6 Ways to Save Money Every Day
Before the current recession, you might not believe me that you can Save Money Every Day. Regardless of what the economy is doing, don't you want to have more money in your pocket every month?
Of course, the silver lining of the current economic crisis is that people are learning to live with less. But some pundits believe that it won't last when the economy turns around.
Why not? There are many ways you can save money on a daily basis. You don't have to be broke or near bankruptcy to use these simple tips! Benjamin Franklin famously said:
"A fool and his money are soon parted."
When I was laid off from my job last month, my husband and I took a hard look at our budget. We managed to cut about $700 a month simply by making a few daily changes. Saving on childcare too (we don't need it when I'm not working), and making some other larger changes (outlined in a subsequent hub), we are still able to pay our bills and have not fallen behind.
None of these suggestions require any big effort on your part. And this is not Suze Orman-style advice regarding your investments, buying a home or saving for college. In fact, I believe that little changes like the ones in this article add up for significant savings that you'll feel immediately in your budget.
What? You don't have a budget? Well, before we get started, you should get out copies of your bills from last month and write down each amount. Include your rent or mortgage, too. Then add in some figures for fuel, groceries, personal hygiene (haircuts, etc), clothing and entertainment (meals out, coffee, movies, rentals, sitters), and medical (if you have any co-pays). Add everything up and then take a look at your take-home paycheck figure.
You can't save money until you get realistic about your income and money you're spending.
Frugal Living Resources
Below are Save Money Every Day tips that worked for our family. In some areas of the country, you may save less. In others, even more. What I am telling you is that it CAN be done.
Are you ready to try?
1. Consolidate trips in your vehicle. Consider that a gallon of gas is currently about $2. If you can save a single gallon each day by cutting back your driving by about 30 miles (trust me, it adds up fast), then you can pocket about $15 a week, which translates to at least $60 a month! Pretty amazing when you think of it!
Over a year, how would you like to have an extra $700-800?
2. Clip coupons. Now, I'm with you with respect to what a pain in the rear it is to go through the newspaper to look for specials. Most of the time, they aren't even what you are shopping for. So, go to www.coupons.com instead. You can print out coupons for anything on your shopping list. We save between $10-50 on each grocery store trip.
Over the course of a month, that's an extra $100-300! Annual savings: $1200-3600, or more!
3. Create a spending journal. Its not enough that you write down purchases in your check ledger. Instead, get a small notebook in which you will track all your expenditures for at least a month. Just like a person that is looking to lose weight, once you are honest about your spending, you can start to get a handle on it. Are you losing money on coffee? Lunches out? Haircuts? You won't know until you examine your own spending habits.
By this simple exercise, I "found" an extra $25-50 a week (up to $200/month) in unnecessary lattes and sandwiches. That frees up an extra $2400 a year to put into the piggy bank.
4. Pay cash for everything. This isn't just about not using your credit cards. My suggestion is to take out $200 and set a limit on how long it must last (I suggest at least 2 days). Peeling out $20 bills at the grocery store is a lot more difficult than swiping a debit card or even writing a check.
Average savings: $100 a week.
5. Stop or limit trips to the dry cleaner. My husband is a professional and generally wears dry clean only clothes. But we've cut our costs in half by working to wear items more than once before taking them in. Since I'm not out of the home right now, I only wear machine washable clothing.
We figure we're saving $50-75 a month. At a bare minimum, that's $600 a year.
6. Pay bills online. This serves two purposes. First, you can schedule payments so you won't be late. With credit cards, that can save you $35-60 a month. Second, you save time and money by not having to manually write and mail checks. The current price for a book of stamps is getting close to $10.
Put an extra $10-100 per month in your pocket.
These 6 ways to Save Money Every Day are only the beginning. They are easy changes that you can start right now. No phone calls to make. No cancelations. The dollars here and there really add up.
In my next Hub, I'll go over some of the bigger budget changes we made to save even more. They require a bit more of a lifestyle change, but all in all, we don't feel like we're missing a few of the things we've cut out.
Even when the economy turns around, you should be in the habit of smart spending. And perhaps you can even take some of the extra cash saved through these tips to go on a vacation or buy something nice!
You've earned it.