Saving Money

Small Changes Add Up

When you are looking to save money or trim down your budget, it is usually the big expenses that people concentrate on. How can you cut your rent or mortgage? How can you get a cheaper car payment? Sure these are things that you should look at but don’t forget about the little things. You can make a bunch of tiny cuts or changes that can save you a huge amount of money when you add them all up. Let’s look at some examples.

It Is The End Result That Counts

Below you will find some small changes that just about everybody can put into effect. Taken individually, they do not add up to much but when you look at the savings together or the savings over the course of a year, they can be significant. Let’s take a look.

1. Brew Your Own Coffee

I cringe every time I drive by that big chain coffee store thinking about the money and time people are wasting. At least $5 a day on a “gourmet” cup of coffee, not to mention the 10 to 15 minutes they waste in line.

Do yourself a favor and brew your own at home. You can get a months worth of good beans for $5. Add to that a bean grinder, french press and a thermos for another $25.

If you only partake in that chain store coffee during the work week, yuo will be saving  $25 a week or an easy $100 a month. That’s 1200 dollars a year. Think about what you could do with that money. It would make a nice addition to your savings or investment accounts.

2. Give Up Soda

Soda is not only really bad for you, it is also very expensive. It is easy to chug down 6 cans of cola in a day without even blinking.

Replace that soda with bottled water and save big. Yes, you could just use a water bottle and save even more but if you like canned soda, you probably like convenience. Let’s stick with bottles for now.

If you drink just 3 cans of soda a day, that is 90 cans a month. With a 12 pack of cola coming in at $5, that is $37.5 a month. A 24 pack of water is about $4 which would be $15 a month at 3 a day. That is a savings of $22.50 a month or $270 a year.

3. Download Gas Buddy

There is nothing new about this app but I am surprised at how many people still do not use it. If you own a vehicle, this app should be on your phone. Go download it now.

What this app does is simple, it uses data from people like you to chart the prices of gasoline. When you need gas, just look at the app and see who has the cheapest prices around you. You can save an easy 10 to 20 cents a gallon.

Not a huge savings, but this is about the little stuff. If you drive 15000 miles a year and get 20 miles per gallon, you use 750 gallons of fuel a year. That is a savings of $75 to $150 a year.

4. Switch To Generic Brands

The dirty little secret in the grocery world is that most generics are made by the big brand companies. Don’t believe me? Pay attention next time there is a product recall. You will see a few name brands listed and then a sea of generic products being recalled because they are made by the same company.

That being said, finding the generic products that you like will take a bit of trial and error. With generics costing an easy 20 to 40 percent less than the name brands, it represents a significant savings n your grocery bill.

The average family of four easily needs $500 to $600 a month to pay for groceries. Cut just 20 percent off of that total ans save $100 to $120 a month or $1200 to $1440 a year.

5. Use Coupons

No need to cut coupons any more, stores have gone digital. Download the apps for your favorite stores and take advantage of the coupons and discounts that they provide.

When you do have to shop online, take advantage of the coupon and discount seeking power of Honey. You can get honey here and it will automatically find promo codes coupons and tell you about cheaper prices. A terrific way to save time and money. No more scouring the web to find the cheapest price or searching those scammy coupon code websites.

You can easily save $10 to $20 a month if you are a light online shopper with Honey. Even more if you do all your shopping online, it is a must have.

6. Switch To Prepaid Wireless

You have a lot more quality choices when it comes to wireless plans. If you are willing to switch to a prepaid plan, you can cut your bill by way more than 50%.

These prepaid services use the same lines as the big carriers and offer all of the same unlimited services. The only difference is that you pay the bill at the beginning of the month. You also give up subsidized phones but you are paying a very high premium for this service with the major carriers.

If you are a family of four with a major carrier, you are probably paying $200 to $250 a month for that wireless service. Get the exact same service for $100 a month with prepaid. Save $100 to $150 a month or $1200 to $1800 a year.

7. Dine Smartly

I’m not going to tell you to stop going out to dinner, unless you go out each and every night of course. If you like to dine out once or twice a week, that is fine, just be smart about it,

First and foremost, skip the soda, juice and even worse alcoholic drinks in favor of the simple and free glass of water. It will save you anywhere from $5 to $10 per person.

Also consider sharing an entree. Look at the calorie count on the menu and you will see that most meals come in at around 1500 calories. With the average caloric needs of an adult being 2400 calories, that is twice what the average person needs in a single meal. Split the entree and save both money and pounds n the scale.

Lastly, sign up for the e-clubs of the restaurants that you like. You will receive money saving coupons and discounts in your email, probably several times a month. The discounts can really add up.

If you dine out just once a week, following this advice, you can easily save $20 a meal or more. That is $80 a month or almost 1000 dollars a year.

8. Shop For A Reason

…Not for fun. If you like to shop as a hobby or to kill time, this is a dangerous hobby. Retailers both online and in person know lots of tricks to get you to spend and spend now. They can find a way to make it impossible to resist.

If you shop online, do it because you need something in particular, not because you are bored. While you are at it, remove your credit card numbers from all of the sites that you frequent. If you have to enter a number, it gives you a cooling off period.

The amount you can save by eliminating shopping as a hobby is limitless. Some people with bad habits could save hundreds a month or even a week.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.