5 tips to help you start saving money
The typical person brings home a paycheck, pays bills, and spends what is left. Very little is put toward savings or investments. Why? Well, many think that saving money is hard. But it doesn't have to be. let's take a look at five great tips to help you start saving money:
1. Never see it, never miss it: One of the best ways to save money is to have it deducted directly from your paycheck. If you don't ever see it, you won't be as tempted to spend it. So, talk to your work about having money deducted from your paycheck for a tax-assisted savings plan (like a 401(k)). If you are not interested in this, or want a little more usability with your money, consider having your bank automatically transfer a specific amount from your check deposit each month into a savings account. Start at $50 and in a few months double it, you won't even notice the difference.
2. Brown bag it: Another great tip to help you start saving money is to simply list what you spend money on, and recognize some of the "little" things add up to be a lot! For example, a smoker may buy one pack of cigarettes a day, but at $7 a pack, that is over $2500 a year. Would you like to see an extra $2500 in your savings account at the end of the year? Ok, so maybe you don't smoke, or maybe you can't quit, but there are similar other expenses that add up just like that. For example, how much money do you spend on food at work? Be sure to include coffee, lunch, and of course snack foods like muffins, fruit, chips, and cookies for morning and afternoon breaks. The snacks you buy in the vending machine or from the snack room. Also include any coffee purchases on your way to or from work. Now do the math, many people spend upwards of 10-15 dollars a day on snacks, lunch, and coffee. So, now look at this. if you spend 10-15 a day on snacks, that is between $3000-$5000 a year on snack foods and lunch at work. If you went to the grocery store and spent that much to buy the same snack foods you would have ten times what you need. So, drink the office coffee or bring a thermos of coffee, from home and save $3 a day, minus the $.50 you spend to have it. Then pack a lunch, it will probably cost you $1-3 (and for many nothing as they eat leftovers that would have been thrown out at the end of the week anyway). Store a few snacks in your desk at work. Eat in, you could save $3000 a year.
3. Take public transit or car pool instead of driving to work. This may not work for you, but depending on where you live and how far you commute, sometimes adding a little time to your commute (by taking a bus or tram) will save you tons of money in gas, parking, insurance and wear-and-tear on your car. Also, you can spend the time on the public transit prepping for work, pleasure reading, sleeping (but be careful to wake up for your stop), doing cross work puzzles etc. Basically, there is plenty you can do to cut stress in your life. Many states offer free or discounted public transit if you use it to commute, or carpool lanes and advantages for helping save the environment.
4. Go out for dinner only once a month. Cutting back on eating out and ordering in can save you as much as $200 per month, or more depending on your lifestyle, can make you healthier, and can add to your enjoyment? How, well it may force you to learn to cook, and develop your skills. And, it will make the times you do go out "special" or at least more fun! So, when you cut back how much you eat out, you can start taking the savings (difference in cost of eating out versus increased grocery bill) and put that in an account, now watch it grow, you could have a possible $1000-$2000 in as little as a year.
5. Cancel subscriptions to magazines you don't read, cable or satellite TV services you don't watch regularly, cell phone services, or home phone services you don't need or use. Basically when you sign up for services most people have, sometimes you throw in the extras, but if you are not using the, you are throwing money away. Look at your plans. Do you pay for movie channels you don't watch? Do you pay for extra channels you don't ever turn on? Basically, can you cut your bill down any for television by eliminating things you do not use anyway? Next, look at your cell phone and home phone services. There are a lot of options when it comes to phones, call waiting, 3-way calling, voicemail, caller ID, texting, long distance, etc. Check and see if you use your minutes, is there a smaller plan that would suit you? Do you ever 3-way call? No, then get rid of the feature. If you have a cell phone, you likely have free long distance on it, so get rid of long distance on your home phone, that can save you between 10-15 plus dollars a month. Cancel your newspaper and read your news online or flip on the television as you get ready for bed and listen to the evening news. Basically, cutting back to the magazines and channels that are essential to you, and getting rid of your newspaper, and extra features on your phone can save you $30-50 plus a month, so in a year you are looking anywhere from $300-600 saved, put that money in an account, you were already spending it so you won't miss it.
Following the above 5 tips will help you save between $3000 and$10,000 a year without significantly changing your lifestyle.