Many people feel the only way they can save more money is by making more money. An easier way to save more money is by cutting down on current spending. Many times, people are spending money in areas that they can easily eliminate if they are willing to make a simple lifestyle change. In some cases, it is a matter of kicking some bad habits. I realize some of these are easier to do than others, but if you really want to recapture some additional disposable income, then listen up to these tips.
What are some lifestyle changes that save money?
1.) Cut the addictions
I’m not saying this to make a judgment call on you, but to tell you that addictions are costing you precious dollars. For practical reasons, if you can crush addictions, you can save a lot of money.
Cut the Cigarettes – If you want to quit smoking, maybe money should be your motivation. Think of the savings if you were to stop buying cigarettes on a regular basis. If you smoked a pack a day at an average price of $5 a pack, you would save $35 a week. Multiply that by 52 weeks in a year and that’s $1,820 you can be saving. Let’s not forget the long-term medical savings you could gain by having better health and lowering your risk of disease. You can also save on insurance premiums by cutting out the cigarettes.
Cut the Alcohol – You may only drink socially and on occasion so maybe this is not an addiction for you. However, you may be in the habit of spending money for alcohol. You will instantly save money but cutting alcohol from your diet. Resist the urge to order a glass of wine with dinner at a restaurant or getting that cocktail with co-workers after a hard day’s work. Go for a $3.00 soda instead of a $6.00 beer. Save even more by cutting the soda.
Cut the Espresso – For some people this can be a bigger addiction than smoking or alcohol. This is a tip Starbucks may not want you to hear. Coffee is not considered a vice but think about how much money you could save if you didn’t order a $4 daily latte or cappuccino. If you need your coffee fix, go with a less expensive daily brew or make it at home yourself.
2.) Cut the cable
Cord cutting is become a trend as cable costs are skyrocketing and there are more alternatives to viewing. Your cable bill might be $30-$150 a month. You don’t have to completely give up watching your favorite shows since there are various streaming and on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime that cost less monthly. There are also some great shows on free networks like ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. You can easily hook up your computer to your TV or invest a one time fee as low as $35 to purchase ROKU, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Apple TV, etc to enable streaming to your TV.
“But I need ESPN!” you say? Consider going to a friend’s house or subscribing to season passes for the different sports instead. You don’t need the other 200 channels. Certain cable networks like HBO also allow you to subscribe to a la carte streaming services.
3.) Cut the data
In this day and age we all need internet and smart phones to survive. However, there are ways to save here that you may not realize.
Lower Your Phone’s Data Plan – Most mobile carriers have lower data plans that are less expensive. If you’re connected to wi-fi a lot at home or work then you may not really need unlimited or the highest data package. There are other lifestyle adjustments you can make such as cutting back on watching videos on your phone. Video streaming tends to take up the most data. You can save some money there. Another data sucker is GPS. Use a standalone GPS unit that uses satellite instead or remember to look at directions ahead of time.
Lower Internet Speed – If you don’t need to upload and download large files at home, then consider going with a lower internet speed to save money. Companies always try to convince you that you need faster speeds. Nowadays, even the most basic plans are enough to stream video, check email and surf the web. Most companies allow you to lower or raise your speed at any time. It’s worth lowering your speed to see if you can live with that to save some money. If you need more speed, just raise it later.
4.) Pay on time
Pay your bills on time. Procrastinating and paying bills late will cost you money. You can save a whole lot of money if you just paid things on time and did not rack up late fees or rush fees. For utility bills, sometimes the cost of not paying your bills increases because you have to pay reactivation fees. Being responsible will save you lots of money. Don’t let your bills get buried on your desk.
You can also use auto-pay for a lot bills now. This is particularly good to use for expenses that are the same each month like car payments or ones you have to pay to literally keep the lights on like the electric bill.
5.) Don’t spend more than what you have
This may seem super obvious but we live in a debt happy society. This makes banks a lot of money, but it doesn’t necessarily put more money in our pockets.
Beware of Bank Charges – Have you ever seen the dreaded “Insufficient Funds” fee in your bank account? Don’t write checks for money you don’t have in the bank. The bank will hit you with fees for that. Some banks require a minimum balance in your account as well or will charge you a monthly fee just to maintain a bank account there. Don’t give away money to banks that you should be saving.
Beware of Credit Cards – There are people in many countries outside the US that have a financial lifestyle that operates on a cash basis. This is a way of life that should be adopted by more people. Credit card companies have convinced us that they are the magic solution to buying anything you want. If you don’t buy something that you don’t have money for, you will save money.
Remember credit card companies make money if you don’t have money to pay them. If you pay off your credit cards, then you won’t have to pay interest. If you don’t pay interest, you could be saving that money.
A dirty trick banks do is they let you charge over your credit card limit so they can hit you with an over limit fee. You can call your credit card company and tell them to never let you go over your limit. Consider canceling your credit cards if you are spending too much on it or lowering your credit limits.
You can just use your debit card only so you won’t be tempted to spend more than you have.
Beware of Payment Plans – Only in America do you have the option to actually finance a vacation. Do not be enticed by payment plans for season tickets, annual passes to theme parks or timeshares. This could also go for any other luxury or leisure items. If you can’t afford to buy them now, you should not be buying them. You have enough monthly payments between the car, mortgage/rent, phone that you don’t need to pile on another one if it’s not necessary.
I hope these five main lifestyle changes will help you save the money that you could in turn use to pay your mortgage, get that much needed surgery, donate to your favorite charity or take a vacation. It may seem overwhelming at first but the more you do these things, the more you’ll see the savings.