Let’s face it, saving money is tough. We are in a world full of tempting advertisements, whether it be a commercial for the latest smartphone or a pop-up on your favorite websites, going off of your “budget” is incredibly easy. It comes down to honestly investigating what you’re spending money on, how crucial that thing is and if there’s any way to eliminate or at least reduce the cost.
Just know, it’s never too late to start saving and the following tips will ensure you get on the right track. There are a variety of expense areas you may be spending unnecessarily in, we’ll identify these areas so you know where to lower expenditures.
No matter what way you look at it, this is one area you will always have to spend some amount of money in. Though, you are likely spending much more than is necessary on your food expenses.
Pack Your Lunch
Are you ordering out multiple times per week? Each meal may not seem that expensive, but it will add up. Try meal prepping your lunches each week to save money during lunch break.
While we are on the topic of eating out, you should also take a hard look at how much you are spending each week on takeout or restaurant visits. Just like buying lunch, these costs quickly accumulate. There’s nothing wrong with eating out every once in awhile, but do so with your budget in mind. You should be cooking at home much more than you are going out to eat. When you do eat out, try to avoid the alcoholic beverages. They are a sure way to hike up your bill.
Weekly visits to the grocery store are perhaps the best opportunity to save money. The first step to make each visit successful is to have your meal planning done ahead of time. This means you should have all the ingredients recorded.
Save your leftovers! By saving the extra food from the meal you cooked, you can save time and money. Not only does reheating last night’s dinner for lunch save you meal prep time, but it’s a great way to extend your funds! You may even want to cook a little extra to ensure you have leftovers to utilize!
Make sure you are taking precautionary steps to avoid health issues down the road. For example, get your teeth cleaned and brush regularly to avoid more expensive dental procedures later on. Also, make sure you are taking your medications regularly; properly taking care of yourself will go a long way.
Choosing Your Plan
If your employer offers health insurance, look into the plans and options offered. Try to design the plan around your particular needs. Also keep in mind expenses like copays. Although these expenses can be high, especially at specialists, see if there are discounts for things like paying in cash. Lastly, if your prescription drug plan is costly, ask your doctor about trying generic brands to save money.
Be mindful of the deadline when signing up for medicare, as missing it can be costly. Also look into ways to reduce medicare costs if your income is low.
Sure having the premium channels is great, but not for your budget! Services like Netflix allow you to watch thousands of TV shows and movies for around $10 per month. If you still want to have standard TV to some degree, consider pairing Netflix with basic cable.
There’s no denying that live sporting events, like the NFL or MLB, are fun. Though, these types of events are very costly. You should consider going to local games or the minor leagues to enjoy these types of events while not overspending.
You may feel as though you just can’t miss the midnight premiere of the latest Marvel movie, though these ticket prices are very high! Try heading to the movie theater when matinee prices are available to save a couple bucks. Also, avoid the concessions! You will quickly match your ticket price and beyond in snacks if you aren't careful.
Is your favorite artist making a tour stop in your town? You may feel as though you must be there, but it could set you back hundred(s) of dollars. Try looking into attending shows for local bands, discounted shows on college campuses (a great way to see a big name), opt for the “cheap seats,” etc.
You can in fact have fun without spending a single dollar. Going for hikes, visiting local parks, community events (concerts, festivals, etc.)… get creative!
Electronics & Tech Expenses
Buying a new laptop or desktop is a costly expenditure but there are plenty of ways to save money when upgrading. Consider buying refurbished from an authorized reseller or see if you can get a reasonable discount by buying it used on Ebay. Additionally, don’t just impulse buy. There are plenty of sales throughout the year on popular electronics, look for them!
Let’s face it, cell phone’s aren’t cheap and their price often seems nonnegotiable. This may not be the case! Here’s a few ideas to lower costs:
- Get a plan with less options
- Switch to prepaid
- Use online apps, like Skype or Google Voice, to make international calls
- Limit use on your phone when traveling internationally or get a plan to accommodate
- Cut the landline
Be sure to unplug your devices when you are not using them. Leaving them plugged in for hours can make unnecessary additions to your electric bill.
Joining a gym is a great way to stay in shape, but are you actually going? If you aren’t, it may be time to end the membership as it’s likely charging you monthly. If you don’t want to close the membership, ask the gym if you can adjust your rate based on how frequently you plan to attend.
Workout At Home
You don’t have to join a gym to stay in shape! There are plenty of workouts that you can do at home that don’t require equipment. If you do need equipment, buy cheap options like dumbbells instead of a weight-lifting machine. Be sure to look for free exercise videos online as well!
First, be smart when picking the right loan to buy a house. Review a few lending outlets and weigh the pros and cons. Second, consider refinancing your mortgage. Doing this can save thousands of dollars.
Homeowners insurance is costly, to say the least. Check out other offers annually to ensure you are getting a competitive rate.
Look over your house and analyze what you are spending money on. You can typically discover ways to save large amounts by getting a home energy check done. Also, use methods like sealing the home to prevent heat or air conditioning from escaping (depending on the season). Lastly, try to keep heating/cooling costs realistic, perhaps compromising the perfect temperature is worth the price?
This is a great way to get exercise while saving money. If walking or riding your bicycle to your destination is within a reasonable and safe distance from your home, you should consider it!
This is another great way to keep travel costs low. Taking the subway or a transit bus can remove driving stresses as well as reduce expenses. These travels options are great, especially if you live a city setting.
Owning a car and driving may be unavoidable, so be sure to be as cost conscious as possible. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Buy used
- Ensure your car is gas efficient (maybe electric!)
- Purchase a car within your means
- Know when it’s time to buy a new car
- Use the cheapest gas
- Avoid speeding (uses more gas)
No matter your current financial situation, there are tons of opportunities to save money. Starting is the most difficult part of saving, but if you stay disciplined, you finances will be on the fast track to success in no time!