Do you fancy a new pair of shoes or a dream vacation? How about the nagging feeling in the back of your mind to put away more money for retirement or your child’s education? Saving just a little can make a big difference, and we’ve got realistic ways to cut back and save a ton of moolah.
Save $50 per month
Check your cable and mobile bills. Make sure you pay only for the channels you use and nothing more. Do you use your monthly minutes or should you pick the next plan down? With cable, are you paying for premium channels you never use? Do you qualify for special pricing by switching services or providers? Maybe it’s time to cancel them (or at least rethink what you’re signed up for) and pocket the cash.
Restaurant drinks. A $2 soda costs the restaurant pennies and is one of their highest markup items. A family of four can save $8 (not including tip) just on soda for each meal out. For alcoholic beverages, skip the pricey mixed drinks and stick with beer. Or opt to have a drink at home from a bottle you’ve purchased at a much lower price point from a bulk warehouse or the grocery store. While you’re at it, commit to skipping one lunch a week and one dinner a week out and watch the savings add up.
Your health club membership. We applaud the regular gym-goers who use their memberships to the fullest. For the rest of us, when did you last visit your gym? Could you get an equally good workout at home? A walk or jog around the neighborhood is free, and bootcamp-style workouts are all the rage now and easy to do at home with YouTube and fitness podcasts and DVDs. Maybe it’s time to cancel that membership or opt for walk-in classes at a much lower (and realistic?) rate.
Save $100 per month
Drop cable. Unless you’re a sports nut, you probably don’t need cable. With services like HBO GO, Netflix and HULU, you can see just about everything you want and save a ton of money. Occasionally, you’ll have to wait a few months for the release onto a secondary network, but for $1,200 a year it’s worth it.
Make coffee at home. If you do the math, a daily $3 cup of coffee, plus gas, plus the extra little treats you pick up easily accrue to $100 a month. Skip the mocha and save bread by brewing at home. Freeze leftover joe in an ice tray for delicious coffee ice cubes that you can pop in a cold brew or Kahlua for a fancied-up at-home cocktail. Boost your savings even more by skipping the high-priced individually wrapped coffee pods and buying your coffee in bulk.
Save your raise. Did you get a cost-of-living raise? Don’t spend it, save it! You’ll never the miss the money you didn’t have, and you’ll accrue at least $100 a month if you make $40,000 or more.
Save $250 per month
Ditch food waste. The average family of four on a moderate budget spends $1,063 per month on food. We also waste between 30 percent and 40 percent of all the food we bring home. Cut down on food waste and you can easily save $250 per month, plus give a serious boost to the planet. That may mean honing your grocery list (or beginning to write one in the first place), not shopping while you’re hungry and being sure you order out a dish you will want to finish up for lunch the next day. Vegetables are inexpensive in bulk, and you can use roasted extras to toss on a salad or for a soup that you freeze for winter months (or that lunch you’ve committed to eat at home).
Brown bag it. Bring in lunch and snacks to work and you can easily save $250 per month. Don’t be afraid of what your co-workers think, just tell them how healthy you’re eating and where your next vacation is and they’ll start brown bagging it, too.
Ditch the second car. If you live in an urban area, you and your spouse can likely ditch the second car. The car payment, gas, and insurance can easily add up to $250, often more. There is an adjustment period and some spousal negotiation, but your growing bank account will give you plenty of incentive. If you truly need a second car, how about trading in a newer model for a used one? A well-cared for used car can last years and save on both insurance and car payments.
TapGenes TakeAway: The tweaks and tips to commit to today if you want to end up with more cash at the end of the month. Here’s how to save up to $250 a month.
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