The following examples are ways that I have found to save money in everyday life. These things will not have a considerate effect on your day to day life, but will leave your more money in your pocket at the end of the day.
1. Pack your lunch for work.
This is one of the things that can instantly result in savings on an everyday basis. At the minimum, you are spending $5 each day to go out to eat, which adds up to $25 per week, or $1,300 per year. Think about what you could spend this money on! This is enough for a nice vacation, although it you are using my tips, you could vacation for free. Regardless, packing your lunch will leave extra dollars in your pocket at the end of the week, and will also be more kind to your waste line, as the average fast floor meal contains a whopping 836 calories.
2. Pay off your credit cards in full.
This cannot be said enough. As noted within my post 5 Factors To a Healthy Credit Score, carrying a balance does not indicate a healthy credit profile, thus will not benefit your credit score in the long run. Even though paying the minimum on credit cards may seem optimal as it frees up your cash flow over a longer time period, this will keep you in perpetual debt and you will pay longer on the purchases. I like to think of it this way. Would I want to pay a 15-20% markup on this purchase from the moment that I buy it? If not, I will reconsider the purchase and make sure that I have the funds necessary to pay off the balance IN FULL. It is as simple as that.
3. Skip the morning coffee.
I walked into a Starbucks the other day and was astonished by the prices charged for some of the items. $4.75 for a small frappuccino? Outrageous. Small indulgences like these add up to become major line items on a budget over a weekly and monthly basis. Instead of making the morning coffee stop, switch up your routine and make a thermos before you leave work. Better yet, take advantage of the office provided coffee for a few days. You will like the convenience and even learn to appreciate it black compared to the sugary mess that Starbucks passes off.
4. Go for a run or a walk.
This one isn’t directly related to finance, but getting good exercise on a daily basis will pay huge dividends to your financial situation. With the rising costs of healthcare, it is in your best interest to keep your body healthy, which in turn will reduce costly office visits and procedures. The best defense is a great offense, and this is no change when it comes to your health. Get outside and breath the fresh air once in a while.
5. Take advantage of credit card rewards.
As I wrote in a previous article, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great tool to get cash back on everyday purchases. These points can be used for travel to all inclusive resorts for free, gifts, or even straight cash back in the form of gift cards or a check. In today’s age of digital safety, credit cards also give your purchase protection, in that money does not come directly out of your account when a purchase is made. This will save you from fraudulent activity in the case your number gets stolen. Overall, with cash back on every purpose, it would be stupid not to take advantage of offers like these.
6. Keep track of everyday spending with personal finance software like Mint.com.
With access to online tools to track spending in today’s age, there is no excuse for not knowing where each and every dollar is being spent. The best personal finance software that I have found is Mint.com. Mint.com keeps track of this spending as it occurs, but also offers proactive budgeting tools to plan your spending on a monthly basis. This program is very easy to set up, updates your account information seamlessly, and provides suggestions based on your own specific situation. Overall, this is a great beginners tool to personal finance that should be taken advantage of by all.
7. Combine chores into consolidated trips
This one takes some planning, but in today’s age, reducing the amount of time that your spend in the car is beneficial in more ways than one. Not only do you spend less money on gas, you also save on wear and tear on your vehicle and help to save the environment in the process. Yes, I know that this has very little impact on the environment, but every little bit helps. In addition to these reasons, if you have a set list of chores and have the locations set out, you will be less inclined to make impulse purchases throughout your trip, which are often unnecessary.
8. Take advantage of paid days off
This can’t be said enough. In today’s day and age, it is crucial to take advantage of time that is granted away from work. This time allows us to recharge our batteries and get back to work ready to go. In addition, there is a real cost savings of not having to go into work. Commuting costs are saved, childcare costs are saved, and you can have a great time with the family even around the house. Don’t feel guilty in taking these days, they are there for a reason and should be treated as a necessity to perform your job function to the best of your ability.
9. Take advantage of coupon sites
With shows and blogs dedicated to extreme couponing, it is apparent that the art has left your moms kitchen table and reached the mainstream. For example, right now you can get free shipping with Amazon Prime. With sites like befrugal.com and retailmenot at your fingertips offering cash back rewards , there is no excuse to not have the best deal when buying a product. I make it a challenge to never buy anything at full price, whether it is taking advantage of a credit card offer to buy a gift card to the store where I’m making the purchase, or going through a cash back portal to receive a percentage off, there is always a way to receive a better deal with little work necessary.
10.Explore new restaurants and parks in your area.
Some of the best times that I have ever had have been hanging out with friends at a random location around town, shooting the shit and having a good time. To this effect, money doesn’t have to be spend in order to have fun. Take advantage of the world around your, talk to people, try new things. The corner Italian restaurant often has amazing food, and will cost less than a trip to the Olive Garden more often than not. Frugal living is a choice, but it can be fantastic in self discovery and learning what can be truly appreciated in life.