Okay Team... I need to trim $50 from my weekly budget (which would mean $200/month, or $2400/year... yay math!). What's a great frugal life hack you've stumbled upon in trying to save money?
I don't eat out a ton... I don't buy Starbucks... etc. So I think I've taken care of most of the low hanging fruit. But what can I do that would make me chuckle to myself when I dive into my Uncle Scrooge pile of saved cash at the end of the year?
(thanks in advance for any tip that's worked well for you!)
Great challenge! I think one of the best ways to cut down on spending is throwing away the plastic. Paying cash for everything will greatly reduce your monthly spending. According to a study by Dunn and Bradstreet, you can spend up to 12-18% less when only using cash. It really comes down to the idea that swiping plastic doesn't have the same impact as paying with your hard-earned cash. Give it a try!
Great question! Every little thing adds up...here are some thoughts:
1. Uber/Lyft pool instead of riding solo
2. Pick up a Rover dog walking shift here and there (or cat sitting!)
3. Stop paying high interest on any existing credit card or loan balances by consolidating with better terms
4. Do a scrubbing of all the subscription services you are currently enrolled in, and ask yourself: do these bring me joy? (netflix, dollar shave club, trunk club, hulu, etc., etc.)
- Cancel Cable (we use Roku for streaming; Sling TV for cheap channel lineups)
- Look at your cell phone usage trends and (if feasible) change to a lower plan option if you are not utilizing the max data.
- Unplug any electronics that you are not using (this has saved us a bunch on elec. bill !). Also, use the natural sunlight as much as possible - it’s good for your health and your wallet 😉. (If you can do your tasks without switching on the light, don’t switch on the lights.)
- Cancel newspaper/magazine subs.
- switch to glassware (instead of plastic); this will save you money in the long run because glass will last a lot longer and plastic can be harmful for your food and health. (Incidentally, possibly less visits to the doc., hence less $ spent on co-pay!).
- On a relative point to the previous one, cut down on buying processed foods, which could add up on your wallet and your health costs.
(Sorry didn’t mean to sound like a health advisor, but hope these tips help you! These have surely helped us! Good Luck!
Do you own a car? Do you own a house?
First, the low hanging fruit.
Do you pay your own utilities? If so, try minimizing that. Lower your thermostat a bit in the winter and raise it a bit in the summer(just 1-2 degrees can make a difference of $20/mo)
Don’t be dumb with energy. Don’t set your hot water heater to the max (actually, a lot of people don’t know that the temperature on it is adjustable), turn off lights and the TV when your not using them.
Like the others have mentioned, a big one is just doing an audit of your monthly subscriptions and see what it is you don’t mind canceling. Or if anything if you can change to a lower plan.
Honestly I’m a tech-head and leave a computer/server running all the time. I hadn’t realized for a long time that the main server I ran was using 400+ watts(..!!) This added up to ~$30/mo. Needless to say I switched to another machine that consumes ~1/4 the energy.
Are you overpaying for insurance for your car? Do you have extra insurance from your work you have no need for, like vision?
Okay... these are great (thank you)!
- Cancel Cable (we use Roku for streaming; Sling TV for cheap channel lineups): I cut the cord!... but I've got Netflix, HBO (shared account), Prime (but for other stuff... thanks Bezos for throwing the content in!), and Hulu (shared account)
- Unplug any electronics that you are not using: Love this. Can think of a couple of I'm gonna unplug this week
- Cancel newspaper/magazine subs: I'm down to bare essentials!
Admittedly, the thing that jumps out is the darn car. Shedding that would bring lots of cash back to the house... but it just doesn't seem feasible at the moment. A part of me thinks I should just Uber one day a week to make $50 extra bucks, which would be effectively optimizing this cash drain (the car) while solving for my cash flow needs.
Anyways, keep 'em coming!
Try the 52 Week Challenge to save at least $1378 per year. You can save by moving money from sight. I do this by moving funds to a savings account:
Save $1 at the end of the first week and then increase that amount by $1 each week. At the end of the second week, you put $2 into savings. Then $3 after week three and so on until week 52, when you save $52. If you stick with it for the full year, you'll have saved $1,378 at the end of the challenge.
I also move odd amounts from my paycheck direct deposit over to my savings account, i.e., if deposit is $492.37 I may move $17.37 to savings leaving $475.00 in my checking.
Using cash only is a great trick and look in your garbage can to see what you waste each day. Live within your means - doubt carry debt. Also, have/can you consider moving to another town, or even better, to another country. My wife and I left the US ten years ago, worked in the same profession, obtained higher level positions, were able to save much more money through Expat benefits & tax breaks, lower costs of living (healthier too), lower healthcare costs (if any), cheaper rents and utilities, more paid time off - all while improving our personal lives & our lifestyle. We recently joined the FIRE (Financially Independent, Retired Early) movement at age 48 - we work only if it brings US gratification.
pick up any $$ recycling items you see, change you find & start an 911 cash jar. Set a weekly or daily budget with cash only & put any left over in the 911 jar. Reduce your use of utilities, put any savings at the end of the month in the 911 jar. Dont pay for anyone to work for you-do it yourself if possible. When you see the $$ in the 911 jar it encourages you to keep it up. Don't use the 911 jar for 1 year, then count it. lots of ways to save $$ good luck
So you don't eat out a ton, but do you cook from scratch using raw ingredients (NOT cans of soup, packaged pre-prepped stuff, etc.) Shop the outer aisles of the grocery store. Limit meat consumption, using it for flavor and not as a main course. Eliminate food waste by freezing leftovers for a meal later in the month.
Getting rid of a car can save up to $10k a year (according to AAA). Substitute public transit, car sharing along with active transportation (walking, biking, skate boarding).
Before making ANY purchase evaluate if it is a NEED or a WANT.
Pay yourself first. I have used this method for years. Decide how much you want to pay yourself and treat it like the most important bill you have that can never be missed and never be late. It may force you to make choices you would not have otherwise thought of. Of course, if you are *really* tight and it is paying rent vs. paying yourself, this would be an issue. I am fortunate to have never been in that situation.
There are also some tools and apps I find useful to supplement savings like Acorns and my bank, USAA that will round up transactions and pull the difference from your account to another savings account each month. Good luck.
My #1. Learn to fix things, not just buy new. My 25yr old CD Changer died, looked up price for comparable...$1500. Took old one apart and found the drive "belt", which was a glorified rubber band was broken. Looked it up online and found the part was $1.00. Bought 4. Replaced the broken one. Machine worked 5 minutes. Took it apart again and found another rubber band drive belt off it's pulley. Replaced it with one of the new ones. That was 2 years ago. Total savings for a total of 30 minutes work...$1500.
I can’t tel you how much money I saved just by planning my meals for the week. That way, I’m only having X and Y for the week. I usually get the small yogurt cups, and apple and peanut butter for breakfast; something chicken anf veggie based for lunch; and dinner, I make three meals a week, and use the rest for leftovers or future meal prep! Effie’s and fruits truly aren’t expensive, it’s all about knowing where to shop. When you do go grocery shopping, find out which stores have what foods for cheaper, and get a shopper’s card if you don’t already have one.
Next, take a look at your memberships or subscriptions you have. I cut down $30 a month just by getting rid of things I never use.
Also, create a new email! I had so many emails from stores about their sales, that I kept spending money because I just HAD to take up this “once in a lifetime” deal! I created a new one only for the important things: TurboTax, insurance, emailed receipts, bank statements. That way, I’m only seeing the absolute necessary things!
Sell old clothes, furniture, and anything else that’s sitting collecting dust. Check out the minimalist movement too! It inspired me a lot about my day-to-day living.