By the time you pay your rent or mortgage, electric bill, cable, cellphone and car payment, you don’t have nearly as much left over as you’d hoped. Unfortunately, many of these expenses can’t be avoided. On the bright side, there are still ways that you can cut outgoing cash on a daily basis. It might not seem like a lot short-term, but it’ll eventually start to add up to significant savings. Ready to start saving more each month? Here are some tips to help get you started.
1. Cut out the coffee
Make it at home and take it to go, or take advantage of the coffee pot that most workplaces have. If you’re making daily or even weekly trips to Starbucks for your java fix, it might not seem like it but it’s definitely taking a chunk out of your budget. According to U.S. News, if you spend $3 on coffee each day, that adds up to $90 per month and $1,080 a year. It’s okay to treat yourself occasionally, but try and make it a rarity. Your bank account will thank you.
2. Don’t pay for your entertainment when you can get it for free
According to AARP, “The average American household spends about $200 per year on books alone (U.S. Census Bureau), most of which could be borrowed for free from any of the nation’s 17,000 public libraries.” The best part? Getting a library card is free.
3. Embrace public transportation
Public transportation can be a great way to save money. If you live in a city and have the option to use buses, trains, or subways, there’s no need to also pay for parking downtown. Walking is also a great option. According to AARP, the typical U.S. work commute by car costs about $4,000 each year. If that’s not enough incentive to get you moving, it’s also pretty good exercise.
4. Be gym-savvy
Going to a gym is great. Paying a lot to do it isn’t. “The reality is, for most people, effective exercise can be done at home with light weights and resistance bands. If you’re someone who appreciates exercising in the gym, you can still do it in a frugal way if you find a good deal,” according to Daily Finance. Many gyms offer specials and discounts that you can take advantage of. Make sure you shop around before committing to one so you’re sure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
5. Try tap
You know that soda you pay for when you go to a restaurant or drive-through? It’s marked up — a lot. While it may seem like no big deal (after all, it’s only $1.75), that, like many other things, adds up. According to AARP, the average family of four could save about $800 per year by drinking water when they eat out.
6. Reduce your food bill
According to Daily Finance, eating out at lunch adds up significantly, even in just a week. Rather than spend $10 a day on restaurant salads and subs, try brown bagging it. “First, come up with 3-4 easy lunches you can make at home and plan for how you’ll add time to your daily or weekly routine to prepare these lunches. Some people prefer to do cooking on Sunday and put enough veggies, meat, fruit, etc. into tupperware to last all week. Others like using leftovers from dinner each night to create lunch for the following day. Whatever you prefer, make it your habit and make sure you add enough ingredients to your shopping list to account for this increased cooking.”
According to AARP, if you brown bag it every day for lunch, you can easily save at least $25 a week. That adds up to $1,300 a year, or more than $50,000 over a 40-year career.