Depending on your affinity for Starbucks, these five may not be as drastic as some of my other suggestions, but they still require a change to your routine that may need some getting used to.
1. Brew Your Own Coffee
This is the quintessential small daily cost that adds up to big dollars over the course of a year. If you’re spending $6 every morning on your venti latte and blueberry scone, you will end the year having forked over $2,190 to Starbucks. That’s enough for your own espresso machine, a breakfast sandwich maker, a years supply of coffee beans, and $1,000 extra for your investment account.
2. Pack Your Lunch
Just like the coffee expense, if, conservatively, we say each meal costs $5 and you’re eating out at least five times a week, that adds up to $1,300 a year and doesn’t include the gym membership needed to burn off the extra calories from those lunches or the new clothes needed to fit your expanding waist line. Instead, pack your lunch each day and take the extra time during your break to read, meditate, go for a walk, or even take a quick power nap.
3. Skip the Higher Octane Fuels
Unless you’re driving a six figure super car or spend your afternoons drag racing for money, there is no reason to fill up your tank with anything other than regular fuel. For your typical driver, there is no marked impact on performance, gas mileage, or engine deposits. Save the $15-20 a tank and use it to learn and perform some basic maintenance on your car. And while we’re talking about your car…
4. Take Mass Transit or Carpool with Coworkers
Even if you’re filling it up with regular, cars are still expensive to run and maintain. According to AAA, the average annual cost to own a new car is $8,500. This includes, gasoline, tires, oil changes, insurances, license fees, and yearly depreciation. Even excluding depreciation on new cars, the cost is still north of $4,000 or $11 a day. Save on this expense by taking the train, bus, or carpooling with a few coworkers. While it will most likely add to your overall commute time, the extra cash will make the time off you do have that much more enjoyable.
5. Keep an Eye on your Thermostat
Despite all the electronics that make up the average home or apartment these days, heating and air conditioning are still the number one consumers of energy. To offset this without completely sacrificing comfort, set your thermostat to 72 in the summer and 68 in the winter. Yes, you can go higher in the summer and lower in the winter if you want to abandon the comfort offered by centralized heating and air and maximize efficiency, but for those who don’t mind the occasional fan, open window, or indoor sweater, these ideal temps will help you save.
While they may take a little bit of an adjustment to get used to, taking these steps will leave with a good chunk of change at the end of the year to help you reach your savings goals.