what their marketing calls it) that protects us from those damn overage charges by giving us unlimited minutes, texts, and data. T-Mobile’s plan is dirt cheap because they don’t offer any phone subsidies: if I want a new phone, I’ll have to pay for it myself. No worries there—I enjoy the challenge of finding a good deal on a phone.

I also had to commit to a two-year contract, something I willingly accepted in exchange for the savings. Bonus: the rep on the phone offered me an additional $10/month off my bill for trying their voicemail to text service. So far, it’s pretty hilarious—my buddy apparently invited me to “watch the game toilet bowl.” Classic.

Update: The final bill finally showed up and with all the discounts they threw at me (along with a 6% discount through my work), I am now paying less for both ($69) of our phone bills than I was for my own ($71). Unbelievable!

Car Insurance ($45): This one was easy. I went on Geico’s site and created a bunch of quotes (it’s really easy) to see how they compared to our current provider. Because we own our car outright, we didn’t need one type of coverage we were paying for. And because we joined AAA (they have some amazing discounts), we didn’t need the roadside assistance part either.

I got another discount because I’m a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder (Berkshire owns GEICO), so that made it even cheaper. It’s true, GEICO can save you 15% or more! I also made a note to change my condo insurance when it comes up for renewal in a few months—I found a cheaper alternative there as well.

Netflix ($5): Not a lot of money, but every bit counts. Especially since the bill goes down from $11 to $5. This came about because of the price change—they kind of forced me into it, which is fine by me.

$120 may not sound like much, but that’s money I don’t have to make on the other end anymore. And by committing to an annual bill audit, you can ensure that you’re expenses will always stay in check.

Sweet Image by tommy the pariah

One Response to “Cutting Expenses Still Matters”

  • Hank Says:

    Only an annual look at spending? You may be able to save more if you look at your spending patterns quarterly and try and find where you may be wasting your money.

Leave a Reply