Whether money is tight because you have just graduated, or you are trying to work on getting out of debt or build your savings. There are five areas where nearly everyone can find ways to save on the amount they spend each month. Here are the five areas and five savings tips for each one.
Food is one category where it is easy to justify overspending because having good food is a necessity. However, if you add up the total amount you spend on food each month you may be surprised at how much you are spending. If you have a large family, it may be taking up a significant amount of your budget. Here are ten ways you can save on food costs each month.
- Stop eating out. Try planning and prepping your dinner before you go to work so it is easy to prepare when you get home. You can also try taking a lunch from home to help cut down on food bills. You may be amazed at how much you save when you stop eating out.
- Plan your menus each week or each month. Menu planning is a great way to save money because it cuts down on the number of shopping trips that you need to take. It also cuts down on food waste, and it is helpful when you are too tired to figure out what to cook.
- Shop at a cheaper store. You may be surprised at how much you can save just by switching grocery stores. Even if you only end up buying some items at the discount store, you will end up saving money.
- Shop the sales. You can check the sales each week and plan your menu around them. If you create a price book, you can save even more. A price book will track the sales cycles so that you know the cheapest time to buy each item and at what store.
- Buy in bulk. You can split items with a friend or store things in your freezer. This can help you save on most items and really help you cut back.
It is important to be able to relax and unwind, but you may be spending more than you realize on entertainment costs. This is a broad category, and it may be one of the first ones you should cut when you are trying to save money. Here are some tips to save on your entertainment expenses.
- Look for free festivals and music concerts in your area. Many cities offer events that you can attend for free or at a discounted price and it is a great way to explore and learn about new things.
- Cut the cord on your cable. Take the time to shop around for a television service that saves you money. There are a variety of streaming services that are a lot less than cable, and you may be surprised at how much you can really save.
- Choose cheaper accommodations. Try saving money on your vacation by camping or renting a cabin through a state or national park. Often this is much cheaper than staying at a hotel.
- Try going out earlier in the day. You can save money on movies, at restaurants and other places by going during the day. You still have a great time, but the savings can add up quickly.
- Consider monthly subscription services. There are services that you let you play unlimited streaming music, watch videos or read books for a lower cost than you would spend on a single new CD, movie, book or game. If you use these things often, you may end up saving a lot of money each month.
Many people assume that insurance is a set expense and there is not anything you can do to lower the cost. However, there are things you can do to lower your premium and still have great coverage. Here are five tips to help keep insurance costs low.
- Shop for new insurance every few years. Insurance companies offer their lowest rates to new customers, and if you are accident and ticket free, you may score big savings on your insurance by shopping around.
- Take advantage of discounts. You can earn insurance discounts through your alumni association, your employer or professional organization. Try to find the best deals available to save on your policy.
- Increase your deductible. If you raise your deductible to a $1,000, you can save a lot in monthly premiums. Be sure to save the money so you have it on hand if you need it.
- Try a high deductible health insurance policy. This offers a lower monthly premium and often more comprehensive coverage once you have met your deductible. Set up a health savings account with it.
- Stay in your network. When you are using your insurance coverage, you can lower your out of pocket costs by staying in your network or working with approved shops or providers.
Housing is a huge part of many people’s budgets. You can buy a home that is too expensive and you may end up house poor. In some areas of the country, you may end up paying nearly half of your salary in rent. Here are some tips to help you save on your housing costs.
- Consider getting a roommate. Although, you may want to live on your own, you really can save a lot by considering a roommate or two to save on the housing costs. You can also split the utilities to lower costs.
- Try moving home. This may not be ideal, but living at home for a year can give you the chance to save up a down payment or work on getting out of debt. If you can focus on your goals, you can move out quickly and make the most of your situation.
- Choose an area with cheaper rent. Location is such an important part of rent and housing costs. By adding a few minutes onto your commute, you may be able to save money each month.
- Consider buying a home. In some areas, you can really save money by buying instead of renting. Additionally, you can build equity in your home or condo so that you can move into something nicer in a few years.
- Look for a job in a lower cost of living area. Moving to an area with a lower cost of living can mean that you do not have to work as much. It may mean more time, and it often means that you can afford a really nice house for a lot less. It is definitely an option that you should consider.
One area where you may be spending a lot of money, and not realize that you can cut back is transportation costs. The ways you can save may vary based on where you live and the options that are available to you.
- Try carpooling to work. There are ride share boards available in almost every major city. This can reduce the amount that you pay in parking and gas each day.
- Take public transportation to work. Taking the bus or subway can give you extra time to read or decompress and reduce the amount that you spend.
- Bike or walk to work or on your errands. This works if you live in a city or in a community designed to be walker friendly. It is a great way to get your exercise and can reduce the amount that you need to use your car.
- Skip owning a car completely. If you live in a city, you can get by with using public transportation and then using Uber, a taxis or a car share when you need a car.
- Buy a used car instead of a new car. This will save you on the cost, depreciation and insurance premiums. If your car payment is too much consider selling your car and buying something more affordable.
Try the 52-week challenge.