When you hear of people who are able to save thousands of dollars a year, are you amazed and wonder how they’re able to do it? It sounds daunting if you try to save $1,000 in one fell swoop. What if I told you that by making small lifestyle changes, you can save $5,000 or more during the course of a year? In these modern times, we often pay to have conveniences. If you’re willing to make small lifestyle changes, you can save thousands of dollars a year!
A daily trip through the drive-thru of your favorite cafe can cost upwards of $750 a year. Let’s do the math. At the low end, a cup of coffee costs $3 a cup. Buying it every workday will cost $15 a week. Multiply that by 50 work weeks a year and you’re looking at $750. If you like to buy fancy lattes, then you’re probably looking at closer to $1,000 a year. $3 is a bargain these days considering Starbucks recently raised their prices.
I admit to treating myself to coffee every now and then but generally, I make my coffee at home. It’s more work than going to a coffee shop, but the savings are so worth it! Here’s a tip for making tasty coffee at home. We buy dark roast coffee beans from Trader Joe’s and grind the beans ourselves just before brewing. Coffee beans stay fresh longer than ground coffee so we get to enjoy strong, aromatic, and flavorful coffee.
$3 a cup x 5 days a week x 50 weeks = $750
An average Uber ride costs about $13 a trip. With tip, let’s conservatively estimate that a ride averages $15. Now, I’m all for safety. If taking an Uber means you don’t drink and drive, by all means, please do it. However, because Uber makes it so convenient to catch a ride, it means many of us are spending more money on transportation.
I know it’s not very hip or cool, but look into taking public transportation when possible. You may have to walk little ways to the bus stop but it means the difference between paying $15 versus $3-5.
$15 a ride x 3 times a month x 12 months = $540.
Do you like to grab a paperback on your weekly grocery store run? When you’re at the airport, do you buy a book because you’re bored and you didn’t bring any reading materials with you? It feels so easy to just buy a book to keep yourself entertained. Instead of paying money to entertain yourself, try to plan ahead. You can download an audiobook or check out a book for free from your local library.
It doesn’t seem like a big deal to pay for the convenience and buy a book or magazine to entertain yourself. But, simply by planning ahead, you can easily save yourself some money.
$10 per book x 12 books a year = $120
Movies at the Theater
As a society, we have a tendency to pay for entertainment instead of creating our own entertainment or finding cheaper alternatives to amuse ourselves. Take movies as an example. Many of us default to going to the movies because it’s easy and generally pleases everyone. A very, very conservative estimate for 1 person who goes to the movies 10 times a year comes to $150. If you go on date nights or take the kids to the movies, this number can easily double or triple.
You can rent newly released movies from Red Box at a fraction of the cost. Even better, get movies for free by checking them out at the library.
$15 per visit x 10 movies a year = $150
Lunch Out With Corkers
Eating out for lunch can be a big budget buster for many people. It’s tricky because you may not realize how much you’re spending until it’s too late. you’re just spending $10 here, $15 there, no harm no foul, right?
Suppose you ate out for lunch everyday (many of my coworkers do) and the meal costs an average of $10. Doing this for 50 weeks out of the year means you’re spending $2,500! Don’t despair though. Look at it as an opportunity to save. Even cutting out just half of those meals means you can save over $1,000 a year. Even if you don’t like to cook, you can still make simple sandwiches and salads for lunch to save money.
$10 a meal x 5 days a week x 50 weeks = $2,500
Lunch isn’t the only meal of the day where people fall prey to eating out. Dinner is another obstacle, and I suffer from this as well. When I have a busy day at work, feel stressed, or feel lazy, I feel tempted to order takeout for dinner. While getting takeout is slightly cheaper than getting meal delivered or eating at the restaurant, it’s still a significant expense that adds up.
A meal for one can easily cost $15. You may think that ordering takeout twice a week is no big deal. Well, you might have second thoughts when you learn that getting takeout twice a week every week adds up to $1,560! If you’re getting take out for you and your partner and/or kids, then you’re looking at a much higher number.
$15 a meal x 2 days a week x 52 weeks = $1,560
Do you suffer from any spending traps? How do you tackle them?