- Cut your cable/satelite provder. A great alternative is to invest in hooking a laptop or desktop up to your TV and stream videos (TV shows) to your TV. You can find a lot of your favorite shows on Hulu. Another alternative is to buy a Roku device to stream youtube, hulu, etc directly from the internet to your TV (only about $100). Typically this saving can add up to at least 12*30=$360/yr minimum. Typically closer to 12*60=$720/yr.
- Switch all your light bulbs to compact florescent. Initially the investment is more than your normal bulbs, but CF bulbs last 5-7years and use 1/4 the energy. You'll see the savings add up every month and more money in your pocket.
- Pay for everything with cash. Typically a family that buys things with cash spend 30-40% less. Consumerism in America wants you to use plastic and divorce yourself of the feeling that this is real cash. Don't be like everyone else. Save 30% more and use cash.
- Ditch a vehicle. Where possible eliminate a car, and you'll save from a perspective of not having to have a car payment (normal for most consumers), no insurance needed, no car repairs, and no title/tax/registration fees. Look at alternative ways to get to work like ZIPCAR, carpool, area transit, biking, or running. All great options for reducing expenses and helping the environment.
- Snowball payoff your credit cards. Normally credit cards charge 10-29% interest. What kind of investment can you find that will give you that kind of return? Consider each payment an investment that is earning you 10% + interest.
- Check your cell phone package and see if you can reduce. A lot of two cell phone families can get by with one primary cell and a tracfone. Tracfones offer competitive rates and don't lock you into fees and contracts.
Hope some of these ideas can help you and your family reduce your expenses and get out of debt or save more for retirement. Would appreciate any other comments on other people's ideas.