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Challenge Yourself To Avoid These 10 Frivolous Expenses For One Month

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.

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

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Last Updated on June 26, 2020

25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

“How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

  • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
    • food
    • rent/mortgage
    • cell phone
    • insurance
    • socializing/entertainment
    • transportation
    • hygiene products
    • household bills
  • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
    • travel
    • clothing
    • medication (*depends)
    • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
    • gifts

Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

Save Money on Food

1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

2. Buy the store-brand version

Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

4. Have group dinners

If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

Save Money in Transport

5. Get a bicycle

Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

7. Find the cheapest gas

Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

Save Money in General Shopping

8. Shop online

Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

9. Sell your old stuff

Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

10. Bulk buying stores

For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

12. Generic brand medication

More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

Cut Down on Household Expenses

14. Printing

Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

16. Shop around for insurance

Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

18. Don’t get a TV

Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

20. Have house parties

Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

21. Open festivals, meetups and events

It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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22. Volunteer

If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

23. Housesit

There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

24. DIY beauty

French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

  • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
  • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
  • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
  • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
  • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
  • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
  • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

More Tips for Personal Finance Management

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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