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Challenge Yourself To Avoid These 10 Frivolous Expenses For One Month

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Challenge Yourself To Avoid These 10 Frivolous Expenses For One Month

Did you know that simply by having one Starbucks coffee per day, five days per week, that you are spending over $1,000 per year? Just think about what else you could be doing with that money. We all spend money unnecessarily. After all, we think nothing of spending a couple of dollars here and there. But, every penny adds up, and we spend thousands of dollars each year on things that we really don’t need. Here are 10 avoidable expenses that most of us are guilty of wasting money on.

1. Daily Lunches

As a busy person, you may not have time to make lunches to take to work, so you spend money to eat out every day. No matter where you go, you are going to spend at least $5 per day. That adds up to over $1,000 each year. Make your lunches at home the night before to save time and money. Here are great healthy lunch recipes all clock in at $3 or less per serving.

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2. Weekly Pizza Night

If you get a pizza for your family once a week, you are spending at least $20 to $30 each week. That adds up to $1,000 or more each year. Sure, we all need to treat ourselves now and again, and who doesn’t like pizza? But, why not cut back to one pizza night a month. You will be saving $60 to $90 per month, or more. Also, there are always great tasting grocery store pizza that could cost you only $5-$6.

3. Travel

You may love to travel, but it gets pretty expensive after a while. You can’t get a decent motel room for less than $100 per night, and then you have to pay for meals, and have spending money. You also have to spend a lot on airfares. Instead of giving up on travel, find ways to have budget vacations. For instance, you can get great deals on airfares at Kayak and Airfares Flights. Find a bidding site to bid for less expensive hotel rooms and find local eating deals through that city’s online coupons and meal deals.

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4. Books

The cost of books gets higher and higher all the time. A cheap paperback novel now costs upwards of $10. Reading shouldn’t have to be a luxury. But, instead of spending a lot of money on books, why not get them from your local library for free? Book getting can be accomplished with a Kindle Unlimited membership for just $9.99 a month as well.

5. Clothing

You don’t need to have three closets full of clothing, or hundreds of pairs of shoes. All a person really needs are a few main pieces, a few accent pieces, three to four pairs of shoes, and some accessories. You can save money by cutting back on clothes shopping. You can make money if you clean out your closets and sell all those clothes you aren’t even wearing. Neighborhood swapping party to get new sizes that the kids or you need also is a great way to save money on your clothes.

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6. Weekly Movie Nights

It’s nice to have date night with your significant other, but for two people to go to the movies, it costs upwards of $50 if you get popcorn and pop. You can save money by cutting back to one date night a month. Buying tickets at the Box Office will save you $1-2 that you’d pay for online booking. Find a late-run theater and watch movies later. You can still enjoy each other’s company by renting a movie or streaming on online. There are tremendous savings to be had with streaming movie options, investigate if one is a good fit for your household.

7. Beer

Beer, or any other alcoholic beverage, is expensive. It is even more costly when you choose to drink at a bar with friends instead of at home. By cutting back on the amount of alcohol you consume, you will be saving a lot of money. You may even lose weight and feel healthier. If you must socialize with a cocktail, choose Happy Hour times, some places even have late night reverse Happy Hour!

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8. Lottery Tickets

Do you really need to spend money on those lottery tickets every week? Sure, winning is fun, but take a good look at what you spend compared to what you win, and you will realize just how much you have lost over the years. Perhaps making it an indulgence instead of a habit is a better fit. Maybe establish a ‘couch fund’- money found in the couch, for treats like this.

9. Treats for the Kids

Do you bring home treats for your kids every time you go shopping? This can get pretty expensive after a while. It also will cause your kids to not appreciate real treats. Cut back on the treats for the kids, save money, and as a bonus, this may help them to grow into adults who appreciate all that they do have.

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10. Cigarettes

If you are a smoker, you are likely spending at least $10 per day on cigarettes, depending on how much you smoke. Quitting is hard, but it is well worth the effort. You will be saving over $3,000 per year, and improving your health. If you can start by weaning yourself down on the nicotine aspect with patches and the oral aspect with suckers, eventually you will thank yourself and feel better as well.

Featured photo credit: pshegubj via flickr.com

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Jane Hurst

Writer, editor

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

Some easy ways to save money:

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  1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
  2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
  4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
  6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
  7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
  8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
  9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
  10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
  11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
  12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
  13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
      a reusable water bottle and refill it.
    • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
    • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
    • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
    • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
    • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
    • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
    • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
    • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
    • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
    • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
    • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
    • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
    • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
    • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
    • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
    • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
    • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
    • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
    • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

    Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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    Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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