A couple dollars here, a couple dollars there. It can’t add up to much, right? Wrong. What sabotages most people’s budgets isn’t the big-ticket, once in a blue moon purchases like a new flat screen TV or a vacation, it’s the everyday expenditures that we don’t usually even keep track of. Here you’ll find some of the best ways to save money on a daily basis. If you make these changes and save every dollar you would have spent, in a year’s time you’ll likely have enough for a second flat screen or an extra trip.
One of Best Ways to Save Money: Frugal Grocery Shopping
While the ambience may not be as nice as your regular supermarket, the prices are definitely lower. Bagging your own groceries, buying in bulk, and saving unused portions for future use are just a few of the easiest and best ways to save money on your grocery bill. Combine those practices with choosing store and generic brands, and you can easily save a few dollars per bag.
Saving Money by BYOW (Bring Your Own Water)
Many businesses have vending machines containing sodas, ice teas, energy drinks and even bottled water. Instead of feeding these machines an average of $2 to $4 a day, bring bottled water from home. This is without question one of the best and easiest ways to save money. A 24-pack of store-brand water in twelve-ounce bottles usually runs about $2.50 making the cost of each bottle a mere 11¢. If you can’t stomach the taste of plain water, bring along flavoring packets. Another option is to drink tap water. Of course, you’ll also save by bringing your own soft drinks to work. Whether you buy individual sizes at the grocery store or bring in a 2-liter bottle and pour from that, you’re looking at marked savings over feeding the vending machine. In no time, you’ll be off in the right path by spending less and saving more.
Best Way to Keep the Caffeine and Lose the Cost
$5 for a cup of coffee? Even if it’s a ‘venti latte’, it’s still highway robbery. While there’s no doubt that specialty coffee shops make exceptional coffee, the cost is extraordinarily high. Do the math. Twenty cups of coffee a month at $5 each comes to $100; that’s $1,200 a year! If you love coffee, stop at 7-11 or McDonald’s where freshly brewed coffee is only $1 dollar—a far more reasonable price. Or better still, make coffee at home and bring it to work in a thermos. It’ll be hot and ready for you all day and it’s a great way to save some money.
Say Goodbye to Convenience Store Snacks
Purchasing snacks from the vending machine at work or even from a convenience store is another savings pitfall. Instead, buy snack-size treats at the grocery store and fill your desk drawer, locker or lunch box with them. You might even consider buying the value-sized package of your favorites and dole them out into zipper-close plastic bags. (The zipper-close bags also give you the opportunity to snack a little healthier by bringing sliced fruits and veggies.) If you don’t think you can resist the call of the vending machine at work, make sure you leave all your dollar bills and change at home before heading in.
Bag Some Savings in Your Lunch Sack
While packing your lunch for the next day does cut into your evening a little, it saves you time during the day. With a tasty lunch waiting for you in the office refrigerator, you save time and gas not having to drive or walk to the nearest restaurant or fast food place. That means you get more time to enjoy your lunch break. What’s more, preparing your own lunch from items you buy at the grocery store just about guarantees you a healthier meal. Most people choose fast food for lunch, much of which is breaded and fried in oil. A sandwich or salad you prepare at home is probably not and will help you save big in the wallet department.
Avoid Spontaneous Trips to the Supermarket
You go in just needing milk and bread, and you leave $25 later laden with a fat bag of groceries most of which you don’t need. Try to avoid going to the market unless it’s for your weekly shopping trip that should include a detailed list. This way, you’ll be less tempted to buy unnecessary—and often unhealthy—extras like chips, cookies, ice cream and deli items which all look too good to resist. Additionally, when you do go to the grocery store for your weekly shop, avoid paying with a credit card. Instead, try to pay with cash so you feel the money leaving your hands.
Get Your News from Cyber Space
Do you truly need a subscription to your local newspaper? Do you actually have time to read it? Today, most people have a computer, a tablet, a smartphone or all three. Any of these devices can deliver the news to you without you spending a dime. If you stop your newspaper subscription not only will you save money, you’ll also be doing something good for the environment by saving trees.
Sure, It’s Premium Cable: You Pay a Premium for It
How often to do you flip on HBO or Showtime to find a 10-year-old movie you’ve seen dozens of times before? Cancelling your subscriptions to these premium services can save you $20 a month and up. Instead of shelling out a monthly fee to your cable company, switch to Hulu or Netflix or rent movies from RedBox for only $1.00 a night. Cutting the cord will help you save $5,000 at the end of the year. You’ll not only save money, you’ll get to watch what you really want. Utility bills are never fun but there are 5 calls you can make today to get cheaper bills.
Walk, Carpool or Bus: Save Getting to Where You Earn
This tip is probably the toughest of all, but it can pay off the most. If you happen to live close enough to work to walk, do so taking advantage of the savings in gas, wear and tear on your car, and the increased exercise. If walking isn’t an option, consider forming a carpool with some of your co-workers. Again, you’ll save on gas as well as wear and tear on your car. Finally, if you live in a city or town with good public transportation, consider using it for your commute to and from work. Not only will you save on fuel costs and use of your car, but you’ll also save on the amount of emissions poured into the air every day. Plus, buying a monthly pass is hands down cheaper than the cost of gasoline to and from work. And as an added bonus: you get to read, relax or play a game on your phone, etc. because someone else is doing the driving.
Of course, the key to any of these savings is to divert the money you save to your bank account where it will hopefully remain untouched and earn interest until you have a tidy sum. Make the commitment to live the frugal lifestyle and watch the savings rack up.