2010 Goal: Cut overall expenses by at least 5%

I have just come up with a new goal for this year. I want to cut my general living expenses by 5% or more. There are some areas that I can work on right away and achieve this but I am going to tackle some more difficult tasks. Here are my options:

  1. Getting the homestead exemption on my new house. This will lower my total monthly housing payment by roughly $83.33. That reduction is about 13% of my current payment. I have already submitted the forms for this.
  2. Cook/eat at home more. I am doing this already by necessity. Once the kitchen is finished I will be able to do this a lot easier. This cuts my meals costs by at least half. Lean Cuisine is filling part of that gap currently.
  3. Curb temptation. This one really got me more than I thought it did last year. I am making a conscious effort to wait 30 days before I buy any "toys" or non-essential items. This will be done with strict(er) budgeting.
  4. Debt Interest. I will soon refinance my debts into a home equity loan or some variation of it. It will lower my rates and have the added tax benefit. This will drop my overall interest rate by about 50%.
  5. Eating out and Entertainment. I am cutting way back in this area. I am only going to dinner if I have coupons or some other discount. I cut back on concerts and going to the bar too. This will help immensely!
Getting one's expenses under control is easier said than done. I am used to going out often with friends and spending a good bit doing it. I have to make some tough lifestyle changes and am having a bit of a hard time adjusting. I realize this is the only way out of debt and have to stay focused on that goal. As my situation improves I can lighten up some. It just takes time, dedication, and patience and I will get there!