Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
2 minutes reading time (481 words)

7 Expenses Many Struggling Workers Won't Get Rid Of

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, as 40% of Americans are according to a 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, the best thing to do is to cut back on your spending. Creating more distance between your income and your expenses will keep you from being broke before your next paycheck comes. With the money leftover from your paycheck (yes, you can have money leftover), you can start building a savings cushion to help take care of emergencies.

If you’re like many of the respondents to the Harris Interactive survey (which was published on, there may be some expenses standing in the way. Many of those surveys indicated they have some valued expenses that they won’t give up even though they’ve fallen on rough times. They are: internet connection, driving, pet, smartphone, cable, travel, and going out to eat.

What’s interesting is that none of these, except maybe driving e.g. to a job, are required for daily living, yet as many as 40% of people responding to the survey said they wouldn’t let go of the expense.

It can be argued that any of these expenses can go, especially cable and eating out. Every family that’s struggling financially should limit their idea of “must have” expenses to those that are absolutely necessary to survive. Eliminating unnecessary spending is key to changing your money situation.

But, even if you feel like you can’t let go of some things, you can at least try to reduce your spending overall. For example, reducing your internet speed will help you save money on your monthly bill. Driving less will help you save money on gas.

Pet expenses can be difficult to control, but you can look for coupons for food and visit the groomer and vet less often. Instead of paying for pet boarding, ask for a friend or family member to petsit.

There’s almost no reason to keep your cable, unless it’s directly tied to your job, e.g. you’re an entertainment writer and you need to watch the shows you’re going to write about. Otherwise, get rid of it. Choose internet or cable, but not both.

Travel, particularly leisure travel that you pay for out of pocket, is another expense that can be put on hold until you’re in a better financial position.

Cooking at home is almost always cheaper than eating out, especially when you factor in leftovers and ingredients that can be used for future meals. Preparing your own meals requires some time investment – shopping for groceries, preparing the meal, and doing the dishes – but if you can cook for more than one meal, e.g. tomorrow’s lunch or dinner, you get more out of your efforts.

You may have some expenses that you’ve been holding on to that you don’t necessarily need. Continually review your spending habits, looking for expenses that may be hindering your financial progress.

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Friday, 23 February 2024

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