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5 ways to cut your expenses

By Kemberley Washington · Bankrate.com
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Posted: 7 am ET

You may be at the point where you must take control of your personal expenses by strategically cutting them. Taking the necessary steps to cut your expenses now can help you reach your financial goals in the future.

So what steps can you take to cut your personal expenses? Here are five.

1. Cut across the board

Consider cutting your expenses by a certain percentage or dollar amount in each and every category. For example, if you usually spend $400 per month on dining out, commit to only spend $300 per month. If your utility bill is usually $100, take time to cut back on energy use by unplugging appliances not in use, turning lights off, or keeping the thermostat set at a certain temperature.

2. Stick to a budget

Although most of us know that we should adhere to a budget, the reality is that many of us do not. Create a budget that serves as your financial road map. A budget provides an understanding of the purpose of each dollar that comes into your possession. In addition, it helps you identify areas where you may have overspent and gives you a tool to help cut and control these expenses.

3. Shop around

Research shows that many consumers find a product or service and stick to it no matter the cost. Examples include services provided by banks, and cellphone and Internet service providers.

Now is a great time to shop around. There may be better and less costly service plans available to you. Do a little research to ensure you are getting the best cost.

4. Don't settle for paying fees

When you receive bills or invoices, take the time to review them for accuracy. Contact your vendor and dispute any charge you believe is incorrect. Also, if there are charges, such as late fees or penalties that may have been assessed, request to have these fees waived.

5. Temporarily sacrifice

If you are pushing toward your goals, you may need to sacrifice for a while. The best way to reach your goals is to review expenses you can live without and determine which ones should be cut.

Whether it is shopping at your favorite boutique, dining out with friends, or simply overspending in certain areas, consider making the sacrifice and live without these indulgences for now.

Remember: your choice, your future!

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and business professor. She writes a personal finance blog at Kemberley.com. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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