As a society we’re putting less and less thought into our weekly and monthly expenses. Most of the time that topic is one that is taken for granted, as people assume that there is little or nothing they can do about what is demanded of them in terms of money going out on a regular basis. In fact, the answer most people seek is to bring in more instead of curbing what goes out. While it’s certainly not a bad idea to pursue a bigger paycheck and more income, you have far more control of what goes out and where you put your money to work.
We live in a competitive society which offers us a lot of options and a wealth of different ways to gather the things we need to live every month. If we stop and give a little thought and analysis to what we are spending and why, we can cut costs in a lot of different areas giving ourselves more money to set aside, put in savings, or invest.
This is a list of seven areas where you can save roughly $600 every month. While the total might vary from person to person and is highly dependent on circumstance, the overall concept remains the same: Do some critical thinking about your budget and identify areas where you can scale back and live with either less or with an alternative, in order to allow yourself to keep more of your paycheck.
In other words, it’s not what you make; it’s what you save.
Money Saving Tips
1. Use Netflix and Red Box instead of a Dish or Cable and movie channels. – Movie channels and TV, regardless of whether you get them through a dish or cable are very expensive. Don’t let the ads fool you. You’ll pay at least $100 per month for these services. Instead go with a Netflix streaming subscription for $8 a month, and treat yourself and the family to a one-night Red Box rental every once in awhile for $1.
Rough Monthly Savings: $100
2. Disconnect your home phone. – Home phone service isn’t expensive, but it’s another $15-$20 that you really don’t need to be spending if you have a cell phone. If you’re not using it, disconnect it and use your cell phone exclusively.
Rough Monthly Savings: $20
3. Do some shopping around for auto insurance. – Insurance companies are constantly trying to undercut one another. If you call around and pose as an unsatisfied customer, they’ll bend over backwards to give you a cheaper quote. Even if you call your own insurance company and act the slightest bit disappointed about what you’re paying, they’ll try their best to lower your monthly premium. There are things that you won’t know about that can lower it, though they won’t call you about those things. Rather you’ve got to call them, and don’t mistake being an “unsatisfied customer” for being rude. Make sure to be polite and keep any frustration at bay. The potential for savings here can be pretty high in some cases, but a safe estimate is somewhere between $20 and $40 per month.
Rough Monthly Savings: $30
4. Pack a lunch for work. – This one flies under the radar for most people as it’s almost a given that you go out to eat for lunch somewhere. I know it might be a hard habit to break, but this absolutely kills your budget every month. Think about the cost of restaurant food compared to cooking your own meals and bringing leftovers. Let’s say each meal for one person is around $8 (which is a conservative estimate). Compare that to the roughly $1.50 it costs to bring a Tupperware container of your own food. If you eat lunch out five times a week, you’re losing around $32 per week or $128 per month. This is completely unnecessary and ultimately a waste of money. Going out to eat for a treat as a family is fine, but doing it on a daily basis means you’re spending an incredible amount of money for food that isn’t even that good for you to begin with. Cook your own meals and pack a lunch; you might even save yourself a few hospital bills in the future.
Rough Monthly Savings: $130
5. Limit yourself to one restaurant trip per week. – This might sound crazy to some people, but again, you’re paying way too much money for what you’re getting. Going to a restaurant should be considered a “treat” or an occasion and not counted on as your primary meal time solution. It’s easier than ever to buy groceries and make your own food, so take advantage of that and limited yourself to one meal out per week. The savings here will vary depending on your habit, but will probably fall somewhere around $20 to $50 depending on your number of weekly restaurant visits.
Rough Monthly Savings: $120
6. Buy your own beer instead of going to a bar. — If you go to Costco and buy a case of beer, you’ll get 24 for about $24, or a dollar a beer. If you go to a bar and drink, you’ll pay about $5 each. Enjoy a beer at home with dinner or while watching the game and save yourself the four dollars. Depending on how often you drink this can save you anywhere from $4 to $20 per week.
Rough Monthly Savings: $40
7. Plan your meals when buying groceries. – It takes some work and this is certainly more doable and helpful for a family as opposed to a single person, though it’s very beneficial for any household. You’ll find that when planning meals, you don’t need quite as many things as you would have thought. Planning out just your dinners every week can save you anywhere from $30 to $50 dollars in groceries, and that’s a conservative estimate. Do it for a month and you could hold back $200.
Rough Monthly Savings: $160
written by: Jenny Willis
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net