Take advantage of employee perks

Make sure you stay current with any employee perks and benefits you might have for every day expenses, especially if you work for a large company. Many times you can get discounts on your phone bill, insurance, movie tickets, etc. But it doesn’t happen automatically, you must sign up. As an example. my family AT&T phone bill normally comes out to around $200 a month. With a 20% employee discount, that comes to $160 a month, that’s $40 a month, or $480 a year in savings. Sometimes there are also employee purchase programs for large consumer items, such as computers and appliances. Keep your eyes open and make sure to thoroughly browse your employer benefits website, or check with your HR on possible discounts before any big buys.

Pay off full credit card balance each month

Credit card debt carries probably the highest interest rate of any consumer loan. Typically it is around 15%, or above 20% even in some cases. So if you have a $1000 balance on the card for a year, you are paying at least $150 – $200 in interest per year. If possible, paying the full balance each month would be the best if you want to avoid paying this interest. Most credit cards now have monthly autopay option, that way you won’t forget.

Live Closer to Work

Nowadays with sky high gas prices, it definitely pays to live closer to work. The average cost to fill up a tank for my car is about $50, and when I used to live farther away from work, I would fill up weekly. This came to around $200 a month, or $2400 a year. When I started carpooling, I was only filling up once every 2 weeks, so my cost halved, to $100 a month, or $1200 a year. Then I ended up getting a job much closer to where I lived, and I only had to fill up once a month, cutting my costs in half yet again to $50 a month, or about $600 a year. So I was able to save $1800 a year, just from gas costs alone. This is not even including the savings on maintenance/oil changes for the car which need to occur every few thousand miles.

Get Roommates

With rent/mortgage payments usually being the largest expense every month, being able to split on this can save you a fortune. If you live by yourself, instead of getting a studio or 1 bedroom apartment, sharing a 2 bedroom apartment with one other person can save a lot of money, as usually the 2 bedrooms are not that much more expensive than the 1 bedrooms. For example, in the area I live, 1 bedrooms are around $1500 and 2 bedrooms are around $1800. By getting the 2 bedroom and splitting, the rent comes out to $900, much more manageable.

If you own a condo or house, renting out one or some of the rooms can relieve the burden a bit. Of course, the viability of getting a roommate will depend on each person’s situation, for example having a family and kids may make it more difficult. But either way, if there are unused rooms in your home, consider renting it out, even if temporarily like thru airbnb to earn some extra cash.

Don’t eat out so much

Eating out is expensive…it may not seem like it at first, but it adds up quickly. Let’s say the average meal is $10-$15, and you eat out once a day. That’s $300 – $450 a month, or $3600 – $5400 a year! Reduce that to eating out just every other day, and that gets cut in half. For myself, I try to reduce eating out to not more than two times a week. Not only is this is a huge money savings, but it is actually healthier too. These days, everything you can order at a restaurant or cafe is loaded with fat, salt, and just comes in too large of quantities in general. This can be very detrimental to your health! So do yourself a favor, learn some healthy recipes (pastas, salads, sandwiches, etc), go out to a supermarket, buy the ingredients, and cook at home more. Your body will thank you, and so will your wallet!

Get rid of Cable TV

Nowadays, there is enough online streaming content, that there is really no need to keep cable/satellite TV. It is unlikely that you watch more than 5 to 10% of the channels that are available, and all those channels can cost you $50 to $100 a month! For those that watch a lot of television shows and movies, a Netflix streaming account can be purchased for $10 a month, and if you have Amazon Prime, that also come with some streaming content. For those that watch sports, unless you watch every single sport and follow every single team, there is probably a better internet streaming option out there that will get you just what you need cheaper. For example, if you’re a basketball fan, NBA League Pass has an option for unlimited streaming of a single team of your choice for $100 a year, or all teams for $170 a year. Cutting out the cable TV can easily save you $500 to $1000 a year.

Save on gas by carpooling

Carpooling to work can save you a lot of gas money, especially if you live far from work. I used to live 25 miles from my workplace, which resulted in a 50 mile commute every day, so I was filling up the tank roughly every 1.5 weeks. Each fill up cost me around $50 at the time, so it was at least $100 a month. I then met a coworker who happened to live close by, and so we started carpooling. After this I only had to fill up half as often, saving me $50 a month, or around $600 a year. Think about what you could do with an extra $600!

Some people don’t consider carpooling because they feel it doesn’t work with their work schedule, but I found it can be quite beneficial. By planning my workday around my carpool, I got an excuse to leave work at a decent time. “Sorry, gotta go, my carpool is waiting!” And of course, you also get the added benefit of being able to take the carpool lane, possibly cutting your commute time

carpool

Saving Money on Taxes

The most cheap and efficient way to do your taxes is using Turbotax software. They have a very friendly user interface, and once you use them one year you can carry over all your info into next years for faster completion. The year I started using it, my uncle tried to do my taxes for me. He did it the old fashioned way, with pen and paper, and insisted there was no need to waste money on the software. I decided to try Turbotax in parallel, as an experiment to see if the results would be the same. In the end, it turned out that my uncle had missed a certain deduction that happened to only be available that year, but turbotax knew about it, and ended up saving me a few hundred more dollars. Been using Turbotax every year since.

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