So you made a pretty general budget for yourself and your family to abide by. You followed the universal rules of not spending more then you take in. But all in all, you aren’t seeing big changes in your account. This can get frustrating when you feel like you are pinching pennies and doing all you can to save. Sometimes, you have to take it a step further and look at your finances for the week, not the month. It isn’t easy to really estimate your expenses for a whole month. Sometimes, it is necessary to take your weekly routines and really add up every penny. Things that seem little WILL add up. For example, I will wake up in the morning pretty groggy and NEED my caffeine fix. Now I love my diet coke and thankfully for McDonalds $1 any pop , it isn’t as expensive as maybe a fancy java fix might be, but I do not want a can of pop. I need a fountain pop. BUT this is also a problem because I will get one pop in the morning. My hubby will get one pop in the morning (We share our love of pop). And then of course we will need one at lunch and one at dinner. (This is the minimum pop count for the day) So that begins adding up to $6 a day! Which means $42 a week! So while I haven’t accounted in my monthly budget for pop, it starts to chip away at about $170 (at least) a month. Realistically, that’s the equivalent of another bill… for POP! This is just one example of how swiping for what seems to be such a cheap fix can really add up. Since I’m throwing my personal life out there anyways, I’ll give you another example of a small routine that can add up quickly. I’m driving and listening to the radio. I LOVE the song that’s playing, so I go on iTunes and just tap the button and for $1.29, I now own it. So easy to do. Small amount. Can’t hurt, right? THESE ARE THE DANGEROUS BUYS. You can find yourself downloading song after song and since you never see that money, you don’t actually account for how much you end up spending. I have found myself looking at my purchased iTunes songs and thinking, how in the heck did I spend this much money on songs. It can begin to add up to upwards of $50 a month! (That adds up when you realize the amount of alternatives there are to spending that money.) So I want to give you guys tips on how to really break down those expenses and find cheaper alternative. Also, I want this to be a forum where you can anonymously request tips and maybe even give tips on things you do to save money!
1. Routine fix- Maybe it’s coffee, a hot chocolate, or even a pop like me. Whatever it is, there will be a cheaper alternative to making it work. For me, I am trying to drink a can of pop at home in the morning and drinking water at lunch. If both me and my hubby do that, we cut out 2/3 of our costs EACH day! So all of a sudden that $170 monthly bill gets cut to $56! It’s still seems like a lot for something like pop, but I know that I can’t realistically just stop drinking pop. So cutting down as much as I can is just as good. For coffee, my suggestion is to get bulk bags of ground coffee and make it at home. Now I know it’s not the same, but there are tons of options for creamers and sugars and flavoring. Ice some of that coffee in the fridge and add some creamer (Samoa flavor is delicious!) and you have a recipe for a quick café style coffee fix! Do NOT knock it till you try it… Look at this picture below and tell me it doesn’t look amazing. This can save you over $100 a month!!!
2. Gas- Did you know that when gasoline is cold, it kind of compresses together? So when it heats up during the day, the gas expands, filling your tank a little longer. I ALWAYS fill up in the morning when it is a little colder. It might only save a few bucks, but what’s the theme here? Small things ADD UP!
3. Music Mayhem- So I’m all for supporting iTunes. But there are so many apps nowadays for your phone that lets you listen to whichever genre radio station you want. I do understand, however, that when people want to listen to certain songs right away, they aren’t going to wait on a radio app for it to come on. But did you know there are apps like Rhapsody that let you search a song and play it! You don’t download it, you don’t own it, but you can listen to it as many times as you want and it’s free! So cut that $50 easy!
4. Dinners- “People gotta eat!” While that is true, I know my hubby and I save a ton of money bringing our lunches to work. I know most people tell us that cooking at home saves a ton of money! Since it is just the two of us during the week, buying all the necessary groceries to home cook a meal everyday really isn’t that money saving and can actually be pretty wasteful of our time and money. The only way it becomes effective for the week is if the weekend before, we sit and plan out the menu for the week so we can buy groceries accordingly and not waste anything (which is difficult with making portions for two). So commit to making that menu and kind of building it around a set amount of groceries so it financially makes sense. Sure I can say “Oh I save money by cooking at home”, but groceries can add up when you are buying them without a plan. So take the time to write it out and follow through so you aren’t overspending money and wasting groceries you may not go through.
These are just a few of the little weekly things that can start adding up. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any other ways (Comb through your cable, heat, electric, phone, and other bills to see where you can cut down.) If you think your electric bill is too high, unplug anything that isn’t being used until you need it, turn off all lights, etc… If there are things that you pay from your card or checking account automatically, review them every few months to see if you are still actually utilizing the service. (i.e. Netflix, Gym membership) You have to really analyze every way you spend money and see if you are spending it on what you NEED. Hope this helps!