Have you ever heard anyone say that they have enough savings, or that they don’t need to save any more money. No, everyone that I know is looking for ways to cut their expenses and save more. You could clip coupons or wait and shop for sale items. You could cut your entertainment budget, stop going out or, you could do what I did, and action on these five change, which for me were small-ish sacrifices. Now I am in no way an expert on the matter, and your savings may differ based on your lifestyle and circumstance. Even as I started to write out this list, I was surprised at how much I have actually saved!! With these five change, I have been able to add almost $600 to my savings account.
Bring your Lunch to Work: One of the simplest ways you can save money is by packing a lunch. I typically paid anywhere fro $8-10 for lunch on a given day, and most days I was so busy I ate at my desk. If you want to make a quick dent in you spending habits, try a bag lunch. A couple ways to make this easier on you. 1. Save leftovers after dinner, before I serve dinner I portion off and pack up enough for two lunches. This means that we don’t over eat to try and finish the dish. I grew up in a family of six and still have not mastered cooking for two. 2. If you don’t plan for leftovers, specifically make something the night before (or during the weekend).
On Sundays, when I do my meal planning, grocery shopping and meal prep, I decided if I am going to plan for leftovers or make something for lunch each day. I still go out for lunch occasionally, but I cut my monthly lunch bill significantly without too much of an inconvenience. Monthly Savings $90.
Discount Grocery Stores: Stores like Aldi have great deals on produce and protein. This is where I found some of the biggest discounts and savings on groceries. A few weeks ago I tested my theory out about how much I could save, I ran in and grabbed ingredients for stir-fry. Including 1.5lbs of chicken, onions, red and yellow peppers, pea pods, asparagus and carrots. My total came in under $10 and it made enough for dinner and leftovers for two. My typical grocery bill every two weeks for our household was $200, at Aldi I have cut that down to $125. Of course it depends on what you buy, and I still go to the larger chain grocery stores for those name brand items that we love. Not switching out my Heinz Ketchup for nothing. Actively tracking my receipts over the past two months, I estimate Monthly Savings $150.
Your Morning Coffee: I drink coffee every morning on my way in to work, I first started scaling back and making coffee at home in the Keurig versus stopping at Caribou or Starbucks. This meant I went from $3 a day to under $1 for my k-cups. I moved from around $60 at my coffee houses, to less than $20 per month. I decided to double down on my savings and now I buy coffee grounds in bulk and use a reusable k-cup, you can cut that $20 down to just $10. Do some research on reusable k-cups before you buy. New Keurig machines require you have a specific k-cup. I wasted my money on a generic brand that didn’t work with my machine. Now, I use only Keurig brand reusable k-cups and haven’t had a problem. Monthly Savings $50.
Public Transportation: I typically drive the 22 miles to work each day sitting in rush-hour traffic, wasting gas and paying $9 each day for parking. I did the math and pay about $180 for parking and another $60 on gas each month. I switched over to my companies metro transit plan which is only $52 per month. The park and ride is only 2 miles from my house, not to mention the wear and tear I am going to be preventing on my car. Not only am I saving money, but the bus drops me off in front of my building. That means I no longer have the 10 minute walk to and from my car each morning, the. Lastly, I am super productive during the commute with the free WI-FI. I get more work done without adding to my workday. Monthly Savings $175.
Get Rid of Cable: Cable is one of the most expensive utilities that we all pay and seriously it is getting out of control. At one point our cable bill reached $230 per month. They always hook you with the fancy bundles, I don’t even think our landline is plugged in. Earlier this year the husband and I finally cut the cord. We canceled our cable. GASP! Although I did miss it initially, after only a month, I adapted. My husband and I spent more time together and all of our television watching switched to Netflix. Instead of spending a small fortune on cable we now spend $15 per month for Netflix. We cut our cable bill down to $90 (high speed internet). Monthly Savings $125.
I am always trying to find other was to reduce my expenses and increase my monthly savings. What tips do you have for saving money and reducing your monthly bills?