Even before inflation, people were struggling to save money. 43% of Americans were spending more than they made each month. Higher prices have only exasperated this. We wanted to provide you with practical ways to save money and ensure your savings can grow. Let's take a look!
When grocery shopping, it's easy to operate on autopilot and mindlessly grab what we recognize. We see a brand name for a particular item and we place it in our cart. Brands spend millions of dollars to get you to do just this. The problem is, they have more overhead because of this marketing, and charge you more for their product. Buying generic is cheaper. Walmart and other chain stores have generic options for a variety of products from flour to ibuprofen. The next time you are shopping, be sure to look for a generic option.
Say Goodbye to Cable
Did you know the average cost of cable is over $80? That's $960+ per year for watching TV. Ditching cable can help you save big bucks. If you go this route, some options moving forward would be to:
- Go the free route and watch things on YouTube.
- If you want some of the core channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX then buy a $30 antenna.
- Get a steaming service like Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple TV, or Peacock. Notice the "or" in this list. Don't get too many streaming services as then you'll be losing the savings in cutting cable!
We are inundated with subscriptions, and it seems every type of company is moving in this direction. From watching a show to listening to music, a subscription is needed. Even Taco Bell has a monthly subscription for getting a daily taco! All of this adds up, though--and if we're honest, we may have subscriptions we hardly use, yet still pay for every month. Spend time to review your subscriptions and cut out the ones you don't need. Each $15 cancellation means an extra $180 each year in savings.
Find A Cheaper Phone Service
With the big brand names, you could find yourself paying $50+ for phone service. As we learned earlier with groceries, there are other companies who spend way less on marketing and can offer lower pricing. Tello is a service offering affordable plans, even plans under $10. Since Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere, getting less data at a lower rate can be a great opportunity to save plenty of money. Another huge plus with Tello and other similar services is you pay month-to-month and aren't locked into any contract. While we are discussing phones, skip buying new ones! You can buy refurbished phones (with a one year warranty!) for a fraction of the price at BackMarket.
Unsubscribe From Emails
When you visit a website, especially an ecommerce site selling products, they always want to get your email. Once you provide an email, it's virtually free marketing to them. They track what you look for and send you targeted emails trying to get you to buy, buy, buy. To counteract this, go through your inbox and unsubscribe. Remove the temptation at its root!
Skip Eating Out
It goes without saying that it's more expensive to eat out. Even fast food is getting expensive, and you can easily spend $8 per person. Resist the urge to go out, and make a home-cooked meal instead. If time is a concern, there are plenty of 15-minute recipes online. And if you don't feel confident cooking, just start simple! Search Google for "5 ingredient recipes" so you can build yourself up.
If You Have to Eat Out, Keep It Simple
When you do eat out, be cognizant of price. Don't opt for the little things that add up, like soda and dessert. That $2 soda and $6 dessert for each person in a family of five means the bill is an extra $40 (factor in the 20% tip and you're at $48). If you eat out twice a month, this soda and dessert combo would be about $100 per month and $1,200 per year! Save money by skipping on the unnecessary luxuries.
Make Cheaper Meals
Depending on what you make, home-cooking can be expensive in its own right. Getting ribeye, tuna, lobster, or even organic chicken is pricey. To save even more money on your home-cooking, find some cheaper recipes. Aim for more balanced meals that include filler foods like beans, rice, and potatoes.
Buy to Save
Sometimes you need to spend money to save money! If you find yourself spending a lot of money at Starbucks getting coffee, then invest in a nice coffee maker. If you are frequently ordering pizza, learn how to make it. It's quite simple and very cheap! If you like getting hamburgers, invest in a griddle or grill.
Cut Out Expensive Habits
Even small purchases add up if you buy them constantly. Something as simple as getting two bags of chips each week equates to $520 a year ($5 x 2 x 52 = $520). If you grab cookies and soda too, then you're looking at over $1,500 now for the year! These habits don't need to be food-related. Others include smoking, drinking alcohol, going to the movies, buying clothes, etc.
Pay Off Debt
As you start saving money with the above tips, put that towards paying off debt. The interest on your debt will likely be more than you can earn investing. So pay off the debt as soon as possible to prevent it from increasing further and further.
Whether you look through your bank statement or download a budgeting app, it's important to know where your money is going. This can help you spot where you are spending too much money (hopefully not restaurants!) and even be reminded of subscriptions you need to cancel.
Have A Goal
It's easier to do something if you have a bigger goal you are trying to accomplish. Saving money to save money probably won't be motivating enough. You'll want to have a purpose behind your efforts. Some examples could be to:
get out of debt
save for child's college education
go on a family vacation