Trying to cut back on expenses and increase savings can be a vital part in upping your financial well-being. How can you cut back on expenses when you already have a ‘bare bones’ budget? Think outside the box and look at your daily habits and activities.
Let’s take a look at several habits that can keep money in your pocket.
Before you go shopping, make a list (and stick to it)
I’m guilty of going shopping and ending up with a few rogue items in my shopping cart. “Oh, a new flavor of Cliff Bar? I better try it. WHAT? Even ‘cheezier’ Cheetos? Yes please!” The easiest way to avoid falling victim to this is to make a list of things that you need to make your meals for the week. Try it. Only buy things that are on the list and not only will you save money but you won’t end up with a cupboard full of Cheetos. Since we’re on the topic of grocery shopping…
Pack a lunch
Do you have that co-worker that always complains about being broke but always seems to have money to order in lunch every day? Don’t be the person your co-workers get to use as an example! Let’s say the average delivered lunch (with delivery tip) might cost around $10. What does $10 get you at the grocery store? $3.50 for a loaf of good bread, $4.50 for a pack of lunch meat, and for $2 you can buy a block of cheese. I think you get the point. For the price of one delivered lunch, you can have supplies to make lunch at home for 1-2 weeks. Even if you start bringing lunch once a week, the money saved can be significant.
Bring your own coffee to work
Buying coffee from a coffeehouse can be a simple and inexpensive treat, but the costs can add up quickly. While a regular small coffee will ‘only’ set you back about $2, fancy espresso and blended drinks can put you out $5. A 1 lb. bag of coffee might run you $8-10 dollars, but will make 100+ cups of coffee! Even at the high end of the price range, that’s only $0.10 a cup. Add in the cost of creamer, you might be looking at a $0.15 cup of coffee.
Walk or bike to work
If you are able, walking or biking to work is not only good for Mother Earth and your waist line, but it’s also great for your wallet! If you can walk or bike to work one day a week, that decreases your commute expense by 20%.
When you do drive, make sure tires are inflated
I’m no car expert, but the car experts I have read articles from say for every 1 PSI your tires are under inflated, it decreases your fuel efficiency by 0.4%. That doesn’t seem like much, but if your car gets 30 MPG and your tires are underinflated by 5 PSI, that effectively eats up one whole MPG. Given that the average American drives 12,000 miles a year, this would save about 14 gallons of fuel.
Turn off water when brushing teeth
I used to be guilty of this one, but when my wife called me out on it a few years ago I’ve been never gone back. I never used to think about it, but while mindlessly brushing my teeth I’d let the water run. It’s simple: shut the water off when you don’t need it. It will probably save you a few gallons a day. Again, great for both Mother Earth and your wallet.
Turn off electricity when leaving a room
I was able to return the favor to my wife for calling me out on the whole water thing. She’s guilty of leaving lights on when she leaves a room. While I’m a little fanatical about shutting off all the lights, I think about all the energy and money we can save over the course of a year. That’s what keeps me shutting all the lights off (and reminding my wife to do the same).
Using these money saving habits can help you squeeze even more out of your budget without making any drastic changes. The nickels and dimes add up over the months and years. These habits are easy to implement and simply take a little bit of thinking, planning, and effort.
What money saving habits do you use?
Author Pete Jonas is a Details and Data Wrangler with LSS Financial Counseling. Our goal is to equip and empower everyone to conquer their debt, grow emergency savings, and achieve their financial goals. If you would like a free, confidential financial counseling session, call us at 888.577.2227 or GET STARTED ONLINE. Take action today to improve your financial future.