Good Morning America loved what I’m about to share with you so much, they had me back three times. Why did they like it? Because it’s an easy and painless way to cut your expenses.
All you have to do is PERK. No, I didn’t say twerk. I said PERK.
Make a list:
The first step is to list all of your routine living expenses and upcoming expenses, from groceries and the cable bill to health insurance and property taxes. Flip through old credit card statements and checkbook registers for reminders, categorizing your expenses as you go. You don’t need to have dollar amounts for each category; just the categories themselves should be enough.
Then, next to each expense, write a “P,” “E,” “R,” or “K.”
For those expenses you are able to Postpone, you write a “P.” Expenses in this category could include buying a new car, remodeling a kitchen, installing new carpet, or incurring a smaller expense, like buying a new TV or upgrading to the new iWhatever.
Postponing an expense gives you more money today so you can save or invest it. Plus, it helps avoid impulse purchases. Often, if you postpone a purchase for a few months, you are less inclined to make that purchase when the time comes.
Look for expenses you can eliminate, such as magazine subscriptions, newspaper subscriptions, Netflix charges, or unused gym memberships, and write an “E” next to them.
This is really where you want to spend as much time as possible. These are expenses that made a lot of sense at one point but don’t anymore and probably haven’t in a while.
Look at each of your expenses and ask, “Is it possible for me to reduce it?” If so, write an “R” next to them. You can often slash the money you spend on restaurants, movies, cell phone bills, and groceries. Bring a brown bag lunch two days a week and you can save thousands of dollars.
And finally, some expenses are must-haves, like health insurance, auto insurance, mortgage payments, and rent. Mark these with a “K.”
That’s it. What makes this so effective is that it forces you to evaluate each of your expenses.
You may find that you are spending money on stuff you don’t even want, need, or like anymore. PERK helps you become more conscious about your spending, but I bet you want more unique money saving ideas. I bet you want to look at spending in a whole new way. Well, wouldn’t you know it, you can.
The proceeding blog post is an excerpt from Get Money Smart: Simple Lessons to Kickstart Your Financial Confidence & Grow Your Wealth, available now on Amazon.
About the Independent Financial Advisor
Robert Pagliarini, PhD, CFP®, EA has helped clients across the United States manage, grow, and preserve their wealth for the past 25 years. His goal is to provide comprehensive financial, investment, and tax advice in a way that was honest and ethical. In addition, he is a CFP® Board Ambassador, one of only 50 in the country, and a real fiduciary. In his spare time, he writes personal finance books, finance articles for Forbes and develops email and video financial courses to help educate others. With decades of experience as a financial advisor, the media often calls on him for his expertise. Contact Robert today to learn more about his financial planning services.