Today’s society is fast-paced and consumer driven. This means that the way we operate these days, a little bit of money gets spent in a lot of different places. If you are not careful, these tiny expenses can add up. Things like coffee, eating out for lunch, paying for parking or going out to the movies may all seem minor, but all put together they wind up costing you. Even if you keep your overhead expenses low, or perhaps bike to work instead of driving to save on gas, chances are that you could probably save even more by making a few small adjustments to daily expenses. While those adjustments are small, they can make a big difference; you could end up saving as much as thousands of dollars each year.
There has even been a term created and written about called “The Latte Factor”; about how the extra five dollars saved from not buying a latte can really stack up. Five dollars a day makes $25 by the end of the work week, which becomes over a hundred each month. And that is only if you are getting coffee. If you eat out for lunch on top that, you can tack an extra ten dollars onto that. Spending $15 a day winds up being $75 a week, or over $300 a month. If you started making coffee at home, or invested in a small coffee maker for your desk at work you could save $100 a month. If you brought your lunch to work, you could save over $300 a month. That equates to around $3600 a year. A large amount of money- enough for a well deserved vacation to somewhere tropical (depending on what you would do with the extra cash). But you don’t have to go from one extreme to the other.
By downsizing the scale of your coffee and lunch routine, you can still save hundreds of dollars a month. Try to bring your own lunch to work three days a week and maybe allow for two lattes a week as well. This way eating out is more of a treat and can still be used for important activities such as networking or socializing with colleagues. You could use your lattes as a reward for accomplishments throughout the week. This way you can still indulge, but less often. That makes it more special anyway. Then while you are enjoying that well-deserved latte, you can sit back and think about all the savings piling up.
These are just two super simple ways to carve a little more savings out, but there are more where that came from. Consider ways to incorporate any of the following as well:
- When you go to the grocery store, bring a list and stick to it! This way you can avoid impulse buys on things that you don’t need.
- Be resourceful. Reuse grocery bags for your trash cans, get a sewing kit and patch up tears whenever possible so that you don’t have to buy new clothes and can get the most out of what you have.
Pay your bills on time every month to avoid unnecessary late fees.
- Borrow books from the library instead of buying them new. If you like to own your own books, consider getting them used.
- Ride your bike to work or take the bus a few days a week to save on gas expenses.
If you drive less you are eligible for a discount on your car insurance, possibly as much as $30 per month or more. There may be other ways to reduce your car insurance rates. Check with your provider for more information.
- Consider consolidating all of your insurance plans into one provider. By combining car insurance, health insurance, and renter’s insurance you can usually get a discount on your monthly premiums.
Distance yourself from lavish, high-rolling friends, so that you aren’t pressured or tempted to spend unnecessarily.
By making basic changes like these you can shave off $5 to $20 here and there and it will all add up. Do an experiment and try to cut back on as much of your little expenses as you can for one month and see how much you save. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is somewhere between $200 to $500, if you are a an impulse spender, it could be even more. The point is that you don’t necessarily need to move to a smaller apartment or sell your car just to save some extra cash. Just learn some self discipline and you can start making some plans for that trip to Europe you have always wanted to take.
About the author: Jenni Sunde is a freelance fashion writer and pop culture junkie. Jenni specializes in all things lifestyle-related. From home and design to health and beauty. With her love of art and all things beautiful, she delights in sharing her sense of style from her life to your computer monitor. Her title pegs her as an editor at a website that specializes in providing people with quick car insurance quotes, but her passion leads her into writing with a little more substance and a lot more heart.