Rock Talk

Smart spending means more savings

Last updated on May 16th, 2017 at 02:41 pm

It’s never too late to set new goals for yourself, even when the “new year, new me” hype is over. But instead of establishing some grandiose goal like “I am going to make $1 million this year” (by all means, do it if you can), why not set a more realistic goal that you can contribute to little by little?

Like life in general, it’s the small things that count.

So, rather than pledging to earn a lump sum, why not pledge to save a lump sum? Living is expensive and it’s easy to spend money without even realizing it. Here are some everyday habits to adopt this year to keep money in your pocket. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ll save – no dramatic lifestyle change necessary:

  • Be your own barista. Although a $2 cup of coffee doesn’t sound like a lot, think about how quickly that adds up if you buy one every single day. Instead of splurging at the local coffee shop, consider brewing your own coffee at home and carrying it in a travel mug. It might not be the barista’s craftsmanship you’re used to, but that could easily save you $40-60 a month.
  • Frequent the grocery store. It’s easy to fall into the habit of grabbing a sandwich on your lunch break or meeting friends for dinner. However, constantly eating out is a surefire way to hemorrhage money. Instead, plan out your meals in advance and buy the ingredients at the grocery store. When meal planning, prepare large dishes that you can freeze and eat little by little. That way you’re not pressured to cook a new recipe every day. Remember to never grocery shop while hungry – you’ll end up buying stuff you don’t really need.
    • Pro tip(s): Opting for the grocery store’s generic brand oftentimes will save you money. Also, consider a membership at a grocery store that sells items in bulk.
  • Be cognizant of your electrical footprint. A simple way to cut down your electricity bill is to use your lights sparingly. If you aren’t using a particular room, turn off the lights. It’s easy to go from room to room and leave the lights on without realizing the energy you’re wasting. Also, remember to use energy efficient lightbulbs.
    • Pro tip: Unplug appliances you aren’t using. Even when appliances are off, they’re still eating electricity if plugged in.
  • Keep an eye out for great deals. There are plenty of online aggregators that collect and disseminate deals for everything from discounted flights to massages. Peruse some of these sites to find coupons relevant to your spending habits.
  • Public transit. It might not be as comfortable as driving your own car, but taking the subway or bus not only cuts down on fuel costs, but reduces your pollution contribution, too. For those dependent on cars, especially for the everyday commute, consider participating in a carpool.
  • Travel on a budget. For those who suffer from wanderlust but are restricted by limited bank accounts, consider the following:
    • Book your flight for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. According to U.S. News, these are the cheapest days to fly.
    • Accept the layover. Although direct flights are preferred for obvious reasons, oftentimes opting for the route with a layover is cheaper.
    • If your spending habits suggest you’re racking up a pretty bill on airfare, sign up for a credit card that rewards you with miles instead of points or cashback.
  • Entertainment doesn’t have to cost much. Fancy a trip to that new art exhibit? Sometimes museums will offer discounted or free admission on specific days. So, it’s worth checking if nearby museums have designated times when tickets are either free or marked down. And for the moviegoers, even a blockbuster will be cheaper if you opt for the matinee viewing.
  • Repair instead of replace. Before you determine something’s broken and set out to purchase a replacement, evaluate the former’s state. Button on a shirt missing? Even if it doesn’t match, sewing on a new button is a lot cheaper than buying a whole new shirt. Shoe sole is falling off? Sometimes taking worn shoes to a cobbler to repair is more sensible than buying a new pair.
    • Pro tip: If your item is unsalvageable, thrift stores and second-hand shops are great places to get clothes at discounted prices

You don’t need to change your life completely to save money. With a few adjustments in your everyday spending habits, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much money will stay in your bank account.

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