So maybe you tried my original 5 Easy Ways to Save Money, and thought “man, that really was easy; I wonder what are some other quick changes I can make to save even more.” Well, wonder no more. Here are four more relatively easy ways to cut back on your expenses and one way to earn a little extra cash that don’t require a lot of time or a drastic change to your routine.
1. Stick To Water
Just like the Starbucks runs, picking up a Coke every time you stop in at the gas station or adding a fountain drink to lunch combo everyday can add up over the course of a year. Unless you’re getting it free at work, a coke cost anywhere from $2 to 60 cents depending on the size and where you buy your drinks (restaurant, vending machine, or 12 pack from the grocery store). Two drinks a day costs you $438 to $1,460 a year. Three drinks sets you back $865 to $2,190. For heavy users, it easily adds up to a couple of thousand dollars a year, even if they’re only buying them in the store. Water is usually free, better at hydration, and can actually help you lose weight , even if you usually drink diet sodas.
2. Only Pay for Things With Cash
There’s just something about forking over actually paper cash. One of the biggest problems with our all digital financial lives is it can be hard to judge just how much something costs in relation to our bank balances and pay checks. Credit and debit cards also make it so much easier for us to swipe and forget it when making routine purchases or impulsively splurging. Next time you get paid, immediately withdrawal your budget for spending from your account and for the next month pay for things using only physical currency. This will not only help you visualize just how much something cost in relation to your income but will help you become more discerning in your purchases.
3. Sell Your Old Stuff
I’ve got some harsh news for you. That sweater that has spent the past two years sitting in your drawer is never getting worn. Those Toad the Wet Sprocket CDs, they’re not becoming collectors’ items, and no, you’re never actually going to sit down with that senior year European History text and “actually learn it this time.” Spend a weekend going through your closets, attic, and basement collecting all the clothes you don’t wear, the music you don’t listen to, the movies you don’t watch, and the textbooks you don’t use. Then either donate them (which you can then write off on your taxes) or find a place to sell them.
4. Limit Eating Out To Once A Month
According to the US Department of Labor, households in the US spends almost half of their total food expenses ($3,000) on eating out, where the price for food is almost twice as much as it would be to prepare food at home. If you want to see a huge decrease in your monthly expenses, go beyond just packing your work lunch and prepare all your meals and snacks at home. If you stick to your budget, reward yourself once a month with a night out at a nice restaurant.
5. Buy Your Household Supplies Off Amazon Or At Walmart
While it can be convenient to purchase your household supplies (cleaning, first aid, OTC drugs, toiletries) from your grocery store, you can often save significant money from buying these items at large retailers like Walmart and Amazon. Amazon, particularly with their subscribe and save service, offers the biggest savings. This means everything including paper towels, laundry detergent, cat food, toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and Tylenol should be purchased on Amazon. By using subscriptions to save even more, you can even have your most used items delivered automatically to your door, saving time and money on trips to the store.
Smaller monthly savings can add up to big dollars over time. By implementing one or all of these methods, you’ll be surprised by how much extra money you will be left with by the end of the year.