Everybody could do with a little extra cash, whether it’s to build up a savings account or because you’re budgeting for a few major purchases. However, not everyone has the time to get a second job or start dog walking on the weekends, so extra cash is often pretty hard to come by after all of your monthly expenses.
The good news is, there are a few pretty simple ways to cut down on the bills and expenses you manage to acquire each month– and some of them won’t make that much of a difference in your day-to-day habits. In fact, you can save over $300 a month (that’s $3,600 a year!) by making these small changes. Take a look at seven simple ways you can start saving money big time:
1. Skip the Eating Out Habit
Do you eat out for lunch every day at work? Does your daily stop at the local coffee shop nourish your caffeine addiction but hurt your wallet? Are you eating out for dinner more often than not? (Just to clarify, I’m guilty of all three of these.) If your kitchen is sitting lonely and unused for days at a time, a change in your eating habits could probably save you a lot of money and could improve your health.
The average cost of eating out is about $13 per meal (if that number seems low you may not be eating as much fast food as others). On the other hand, cooking at home can cost as little as $2 per person per meal. So, eat out four fewer times each month– that’s just once less each week– and you could be saving just under $50 on your monthly expenses. Then, bring leftovers to work once a week, and you’ll double that savings.
Average savings each month: $88
Believe it or not, your electronics are actually costing you money, even when they’re turned off, by taking on what’s called a “phantom charge.” While it isn’t costing you as much per month as simply leaving the devices on, you can save at least a few bucks by unplugging them altogether.
Or, simply use a power cord with an on and off switch. When power cords are turned off, they block electricity from the devices completely, cutting off the phantom charge.
Average savings each month: $8
3. Cut Out Cable
We all know how great it feels to sit down and watch “The Bachelor” after a long day at work. But, replacing your $100 cable bill with Netflix, Amazon Prime, or another streaming service could save you a bundle, and you can just read dramatic bachelor recaps online or watch the show for free at a friend’s place.
Average savings each month: $92
4. Take Public Transit
Transportation apps like Uber and Lyft have skyrocketed in popularity over the past couple years. However, even though they’re as convenient as can be, these apps will cost you a lot of money if you use them to replace taking public transportation.
For example, say you spend $10 to take an Uber home on a Saturday night. That’s likely about $8 more than the cost of a bus or train if you live in a city. Instead of spending a bunch on cabs, take public transit, carpool, walk, or ride a bike as much as you can!
Average savings each month: $32 (if you replace a cab with public transit four times per month)
5. Use Electricity Sparingly
A lot of people don’t even think about leaving the light on in the bedroom while they’re getting ready in the bathroom each morning, but getting into the habit of turning off the lights when you leave each room will help you save a few bucks a month. Also, if you pay for your own heating, opting for space heaters in just the rooms you’re using (rather than heating the entire apartment at all times) will save you even more.
Average savings each month: $17
6. Use Less Data
If you use your phone most often when you’re at home or work– or really anywhere with Wi-Fi– you may not need as much data as you think you do. Most big phone companies, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, allow you to track the amount of data you’re using, so take advantage of that feature. Then, if you find you don’t need nearly as much data as your plan provides, switch over to a less expensive option.
Average savings each month: $20
7. Work Out for Free
I love having access to treadmills and weight machines as much as the next person, but gym memberships can be considered an unnecessary expense if you’re trying to save some extra money each month.
Cancel your membership, and instead go for a bike ride, start jogging, or just buy a yoga mat and work out in your own living room. In fact, a quick Google search can provide you with hundreds of ideas for at-home workouts that don’t require a single piece of equipment.
Average savings each month: $50
Add all these small changes up, and you could be saving $307 each month on average– if not more! That kind of extra money can put you well on your way to a hefty savings account in no time. What kinds of things do you do to save money?