View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


How to trim your personal expenses

Posted: October 3, 2008 9:37 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The credit and financial market is definitely not in good shape, so entrepreneurs may find that they must dip into their personal finances to keep the business running.

Here are some "tightening the belt" tips. I promise they're not too painful:

n Cut out waste - According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 25 percent of all edible food bought by us goes to waste.The average U.S. household spends more than $6,000 a year on groceries and meals out.

If you prepare smaller portions, eat leftovers and store food efficiently you eliminate some waste and save $1,500 a year.

n Reduce your lawn - A beautiful lawn requires water, fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides.
That can be costly for you and the environment.

Reduce your lawn space by half by planting a no-maintenance ground cover such as pachysandra or creeping thyme and trim half your lawn care costs. If you spend $1,000 a year now, you could save $500.

n Be clothes thrifty - Only a small fraction of all clothing thrown away in the U.S. is truly worn out, which is a great waste of resources. Some find its way into thrift shops and yard sales before it reaches landfill.

If you buy this gently used clothing, expect to save about 80 percent compared to the same items new - even designer brands. Buying just half of your family's clothing at thrift stores allows you to save a fashionable $800 a year.

n Be an energy-saving star - As your household appliances need replacing, look for the Energy Star label when shopping for new ones.

You can read more about this at and when paired with beefing up insulation and installing low-flow water fixture, you could save $400 a year.

n Eat lower on the food chain - It takes more resources, generates more pollution and costs more money to eat foods high on the food chain, such as beef and poultry.

It takes 7 pounds of grain to add 1 pound of weight to cattle.

The typical American diet, which is more than 200 pounds of meat per year (a 50 pound increase since the 1960s) is a far cry from the healthy diet recommended by the food pyramid. See this at

If you eat more vegetables, grains and fruits you and Mother Earth will be healthier and you'll probably save $1,200 on your annual food budget.

Maureen Stephenson is a local author and owner of Santa Clarita-based REMS Publishing & Publicity. Her column represents her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...