Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference. By starting early enough and getting a hold of the small money drips in your financial life, you could reap significant savings over the long haul.
1. Bring your own lunch. When you go out for lunch chances are you’re going to pay at least $10 each day, you will spend $200 a month. I’m not advocating never going out for lunch but if you bring your lunch just 3 days a week, you should easily save over $100 a month.
2. Coupon clipping I have great difficulty finding coupons for most of the food I buy on a regular basis. But, you can always save money on other staple items such as paper towels, Ziploc bags, Kleenex tissue, lotion, etc.
3. Choose water over sugary sodas. I’m not talking about so-called vitamin water either. Just good, clean, pure water. When I was a kid we weren’t allowed to drink anywhere near the amounts of soda that people do these days. You can save yourself money and improve your health just by quitting your soda addiction. And don’t even get me started on Starbucks. Many companies provide coffee and tea free for their employees.
4. Adjust television consumption. Premium cable and satellite subscriptions (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc. can cost anywhere from $900 to over $2,000 per year or more. Think about what you watch. Do you really need all those premium channels? If not, then you know it’s time for a downgrade. Use www.billshrink.com under their television tab, enter the information and find out if lower priced options are available for you. Make sure that your purchasing decisions reflect your lifestyle.
5. Pick up DVD’s and music (CD’s) and books from the library. If you can live without getting the latest releases, you can definitely save some money. When you do purchase these items, why not buy used? There are used bookstores in most cities and Amazon provides an amazing selection of used movies, music and books.
6. Do you suffer from a subscription money leaks? How many magazines /newsletters do you subscribe to? Now, how many magazines / newsletters do you actually get around to reading each month? On the subject of subscriptions what about Netflix? I’ve never been a fan of Netflix because I don’t watch a ton of movies. Same thing with gym memberships. I know for a fact that I’m going to get my moneys’ worth from any gym I belong to, so I don’t hesitate to pay for that.
7. Use ceiling fans, and space heaters. I love my space heater. They are an especially good purchase if your household is small. No sense heating the entire house when just one room will do. Many of the newer models have a built in safety feature. They automatically shutoff if knocked over. Ceiling fans provide a wonderful breeze on hot summer afternoons. Open a window, turn on the ceiling fan and turn off the A/C.
8. Install energy saving CFL bulbs. Have you made the switch yet? Compact fluorescent lights (the curly top bulbs) are more expensive but use much less electricity and have a longer rated life when compared with normal incandescent bulbs. CFLs can save over $40 in electricity costs over a lamp’s lifetime.
9. Visit local parks. I love mountain biking and hiking. Living in the Bay Area, I have access to tons of regional and state parks nearby that I visit often. I not only get great exercise but it just makes me feel better mentally to be outdoors in a beautiful environment. Some parks charge $5 parking fee but for many others the only cost is the gas used to get there.
10. Cell phone options. Running out of minutes or going over your text limit can result in sticker shock at the end of the month. But on the other hand, you don’t want to pay for minutes you’ll never use. To start trimming your bill check out a number of prepaid plans and see if one works for you. A great place to start is withwww.billshrink.com or www.myrateplan.com. Go back over your old phone bills and look for charges that seem out of line with what you use.