The Cutting Edge

Anthony Spence remembers what it was like not to have a whole lot of money. The 41-year-old entrepreneur grew up in a single-parent household in Richmond, Virginia, and watched his mom struggle to put food on the table for himself and his younger siblings. “Often my mom had to work a few jobs to make sure the family was provided for,” says Spence. “I saw firsthand how difficult it was for her to make ends meet.”

As tight as money was for Spence while growing up, he seems to have learned his lessons well. He’s now president of his own company The Spence Group in Miramar, Florida, which oversees a number of online businesses. Together with his wife Monique, who herself runs an online concierge service, they have a household income in the “high six figures,” he says. It’s not just to provide a comfortable life for  themselves, but for their newborn daughter Sydney.

Even better, the Spences have become true virtuosos at saving money. Whether it’s heating up frozen meals for lunch at the office, cutting back to once-a-week family restaurant or movie outings, or undertaking savvy financial moves such as getting rid of universal life insurance in favor of an affordable term policy, Spence never runs out of great ideas for cutting costs. It’s all with one goal in mind: To amass enough money to get out of the rat race once and for all, and be able to simply enjoy life with his wife and daughter.

“I see us in the Hamptons one day,” laughs Spence. “Getting a yacht, and inviting friends up on their birthdays to celebrate. I want to travel the world, and maybe take culinary classes to create gourmet meals. It’s going to be a wonderful life.”

To get you where Anthony Spence dreams of being, we’re launching “Cutting Edge Wednesdays.” Every week look for tips on how to cut costs so you can make the most of the money you already have. Nothing overly drastic, just a number of small, cost-cutting ideas that together can add up to very big savings. “Discipline
is what it’s all about,” says Dorothea Bernique, head of Increasing H.O.P.E. in Summerville, South Carolina, a nonprofit financial-education group. “It’s never easy. But by practicing saving every day, you’ll have the money to invest in the future for yourself and your kids.”

Here are a variety of ideas to get you started:

Boost your credit score. Paying every bill on time, reducing your revolving balance, and fixing credit-report errors will save thousands down the line on mortgages, car loans, and credit-card interest. You can request a free credit report and purchase your credit score at

Use your own bank’s ATMs. The average fee for using other institution’s ATMs has risen to more than $1.78. Multiply that over a year of withdrawals. Check for news and advice on how to minimize banking fees.

Learn basic home renovation skills. Home Depot and Lowe’s offer all manner of workshops for do-it-yourselfers. Sign up for a workshop and