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Illustration of a checklist on a clipboard
Illustration of a checklist on a clipboard
Illustration of a checklist on a clipboard

Published August 16, 2018.

Revise your to-do list to trim unnecessary expenses.

No one wants to waste money (or time). But sometimes in our busyness we forget to think about whether a regular expense is necessary.

Here's what some local experts and other sources had to say about how often you should undertake certain tasks and their related expenses. Adjust your to-do list — and maybe your budget — accordingly.


Change your smoke alarm batteries. While the old rule was to change batteries twice a year, now the U.S. Fire Administration says to do it at least once a year. Test alarms monthly, and replace them every 10 years.

Water the lawn. In general, water longer but less frequently to promote root growth; the specifics depend on your soil type. Conserve water by watering in the early morning.


Work up a sweat. Adults should do a moderate aerobic activity for 150 minutes a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, plus strength training twice a week, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Does that mean you need a gym membership or fancy equipment? No. Inexpensive exercise tubing or your body weight can be used for strength training, and aerobic exercise can be as simple as a brisk walk.

Replace your running shoes. Chris MacMurray, a fitter at Fleet Feet, says runners should replace their shoes every four to six months, or 300 to 500 miles. Walkers usually can get a year out of a pair — so maybe a slower pace is a more economical one? Let’s go with that.

Regular visits to the vet means fewer surprises and lower bills.


Visit the vet. Take your dog or cat to the veterinarian twice a year for preventive care, says Charlie Powell, public information officer at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Regular visits will ensure your pet is up to date on vaccines, allow the vet to keep an eye on their teeth, and keep your pet healthier — meaning fewer surprises and lower bills.

Personal finance.

About that budget. Review your budget monthly until you get a real handle on your spending and managing your money, says Erik Puthoff, an STCU community development officer who teaches financial education classes. And as your expenses and income change, make updates accordingly.

When you cut waste from your regular expenses, you might even be able to boost your savings goal.

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