For everything you need to buy, whether it be electronics, clothes, food, etc, make sure you do a little bit of research before buying. A lot of times buying an item online may be much cheaper than what you would pay at a store, or vice versa. For example, let’s say you want to buy an HDMI cable for your DVD player. The only option at the neighborhood best buy may be $25-30$. The same cable on amazon.com is $3. That is a 10x price difference! This is an extreme example, but these types of differences are not uncommon. A shoe that you find at the mall for $100 may be on sale at another store for $50. Doing too much research can also take a lot of your time though, so if the price difference is too small, it may not be worth it. But at the very least, doing a google shopping or amazon search online for something will take a few seconds. Check the online price before buying at a store.
Getting a kindle e-reader can be a great way to save money if you read a lot. Many of the classics, like Les Miserables, are free, along with discounted prices for many books. They also have unlimited reading/audiobooks deals for around $10 a month, which is great if you read more than a couple of books a month. I have an old version of the kindle, with no backlight, so it only serves as a reader, but the latest Kindle Fires are essentially tablets that can be used for web browsing as well
Probably the best way to keep track of your monthly spending habits is to use mint.com. The way it works is that you connect your relevant credit card accounts and bank accounts to it, and so then you will have one place you can go to check all your expenses and charges. What’s great is that it creates a nice graph for you, whether you want to view by category or time period, so you can really visualize everything.
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There’s nothing that’s more of a lose lose situation than smoking. Not only is it bad for you and those around you, it is also one of the surest ways to throw away money. A pack of cigarettes can cost around $10 a pack on average these days. Let’s say you smoke 1 pack a day. That is $10 x 365 = $3650 a year! That’s enough for a nice 1 week vacation almost anywhere! Over 10 years that goes to $36000, enough for a luxury car. Did i mention you’re also killing yourself? So, do your wallet (and lungs) a favor, don’t smoke
If you’re someone who usually just fills up at any gas station you see, you may potentially be able to save hundreds of dollars over a year by doing some research. There are many gas stations available, and unless there is a certain brand of gas that you must have, it pays to shop around.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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!