Practical ways to live better on less.
In order to save money, you need to figure out where your spending your money each day, and how you can reduce or cut out those unnecessary expenses. I advise making a spreadsheet so you can track how you spend each week. In the meantime, here are 5 easy tips for cutting down your common weekly expenses.
Save #1: Brew your own coffee. A $3 coffee, 5 days a week, will run you about $15. Making your own at home will cost somewhere around .20-.50cents a day, depending on the brand and any additions. Let’s go with the higher number. If you spend 50 cents a day on your own coffee, that is only $2.50 for the week. This is a savings of $12.50 per week!
Save #2: Make your own lunch. A lunch out 5 days a week can really add up. Let’s say you spend $8 each day for a lunch out. That is $40 each week! You could easily buy salad ingredients (~$5) dressing ($3) and bread ($2) and make yourself a nice salad and/or sandwich each day of the week. The ingredients for the salad and bread for the week will cost about $10. If you work from home, consider making sweet potatoes with a side of vegetables each day. A bag of sweet potatoes will only cost about $3 for the week and vegetables about $5. Add some bread for an additional $2. With either of these options, not only are you getting a healthier lunch, you are saving yourself approximately $30 per week!
Save #3: Skip the pricey weekend activities. There are plenty of free activities to choose to partake in over pricey movies, bars, and restaurants. Try a picnic, bike ride, hike, or go on a nature walk for a fun, less costly alternative. The best activities are always free. I would rather spend my afternoon in the fresh air on a beautiful hike than walking around a stuffy mall. Say you normally spend $50 on weekend fun; if you incorporate a few of the free activities into your weekend and keep your paid activities to one dinner out ($30 budget), you can save yourself $20 for the week.
Save #4: Skip the impulse purchases. You don’t need to spend $4 on that magazine at the checkout stand. If you want a magazine or book, check one out at your local library for free! My library also loans out CD’s, Blu Rays, and video games. No point in wasting money when you can check out the same thing for free. Are you really going to re-read a magazine or will it end up in the bin? Save yourself at least $4 per week by using the resources at your library!
Save #5: Plan meals for each night. At the beginning of each week, plan out what you will make for dinner each week. I like to use the slow cooker for easy nutritious meals. Burritos and spaghetti are other budget friendly dinners. Just type in free recipes online and you will be bombarded with endless choices. Picking up fast food just 3 nights a week can easily take $50 out of your pocket. Cook at home everyday and enjoy the $50 per week savings!
As you can see, following these 5 simple steps will lead you on the path to saving over $100 each week or $400+ per month. You can always save even more money by coming up with new ways to maximize what you already have/cutting out pricey, useless items and activities.
What are your best strategies for saving throughout the week? Feel free to share your personal tips!