10 Simple Money-Saving Tips That Carry A Big Bang At The End Of The Year
Some of the more frequently touted personal finance tips can come across as unreasonable, too difficult, too time consuming, or irrelevant. Yet, the search continues across all income brackets for how to comfortably spend less and save more.
Below are 10 simple money-saving tips that you may not have thought about – each with some serious financial benefits. Saving money does not have to be a chore; it is an accumulation of habits and adjusted perspectives, none of which are detrimental to your daily routine.
The goal of these 10 tips is to not overhaul your life, but to make manageable, tiny tweaks that carry a big bang at the end of the year.
1) Use Cash. After setting budget, take out cash for your entertainment-spending pocket. It'll ensure that you do not spend above the designated amount. Since a coffee here, a hamburger there really adds up, and quickly, making sure that those erroneous expenses are always paid in cash will help you stay on top of that expense area, an area frequently a victim of the swipe and forget plague.
2) Adjust That Thermostat. Turn your heat down ten degrees and the a/c up two degrees. Utility companies have reported that even just a consistent two-degree shift can save you money without leaving you miserable. The same principle can apply for pre-setting programmable thermostats to change throughout the day, adjusting for when you are away from home or asleep; with a more drastic change while you are away (10 to 15 degrees for eight hours), your savings could be as great as 15 percent a year, says Energy.gov.
3) Help Santa Save. Consider early prep for holiday shopping. Either look throughout the year and really benefit from those “After X Day” sales, or consider the benefits of buying a gift card monthly and setting it aside for yourself. Come December, with just $25 gift cards each month, you will have set aside $275 specifically for holiday spending.
4) Drink More Water. By replacing just one soda, coffee or beer each day, you not only invest in your health, but you could save some serious change. If you eliminate one $5 coffee just three days a week, that's an additional $780 dollars at the end of a year's time. Or, if you have that fancy coffee addiction, consider getting a coffee machine and buy your favorite grounds in bulk. Bulk buying can save money as well.
5) Eat In. Avoid the frequent trap of not wanting to cook and resorting to dragging the whole family out to eat despite your pantries being full. If inspiration is the missing link, try setting a weekly menu for the household, alternate cooking responsibilities or even involve the whole family in meal prep every night. And, instead of letting the "I have to cook or we will end up eating out" mentality get you in trouble, keep a few home cooked meals prepped and frozen for those moments of dinner despair.
6) Shop Smarter For Groceries. Clipping coupons isn't for everyone. It can be time consuming and require more organization to truly be effective than some people’s attention spans and patience can handle. Shop smarter, even if you don't use on coupons. Look for sale items and weekly promotional deals. Shop what's in season for your fresh produce. Try store brands; many canned products and dried products have the same ingredients as name brand products.
7) Find A Penny, Pick It Up. Save loose change. If you were to save an average of fifty cents a day, you would have almost $200 set aside at the end of the year. Keep an old water jug set up so that you can watch it fill up throughout the year.
8) Stop Before You Swipe. Sometimes it's all about perspective. When looking at a frivolous purchase, consider the cost against your income. If you earn $15 an hour and are holding up a $300 suit, ask yourself if you are willing to work 20 hours with only the suit to show for your labor at the end. The same can be done for smaller purchases as well. Is that 32 ounce, blended chai tea latte with soy worth the first thirty minutes of your workday? This method is not a way to talk yourself out of making purchases, but simply to put the expense in a framework.
9) Keep The Car In Check. Stay on top of regular, necessary car maintenance. Doing so can save a pretty penny in gas costs alone, not to mention the costs you can avoid from a side of the road breakdown or preventable tire blow out.
10) Use Your Phone. Sometimes it's as simple as knowing what is going in with your finances. Awareness brings control; so go ahead and download a personal finance app. There are plenty available that have been professionally reviewed and approved. Additionally, many of the highest rated are free. Check out this list of top five personal finance apps that cost nothing and are available on iOS and Android. Remember, though, the key is to not only have the app, but to use it. The icon or widget is only as useful as you make it.
This article is part of a collaborative project between NASDAQ Contributor and Benzinga Managing Editor Joe Young and Benzinga Personal Finance Writer Rebecca Sheppard.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.