Think you cannot save any money? Think putting away $100 a month into a savings account or towards paying off some credit card is impossible? If so, you would be wrong, as there are ways that anyone and everyone could save something – you just have to think a little creatively and look at the small picture rather than your overall monthly income balance sheet. There are hidden pennies and dollars everywhere you look! This is not for the person looking to put away hundreds of dollars a month, but rather for those of you looking to save anything at all – and here is where you can find the money.
If you buy a soda at work every day, stop immediately. At $1+ a pop (no pun intended, for those of you from the midwest), that is $5+ a week, $20+ a month, or
$1,000+ (I must have been sleeping during math class) $240+ a year. You can instead A. buy the soda you like in bulk and bring it from home (to save a little) or B. drink tap water that you fill up a reusable bottle with (to save a lot). Either way, you save money. Start putting that in a jar somewhere and send it to the bank or credit card at the end of each month and see what a difference you have made already.
Ever go out to eat? If so, you are wasting money. I know, I love to eat out too. But if you are in a budget crunch or you have credit card debt, you need to stop eating out asap. Know what a single $20 meal a week adds up to over a year? $960! We used to eat out all the time and now we go once a week at most, and sometimes not at all. It’s a luxury we enjoy, but it would be the first thing we cut if money gets tight.
Do you purchase lunch every day with your co-workers? How about taking lunch from home just one day a week? I still know people that buy $15 lunches every single day, yet they complain that they don’t make enough money. Well, $15 a day X 5 days a week X 50 weeks a year equals spending $3,750 just on eating out at lunch. So if you are doing that and you can stop cold-turkey, you just gave yourself a raise.
So how much have we saved in a year so far? $240 from not buying soda at work, $960 from eating out each week, and $3,750 by bringing your lunch from home. Grand total? $4,950 just from small changes. Now, where else can we save a little? Let’s take a look…
Start using the library and stop buying books that you will only read once. If you need a reference book that you will go back to time and time again, by all means buy it. But you know just as well as I do that most books you read you will never read again, so why not borrow it for free instead of buying it? Believe me, I have more than enough books I never read again – I learned my lesson!
Use less of everything you use. Seems simple, right? How about a little less laundry soap, a little less toothpaste, a little less paper towel? You will never see the money that you save, but if you use less of something then that product lasts longer – which saves you money in the long run. And your laundry won’t know the difference.
Quit smoking. Now. At $5 a pack X 365 days a year, that’s $1,825 spent on a habit that only does one thing – gives you cancer. I can think of plenty of things I would rather spend $2,000 on other than giving myself cancer. (Business idea – buy an xray machine and charge people $1,825 to spray them with radiation and give them cancer – that way they don’t have to even smoke to get it. I could be rich!)
These are just a few things you can implement TODAY if you are truly in need of either saving money or paying off debt. Complaining about a lack of money while continuing to do any of these things is an exercise in futility. How can you expect things to get better if you don’t take charge of your spending? Not one of these things impacts your lifestyle in a negative way and they only serve to save you money. What are you waiting for…get started!
For those of you who have found success in eliminating non-essentials from your budget to free up some money, what tips could you offer? Let us all know!