by Rebecca Clark
Starting your own business is difficult. There are so many things to think about, but perhaps the biggest obstacles an entrepreneur faces have to do with money. Getting an idea off the ground is expensive, from securing a space to running advertisements to purchasing materials to potentially having to hire employees. These costs add up and can be intimidating to someone who is building a business from scratch.
Luckily, there are plenty of easy things you can do in your everyday life to save money that can then be spent on growing your business. Here are five ways to cut personal costs as you venture into starting your own business:
ο Watch what you eat. Going out to eat or ordering takeout may be more convenient and less work than cooking, but it’s so much more expensive . You can save thousands of dollars a year just by cutting down on how often you go out to eat. Going to the grocery store may be time consuming, but you can save so much money, especially by using coupons and purchasing generic brands. Creating a detailed shopping list will also help you from buying things you don’t really need. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can never treat yourself by getting a nice dinner at a restaurant. There are ways to cut costs while dining out too, such as ordering water, splitting a meal, or boxing up your leftovers. I also know of people who save money on gas by going to grocery stores and purchasing gift cards to restaurants at which they know they’ll be eating soon. Oftentimes, grocery stores offer double fuel points for gift cards, and this quickly adds up, saving you a lot of money on your next tank of gas.
ο Go green. I have a bad habit of not being very conscientious about how much electricity that I mindlessly use. I often leave my computer plugged in overnight even though it’s done charging, forget to turn off the lights when I leave a room, and leave the TV on when I’m not home. But it’s so easy to just unplug. When your phone battery hits 100%, take the charger out of the wall. When you leave the kitchen, turn out the lights. Don’t fall asleep with the TV on. Additionally, it’s wise to invest in an automatic thermostat that you can program to not use as much heat/air conditioning during certain hours, such as when you’re at work.
ο Rethink car insurance. Perhaps you have an old car that isn’t worth much, and you’re considering forgoing collision insurance. Perhaps you’ve read that raising your deductible can save you money. Perhaps you want to combine your car insurance policy with your homeowner’s insurance policy. All of these things work, but on a case-by-case basis. It’s best to visit a car insurance company and talk to an expert about what you can do to lighten your car insurance payments.
ο Say goodbye to cable and your Sunday paper. It’s 2016 (almost 2017!), and that means it’s time to embrace the Internet, whether you like it or not. Cable is so expensive, and you find nearly every TV show online nowadays. ABC, The CW, MTV, and many other stations put new episodes online as they air, which you can watch for free. There are also so many shows you can watch on Hulu/Hulu Plus and Netflix, which are much cheaper alternatives to your monthly cable bill. Also, why are you still paying for newspaper and magazine subscriptions? You can find every news item you could possibly want online, all for free, and in real-time.
ο Change your credit card habits. To me, swiping a credit card feels a lot like paying for something with Monopoly money. It doesn’t feel real. This is why I try to use cash whenever I can and save my credit card just for emergencies or online purchases. Another strategy: don’t carry your credit card with you and leave it at home instead. Or you could just get rid of them altogether.
Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult, and neither does financing your own business. Being more conscientious of how you spend money and incorporating these quick money-saving techniques into your life will allow you to have more money to spend on your new business venture.
Rebecca Clark is a recent graduate of Miami University with degrees in English literature and professional writing. She enjoys reading, writing, and traveling, and hopes to one day become a book editor.