If you’re like most people during an economic slump, checking your bank account for your balance is a pretty stressful experience. I used to be in the same boat as you until I made a few changes to my lifestyle.
First of all, you need to figure out what you can do without and cut back on. I’ll give you a list of what I cut back on and show you the money I saved.
I smoked a pack a day and I bought each pack for around $5.35 and up! I decided to stop smoking and if you add up $5.35 per day at 365 days per year, I’m saving almost $1,953 per year! Not only are there great health benefits if you stop smoking, but when is the last time you couldn’t use an extra $1900 in you account?
I used to eat a lot of fast food. Cooking at home seemed like such a hassle, but my wife and I have decided to cook more often, rather than hit the local restaurant. Anyway, I work out of town a lot, so eating at home isn’t always an option. I pack my lunches now and it saves a lot of money. Sometimes I would spend $4 on a meal and sometimes I would spend $12 on a meal. I ate all types of food from different places and I kept all my receipts for my job, so I was able to determine that I had an average meal expense of about $7.50 per meal. This will be a different price for you, but this should give you an example of how much I’m saving now. Five days per week, three times per day I would spend an average of $7.50 eating. Multiply that by 5 days and that number by 52 weeks, and we get a whopping $5,850!!
If I make my meals for the day and take them with me, I cut the price in half! That’s another savings of $2,925 per year.
I’m only in town for 5 days a week. I’m almost never home, so when I am home, I spend as much time with my family as I can and we tend to eat at a ‘sit-down’ restaurant for almost every meal. On average, we were spending over $100 per week eating out! That’s $400 per month, which adds up to over $4,800 per year! We reduced that amount to $50 per week instead of our usual $100. That’s an annual savings of over $2,400!
Now, I know most of you can’t live without your cell phone. I use mine to work, so I know what you mean. But consider reducing your plan. Do you really need unlimited talk, text and web access? I was spending $350 per month on my phone and my wife’s phone. We both took reduced plans and lowered our monthly payment to just under $200. That means we’re saving $150 per month, which adds up to $1,800 per year! You should contact your service provider and see how many minutes you use, text messages you send and web data you use to determine if a reduced plan is right for you. Many of us get unlimited plans ‘just in case’ or for whatever reason, but if you’re not using it, why pay a massive fee for it? If you’ve already reduced you plan and you’re still spending too much, consider a ‘pre-paid’ cell phone. Many different providers offer unlimited talk, text and web from $40-$65 per month! Imagine the savings with that!
After you’ve made your saving arrangements, you need to sit down and make a budget for your home. If you get paid every week, make a weekly budget. If you get paid bi-weekly or once a month, make a budget for every other week or for the month. When you make a budget, you need to add every expense you can and don’t leave anything out. You need a budget for your bills, groceries, and other expenses. When you go grocery shopping, take a calculator and add up every item you get. You’ll know once you hit your limit and you can take a few things out if you still need essential items. Don’t stray from your budget! This is a huge mistake. Eating at that restaurant after your ‘eating out fund’ is empty and buying clothes after your ‘extra expenses fund’ is empty can add up to BIG expenses over the course of the year. If you need more money in a certain category, take it out of the money you were going to save and add it to the budget, so that next time you have the cash.
Now, let’s add up all my savings and see how much money I’ll save per year.
$1,953 – Stop Smoking
$2,925 – Bag lunch instead of fast food
$2,400 – reduced family eat-out budget
$1,800 – reduced cell phone plans
WOW!! I’m saving over $9,078 per year!! Look at that! I had $9,000 of extra cash and I didn’t even know it. That type of money could help you with utility bills, car payments, debt and so much more! My wife and I have started using the money to upgrade our home. New TV’s, exercise machines, furniture, painting the house, electronics, and so much more! There’s an extra $9,000 in our budget and we’re finally able to do all the things we never thought we had the money for.
Yes, there are plenty of other ways to save money, but with just the few listed above, we’ve saved thousands and you can do the same. Whatever you reason to save, you can do it and you don’t have to turn your life upside down to do it either.
For tips about saving money, please leave a comment and any advice available will be given. Thank you for reading.