6 Ways You Can Slash $19,000 in Expenses Without Sacrificing Your Happiness

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In a recent podcast episode of the BiggerPockets Real Estate Show, I had the privilege of chatting with Mindy Jensen about my journey to financial independence. One burning question arose: How did I manage to lower my expenses without sacrificing quality of life? 

Well, fellow FIRE enthusiasts, let me share six of my key insights into how I transformed my financial landscape by embracing strategic hacks that allowed me to live life to the fullest (no cutting out lattes here!) without breaking the bank.

1. Hacking the Essentials: Food and Beyond

As a firm believer in the importance of wholesome nutrition, I refused to compromise on the quality of my family’s meals. Armed with my background in nutrition, I leveraged savvy strategies to trim our food expenses without skimping on health. 

By bulk-buying organic staples at Costco and ditching meal services for meal planning with Mealime, we slashed our monthly grocery bill. Plus, by learning to make our own nutritious snacks (jerky, roasted chickpeas, roasted edamame, kombucha, chocolate, etc.) in less than one hour of prep time per week, we not only saved money but also reduced our environmental footprint—talk about a win-win!

Savings: $3,000 a year

2. Unlocking Savings Through Group Buying Power

While many flock to Costco for discounted groceries, our family saw it as an opportunity to unlock savings across various fronts. By maximizing the benefits of our Executive Membership, we reaped substantial savings on insurance premiums (home, auto, and term life insurance), tire replacements, and even pet prescriptions. It’s safe to say I’ve become a walking billboard for Costco—and proud of it!

Savings: $1,800 a year

3. Redefining Childcare

When faced with exorbitant childcare expenses, my husband and I reorganized our schedules and prioritized quality time with our daughter. 

I’m not going to say this is easy or even doable for everyone. This simple yet impactful “thinking outside the box” adjustment reduced our childcare bill by $400 a month. Additionally, we took advantage of tax-saving opportunities through a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), which allowed us to set aside pre-tax monies to foot our childcare bills. 

Savings: $4,800-plus a year

4. Cutting the Cord on Communication and Entertainment

In our pursuit of FIRE, we didn’t just stop at trimming food and childcare expenses—we also took a hard look at our communication and entertainment costs. By switching to budget-friendly phone plans like the UScellular Family Plan and cutting the cord on cable, we saved over $200 a month. Plus, by embracing antenna TV for basic television and select streaming services, we discovered a plethora of entertainment options without breaking the bank.

Savings: $2,400 a year

5. Saving on Pet Expenses and Travel: More Savings, More Adventures

Our commitment to financial independence extended to every aspect of our lives, including pet care and travel expenses. By opting for a vet with a monthly payment plan for services and purchasing dog food from Costco, we were able to lock in savings of over $900 annually. 

And when it came to travel, strategic credit card hacking and a Southwest Companion Pass allowed us to unlock significant savings on flights, hotels, and rental cars—proving that adventures don’t have to come with a hefty price tag.

Savings: $4,800-plus a year

6. Embracing Smart Investments and Gadgets

Lastly, investing in basic home gym equipment (dumbbells, resistance bands, pull-up bar, bench, and a MindPump membership); purchasing gadgets from reputable sources like Gazelle; and purchasing clothing on platforms like ThredUp allowed us to enjoy our favorite activities and snag quality brands without breaking the bank. By prioritizing quality over quantity, we saved hundreds of dollars while still enjoying top-notch gear and gadgets.

Savings: $2,400-plus a year

Final Thoughts 

Achieving financial independence isn’t about depriving yourself of life’s pleasures; it’s about making intentional choices that align with your values and priorities. By adopting a mindset to implement strategic hacks, trimming expenses doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality or convenience. Heck, it could mean saving $19,000 or more to put toward your next real estate investment. So, whether you’re a seasoned FIRE enthusiast or just embarking on your journey toward financial freedom, remember that every dollar saved is a step closer to unlocking the life of your dreams. 

Ready to take control of your finances and embrace the path to FIRE? Check out my new book, Money for Tomorrow: How to Build and Protect Generational Wealth. Until next time, keep hustling and building wealth—your future self will thank you for it!

How to Build Generational Wealth Without Losing it Along the Way

Want to learn how to create generational wealth? You know, the type of wealth that your children’s children’s children’s children can rely on. The type of wealth that allows your family to live a life of financial freedom, pursue their passions, and make a real impact on the world without having to sit behind a cubicle or screen all day long? That’s the wealth Whitney Elkins-Hutten is teaching you how to build in this episode.

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

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