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Trulia Blog

5 Luxuries to Ditch to Help You Save

Curb unnecessary spending to benefit your bank account without drastically affecting your lifestyle.

Hey, you! The one who’s dreaming about buying a home. Put the latte down for a second and listen up.

Have you ever considered what doing without would do to help you save more money? Or considered how you could eliminate expenses without drastically changing your quality of life?

If saving is your goal, then you can’t afford not to ditch these five lifestyle luxuries.

1. Cable TV

With the average American paying roughly $120 per month, cutting it from your budget can make for big savings. Dropping the monthly cable bill translates to $1,440 in annual savings.

Can’t quit cable TV cold turkey? Turn your eyes to online entertainment: try Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Netflix, or Hulu as more affordable alternatives.

2. Your smartphone

To save money on your monthly bill, you can try the following:

  • Ditch the wireless hot spotThis costs an additional $20 per month on most carriers for iPhone users. That’s $240 per year.
  • Get a shared plan: If you’re buying your home with a spouse or spouse-to-be, you might consider using the same carrier and share an account. Shared minutes and data plans can offer substantial savings over individual plans.
  • Get frugal: Try switching from a big-name cell carrier to a less expensive prepaid plan — you could see a drastic drop in your monthly bill. And remember: after you buy your home, you can always revert to your old ways.

3. Eating out

I get it — you’re busy. If you don’t have time to shop, try an online subscription service like Plated or Blue Apron. They’ll ship ready-to-cook ingredients and recipes for meals direct to your door, saving you the high margin on restaurant meals.

4. Designer coffee

And that latte you’re drinking? It’s ruining your down payment.

Save the $2 to $5 per stop each morning and switch to brewing your own at home — a preferred method by coffee snobs everywhere. At the low end, a daily coffee habit can total upward of $700 a year; if you gravitate to fancy espresso drinks, your caffeine fix could be costing you nearly $2,000.

For way less than you’re paying now, you can brew a great cup at home. Try this piece from Slate on being an in-home coffee snob or this article from Lifehacker on great coffee at home on a dime.

5. Clothes shopping

Shopping for clothes is awesome, but it’s also expensive. If you want to dramatically cut your shopping costs, try Twice. This clothing upcycler lets you score your favorite designers at pennies on the dollar.

The best part? You can sell your clothes to them as well. If the online thing isn’t your scene, try selling back to local consignment shops like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads. If you opt for in-store credit, you usually net a larger profit (and can satisfy any impulse-shopping urges).

Imagine cleaning out your closet, earning store credit, and shopping for “free.”

As someone who purchased a home recently, I implemented most of these tips while saving for my own down payment.

Today, I have cable and my fancy smartphone back. I still shop at Twice, though.

What strategies have you used to curb spending? Share your tried-and-true tips in the comments below!