Important expenses not to cut

Lorna Wounded Head is the Family Resource Management Field Specialist at SDSU.

Lorna Wounded Head is the Family Resource Management Field Specialist at SDSU.

Lorna Saboe-Wounded Head, Guest Columnist (She/Her)

For the past few weeks, I have been writing about using a spending plan and tracking spending. Paying attention to how you spend and how much money you have to spend doesn’t mean you have to make your life miserable by not treating yourself. Is a $10 latte every morning something you should probably cut back on? Yes, but if you need coffee to get through your 8 a.m., then maybe you cut it back to just before your Tuesday/Thursday class, or get a home coffee pot that makes daily coffee more cost-efficient. Those are compromises that make for a happy wallet, but there are some things you shouldn’t cut costs on.


  1. Paying in full – If you can afford it, you should make sure to pay your credit card and other bills in full. Interest payments can add hundreds or thousands of dollars to the purchase price of the things you bought and can be a very hard hole to dig yourself out of. To learn more about managing credit and debt, check out Smart About Money ( 
  2. Cheap out on insurance – Paying your insurance bill every month when you don’t have to make any claims may seem like a waste of money, but if $20 a month can save you the $2,000 repair bill when you hit a pothole, it’s well worth it. Instead, see if you can bundle things like auto and renters insurance, get good grade discounts or take a driving course on the weekend to lower your monthly payment.
  3. Quality (Sometimes) – If a $50 pair of boots will last you until you graduate that’s much better than a pair of winter boots for $25 you have to replace every year when your feet start getting soggy in the spring melt. However, if you don’t have that extra $25 to get the much better pair, budget for those upgrades when it is possible, and prioritize the things you’ll use the most.
  4. Safety – Money isn’t everything, and if it’s not safe for you to walk home every day across a busy road, then don’t do that just to save a few extra dollars a month. You can try alternatives like carpooling and taking public transportation when available, but if you get hit by a car, your bank account isn’t going to be your biggest concern. 


When cutting costs, there is room for compromise rather than cutting things out of your life entirely. Finances don’t always make life easy or fun, but the security and independence that comes from well-managed finances is freedom all its own.