Will These Small Lifestyle Changes Save You Big Money?
Saving money isn’t always easy, but we’ve got some great ideas. What about you? Check out these money-savers and then share some of your own tips and tricks with us.
Track your expenses. You may think you know what you earn and what you spend, but do you really? Take one month and track every penny you spend. From that sweet morning latte to that oh-so-rare scratch ticket. Until you really know what you spend, you can’t know where to trim. Once you get into the habit of watching your money, you’ll also think twice before spending it.
Use autopay. Take advantage of autopay for every bill you can. School loans, rent, utilities, car payments, credit cards, and more, can all be paid online. Autopay is convenient and time-saving, but it can also save you money. One late payment can cost in added interest, fees, and penalties. It can also harm your credit score, which could increase the cost of borrowing and cost you thousands of dollars over time.
Choose cash. Remember how your grandparents paid for things? They used cash—and checks when they knew there was money in their bank accounts. Once you have autopay set up for recurring charges, use cash for everything else. It feels more like real money than a credit or ATM card. Because it is! Also get into the habit of only withdrawing that cash from your bank’s ATM. It will be slightly less convenient—which is a good thing—and you’ll save money on those nasty non-network ATM fees.
Cut up your credit cards. Seriously. You can keep the credit but give yourself a break from actually using it. If that’s too drastic a measure for you, then lock them away or give them to someone you can trust not to use them. And add your credit cards to your autopay list. But don’t just pay the minimum due. That’s throwing money down the drain! If you can’t pay it all off every month, at least pay more than the minimum.
Shop efficiently. Cut down on your grocery bill by choosing the chain with the best prices and buying off-brand. Often those store labels are the exact same as the brand you love. Instead of making several trips a week to the store, make only one and be sure to bring a list. It will help you cut down on impulsive purchases. Bring a calculator along too. You can use it to tally your spend and also to avoid getting sucked into pricing that look like bargains but aren’t. For example that super big box of cereal may look like a good deal, but measure it against its baby brother to determine the per ounce price. Is it really less expensive?
Buy a crockpot. How can spending money on an appliance save you money? Lots of ways. First, when you cook at home instead of eating out, you save money. The long simmer nature of the cooking also means you can buy cheaper cuts of meat that will still taste delicious. Plus cooking in bulk provides you with extras that you can use for a second dinner or lunchtime.
Give up coffee stops and fast food breaks. Sure a few bucks for a cup of coffee doesn’t sound like a big deal but those dollars add up. If you also frequent fast food franchises, you’re not only wasting money; you’re not eating healthy.
Ditch cable. The average American spends more than $100 per month on cable.1 What could you do with an extra $1,200 a year? If you’re not ready to fully cut ties, trim back the bill to a stripped down version. Instead of expensive add-ons, consider paying for the individual shows you really want to watch with an on-demand approach. You could even check out the offerings at your local library. They’re free!
Become a DIY expert. You don’t have to become a plumber or electrician, but there are many maintenance and repair projects you could take on yourself. Whether you insulate your attic, fix that leaky faucet with a new washer, or do your own paint project, you’ll save money and increase the value of your home. And the great news is that for almost any project, there’s an online tutorial. Just look!
Another great way to improve your finances is to improve your job. Are you looking for a new career? Check out the career-focused training at Charter College. We have a wide range of programs in Aviation, Business, Healthcare, Information Technology, Veterinary Studies, and some Trades.