Saving money isn’t easy. For most of us, it seems like there’s always another bill that makes it impossible to set anything aside for emergencies. The good news is that there are few simple things that you can do to slash your budget and start saving a little money each month.
Stick to Tap Water
That bottle of water you pick up each day might not seem like much, but when you stop and add it up, you’ll realize you’re spending hundreds of dollars each year just for water. Instead of buying a new bottle each day, just use your sink to fill up the plastic bottles you already have and tuck the money you would have spent on water into your emergency stash.
Stop Using the ATM
Most banks charge a fee each time you use the ATM machine, and those fees really add up. It’s not unheard of for a single ATM withdrawal to cost you $5.00. Limit the number of times you use the machines that aren’t connected to your bank, and when you do have to use a machine that results in a fee, take out enough cash to justify the fee.
Stop Buying a Lottery Ticket Each Week
You already know that the odds of winning the lottery are really small. On the other hand, if you don’t play, there’s no chance of you winning anything. Instead of playing every single week, just pick up a ticket once in a great while. The amount of money you save will astound you!
Cancel Your Cable
Do you really need to pay for cable television? These days, you can see just about every program you want to watch via online services like Hulu or Amazon Prime, which charge a lot less than cable. Or you can wait until your favorite shows and movies come out on DVD and rent them via Netflix, which is also cheaper than cable. If you can’t stand the thought of dropping cable altogether, which can be a problem for sports fan, decrease your current plan to a basic package that only includes the channels you actually watch each day.
Skip the eBooks
You don’t have to give up reading, but if you go to the library as opposed to buying books, you will save yourself a small fortune. Think about it. Even if you only purchase a single ebook a week, you’re probably spending $5.99 a week, which over the course of a year adds up to $311.48. You can save that money by getting books at the library instead. The same is true if you purchase DVDs. Take advantage of Netflix and Redbox instead of buying movies on DVD.
Pass On the Extended Warranty
When a store asks if you want to purchase an extended warranty for your latest electronic gadget, you should say no. More often than not, the cost of the extended warranty compared to the cost of the device your purchasing isn’t really worth the investment. The smarter financial move is to do your homework, read customer reviews, and make sure that the product is designed to last several years. You can choose to take the money you would have spent on the extended warranty and tuck it into your emergency savings.
You already know all about the health risks of smoking, but it’s possible you haven’t realized that smoking also kills your finances. You won’t believe how many different things you can do with the money you currently, literally burn up. The sooner you can break your nicotine habit, the sooner you’re emergency savings will grow. Best of all, you’ll feel better!
Make Your Own Coffee
Going to the coffee shop for a cup of coffee instead of brewing your own is one of the biggest frivolous expense people have in their lives. Just a cup of plain black coffee can cost more $2.00 which means that one a day over the course of a year adds up to $730. That number climbs drastically if you prefer fancy coffee. You can save yourself a fortune by brewing a pot of coffee in your own kitchen and filling a thermos that you use throughout the day.
Change Your Cell Phone Plan
Granted, you don’t want to get rid of your cell phone completely, but do you seriously need to pay for several hundred minutes of talk time each month, and does it really matter to you if the unused minutes roll over. The odds are pretty good that you can get by with fewer minutes (especially since so many plans include free texting) and lower your monthly cell phone bill each month. You should also consider dropping your phone’s insurance, which can save you $5-10 a month.
Stick to Regular Gas
A surprising number of people pay good money for premium gas for their car, hoping that the extra money will keep the car running more smoothly. The truth of the matter is that regular unleaded costs a great deal less per gallon and your car runs just fine on it. Depending on how much you drive and the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, switching from premium to unleaded gas can save you several hundred dollars a year.
When you make these simple changes in your life, you won’t believe how much money you can set aside each year for emergencies. What are some other strategies your family uses to cut back on unnecessary spending?