No matter how many ways you stretch that paycheck”¦ it can wind up feeling like there’s just too much month left at the end of the money. So, with skyrocketing prices on everything from groceries and gas to homes and cars, is there a realistic way to save without living like a church mouse? Absolutely.
Believe it or not, making small changes throughout the week can add up to big savings year round. Here’s a day by day guide to get you started. Implement these seven tips, and you could easily save up to $100 in a single month.
Monday- Home Brewed Savings
Investing in a quality travel mug (check out ReusableBags.com for safe ones) and a bag of premium roast coffee from your local grocery store can help you wean yourself off of your morning coffee shop habit””saving you anywhere from $10-35 per week, depending on what you order. Or, for a little variety from your everyday office java routine, try buying a box of teabags and keeping them in your desk. Most workplaces have free hot water, and a box of tea will probably run you less than $3. Try green tea for antioxidants and an energy boost, or a soothing jasmine blend for those stressful Monday morning meetings.
Tuesday- Ditch the Subscriptions
Most magazines and Newspapers are now available online, eliminating the need for home delivery or those impulsive drug store buys. Getting your news, gossip and fashion tips from your computer can save you a bundle over the glossier versions. Also, you might want to check out your local library for DVDs, CDs, magazines, and books. The selection is surprisingly varied- and you can’t beat free!
Wednesday- Shop Smarter
Rising prices can make shoppers feel like they’re buying gold instead of groceries, but there are ways to make the experience less painful. Making a list- and sticking to it- can help reduce impulse buys. Free online coupon services can add up to big savings. (Just don’t buy something simply because you have a coupon. A good rule of thumb is to only print coupons for the things you were going to buy anyway) And finally, take advantage of your local discount grocery or “dollar deal” stores, especially for canned or boxed goods, school supplies, and hygiene or cleaning supplies. Which brings us to”¦
Thursday- Cheap Cleaning
Cleaning supplies are expensive, smelly, and (if you have little ones or pets) can be downright dangerous. Trying some affordable alternatives to chemically produced products can help you save both money and the environment. Vinegar and water make a great glass cleaner, and a baking soda paste will leave everything from your laundry to your pots and pans sparkling clean. Other eco-friendly money savers include only running the washer or dryer when they’re full, and setting you’re a/c to 84 when you leave the house. (Check out The Natural Way To Clean Everything In Your House.)
Friday- Get Organized to Save
We’ve all done it”¦ we get a bill in the mail, set it aside with every intention of paying it, and the next thing we know, it’s been swallowed up by the desk clutter; where we promptly forget about it until the next one comes””with a late fee attached. Taking one day out of the week to organize your bills and straighten your finances can save you a fortune in late charges and bank overdrafts. And, in theory, since you’re doing it once a week, it shouldn’t take much time at all.
Saturday- Double up on Cooking
There are literally dozens of recipies that don’t take much more time, effort, or money to make twice as much of. Try making extra lasagna, chili, or pork chops on Saturday night, and stashing the surplus in the freezer. Then, instead of reaching for the phone to order a pizza on a day when you don’t feel like cooking after work, just pop your homemade “TV dinner” in the oven.
Sunday- Free Fun
Often, saving money means cutting back on weekend activities. But with a little creativity, you can have an affordable adventure at the end of your week. For a date that’s as romantic as it is free, check out your local art gallery openings. (Appetizers, wine, and insight”¦ all in one night) For some family friendly fun, look into your local department of parks and recreation; most of them offer entertainment and classes for the whole clan and great rates. Or, grab a map and play “tourist” in your own town. You’d be surprised at what you miss on a daily basis as you rush through your day.
Saving money doesn’t have to be a painful process. Making a few smart choices every week can lead to your savings account blossoming in no time”¦ What else would you add to the list?
The above was a guest post from Jeff Roberts.