- Personal Finance
5 Tips for saving money that are easy to follow
Some people think that saving money means giving up everything they love and depriving themselves of daily indulgences. The truth is that everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons of saving and decide what is more important to them. If giving up one of your daily caffeine rushes would mean having enough to go on a cruise to the Caribbean would you do it? What if that slinky dress and hot shoes were attainable and all you have to do is give up that premium cable channel that you don’t even watch. Most people don’t realize how small purchases can add up to large sums over the months. Below is just a few examples of how the average person can save thousands a year by making small adjustments to their lifestyles.
This is the age of computers. For some people going green is the right thing to do and for others it’s the cool thing to do. Whatever your reason, ‘going green’ does more than just save the planet, it saves your wallet too. The postal service is becoming obsolete for many services and paying monthly bills is one of them. Many if not all companies offer online payment in an effort to go green. Let’s say the average family has at least 4 monthly bills to pay; at least one utility bill, phone, internet/cable and one credit card. For a lot of people there will be more than these 4 basic bills. The going rate for stamps is $0.45 each. Multiply that by four per month and then 12 months in a year and the average person spends about $21.60 each year just to pay the bills on top of the bill itself. $0.45 might not sound like a lot individually but they start to add up quickly.
According to the USDA the average 4 family household with children under the age of 5 spends $850.70/month on a moderate food budget plan. That number gets bumped up to $1,012.60 with 2 children over the age of 5. The low cost is $10,208.4 per year on basic food consumption. Rewards credit cards offer at least 1% cash back on all purchases. If all food is charged and paid off every month the yearly savings would be $102.08 per year. If you are spending more than this average you should also take a closer look at what you are buying and attempt to cut down on food costs. Generic store brands are often less expensive than name brands for the same quality.
Places like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are as successful as they are because of the human need to consume large quantities of caffeine every day. A cup of coffee goes for about $1 - $3 and sometimes more for the more interesting varieties. Double espresso mocha latte with extra foam… Ugh, too many options. A lot of people consume several cups a day of these caffeine riddled, empty calorie, largely overpriced concoctions. I have even seen people I work with throw out almost full cups because they didn’t get a chance to drink it and it got cold. I am not saying people should give up caffeine all together, (although that might not be a bad idea health wise) I am suggesting people give up one cup a day, preferable during lunch or right after. If a person gave up just one cup of coffee a day what would give them a yearly savings of about $260 - $780. You can go on a cruise these days for as little as $499 for a week. So, weigh a cup of caffeine that probably wont drink anyway over a fun filled week in an exotic location. Hmm, tough choice.
A very simple but obvious saving is credit card fees. Many credit card companies now charge monthly or yearly fees with no noticeable benefits. I see no reason to keep a credit card that gives me absolutely nothing and charges me for it. The average price is $60/year. Eliminating this card will enable you to go out with friends or buy something for yourself you might have been feeling guilty about.
Another huge expense in an average household is the cable bill. I personally feel that cable companies are getting ridiculous with how much they charge for a cable package. On top of basic cable most companies charge per premium channel like HBO, Showtime, Encore or Starz. The going rate per premium channel is about $20/month. Who actually watches all the channels they have at their disposal. Cutting out one will grant you an extra $240/year.
By following all these simple suggestions you can save around $1203.68 a year without having to make drastic lifestyle changes.
Stamps – $0.45 x 4 x 12 = $21.60
Food - $10,208.40 x 1% = $102.08
Mid-day coffee or beverage - $1.00 - 3.00 x 5 x 52 = $260.00 - $780.00
Monthly credit card fee - $5.00 x 12 = $60
Cable premium channel package - $20 x 12 - $240.00