Authored by Malcolm Tatum in Personal Finance
Published on 12-30-2009
Most of us do not save money the way we should. It is not unusual for many people to use the excuse that it takes every penny they make just to pay all the bills and keep food on the table. While this may be true for a select few, the reality is that a lot of us waste money that could easily be diverted to savings. Here are a few simple tips that will allow you to save money every month, and divert that money to a savings account or a retirement fund without making any severe lifestyle changes.
For people who eat out for lunch each day, a quick way to generate money for savings is to cut back on the number of days each week that they buy a meal out. For example, instead of buying lunch all five days of your workweek, take leftovers two of the five days. Assuming that lunch costs an average of ten dollars a day, you immediately create twenty dollars that can go into your savings each week. Over the course of the month, that amounts to eighty dollars of savings you create by simply enjoying something you already had on hand.
Another easy way to save money each month is to never go into a supermarket without a list. Preparing a list ahead of time helps you save money in two ways. First, you don’t end up buying more of what you already have in the cupboard, and really don’t need. Second, people who use lists are much more likely to resist the temptation of impulse buying, a phenomenon that can easily add another ten to twenty percent to the weekly food bill. This one trick can save the average household up to a hundred dollars a month, money that can easily be placed into a savings account without creating any hardship at all.
Take a long look at your cable bill. How often do you watch anything other than the broadcast channels on your plan? To get an idea, keep a log of what you actually watch during the course of a couple of weeks. If you find that you don’t spend a lot of time watching cable channels, change to a less expensive package. Better yet, ditch the cable and get an antenna. Many broadcast stations today operate anywhere from one to four sub-channels that a good quality antenna will pick up for no additional charge. If you have five broadcast channels in your city, you could find yourself with as many as twenty-five channels to watch, without paying a monthly cable charge. After paying for the antenna (and possibly a digital converter if you have an older analog set), you can save anywhere from fifty to a hundred dollars a month by eliminating those cable charges.
Even cutting back on visits to a vending machine will allow you to save money each month. If you purchase a soft drink and a bag of chips each workday, start taking a container of tea and a snack you make at home. It will taste better, cost practically nothing, and allow you to eliminate roughly ten dollars of unnecessary expenses each week. That forty dollars a month can go into your savings account and begin earning interest, something that those sodas and chips can never do.
Just about everyone has some area where they can make a few minor changes and save some money each month. Take a look at the little ways you spend money each day. Chances are you can find at least one or two ways to cut expenses without making any radical changes, and still not feel deprived.