Benjamin Franklin said it best, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” But with inflation, a penny doesn’t go near as far as it used to. Of course it would be awesome if you could save a grand from your expenses each month and maybe for some it is possible. But even if you can’t manage to save up $1000 in a month, freeing up some cash flow can go a long way toward easing the strain on a tight budget. So here are 5 easy ways to save money that can get you started on the right foot.
1. Stop Making Car Payments
The average car payment is roughly $450-500 so not having a car payment can save you quite a bit each month. Maybe you are within 12 months of paying off that car so it might be best to keep it running, drive it for a few years and save up some cash for a replacement. On the other hand, maybe you are paying too much for a car that you really can’t afford and need to sell it and replace it with something more affordable. Easing the financial strain could well be worth it.
2. Stop Smoking
This isn’t as easy as it sounds, so hopefully smoking isn’t an issue for you, but if it is, you could be spending a fortune each time you light up. If you assume the minimum cost of a pack of cigarettes is $5, a pack-a-day habit is costing $150 per month. Spending more per pack or smoking more per day only multiplies that cost. Quitting or even cutting back can result in some health benefits as well as some financial benefits.
3. Stop Eating Out
Restaurants are expensive. Many of us are busy and the convenience of having someone prepare food for you after a long day is incredibly tempting. But consider what the cost might be. Even fast food is often a minimum of $5 per person. Do that twice each week with a family of four and you are spending $160-$200 per month. Preparing food at home costs much less and is most likely healthier for you as well. If you end at a sit down restaurant, the costs can easily triple especially when spending over $2 for a soda! Ouch! Drinking water or getting take out can at least put a dent in that expense if you insist you are too tired.
4. Stop Drinking Out
Or at least be aware that a night of drinks will cost you. There is nothing wrong with unwinding after work or spending some time out with friends on the weekend, but consider doing some of your drinking at home and limiting the expense at the club to one or two. Again, it is sometimes the little things that can add up to some big numbers.
5. Stop Unused Subscriptions
Have you ever joined something with a recurring payment and simply forgot to cancel it? Take the time to make sure that there are no automatic payments being charged to a credit card or being deducted from an account for something that you are no longer using. Gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and service agreements are examples of recurring charges that you may not need anymore. Do a little financial housekeeping.
I am sure there are other items in the budget that could be trimmed in order to find some additional savings. The important part is to examine one’s expenses and see what could be cut. After all, saving money can be just as vital as earning it.