When you are trying to save money, there are, typically, quite a few places that you can look. The obvious place to start is with monthly bills: evaluate your telephone package, cellular plan, satellite/cable options, and internet connection service. Many times, companies are able to give you special promotions that are currently going on or you can even down-grade your current options, based on what you actually need and use. Although, there are some ways to save that you may not have even considered. These money-usurping habits often slide under your monthly budget radar because they aren’t individual bills that come in the mail each month. You may pay cash or put them on a credit card used for other household items, so these expenses may go unnoticed, but could, literally, be costing you hundreds of dollars each year.
The morning coffee addiction
If you are like most of us, you probably can’t really get going in the morning without a cup of coffee. However, it can make a huge difference in your budget where you are getting that coffee. If you are stopping by your favorite coffee shop and ordering a specialized coffee from a barista, you are probably spending around $4.00 each work day, or about $88 each month. While the gourmet latte each day is delicious, it is costing you over $1000 per year, if you buy a gourmet coffee each workday! Don’t lose heart, though, there is a much cheaper way that is still going to taste great. If you aren’t good at measuring out and making your own coffee, invest in a coffee maker that you can simply place a K-cup in and have a perfect-tasting cup of coffee every time. The least expensive way to enjoy a K-cup is buying at a wholesale store (I go to Sam’s Club). You can get a large box of 84 K-cups for just under $40. Buy some flavored creamer and you will get a great tasting cup of coffee for around $0.50 per cup! Making your own coffee at home costs about $11 per month and will save you $77 per month; that is a savings of over $900 for the year!
Eating out for lunch
Mornings can be hectic, especially if you are trying to get your children ready for school, help kids finish homework, make breakfast, and make sure everyone gets out the door on time. It can be really hard to add one more thing to the morning checklist. Honestly, we all know that it is just easier to buy lunch rather than take the time to pack one. Buying lunch at a restaurant each day can make quite a dent in your budget. Even if you are getting a value meal at a fast food restaurant, you are probably spending at least $5 per day, which would be about $1250 per year. This is an expense that can approximately be cut in half by packing a lunch each day.
It may not seem like a big deal to stop by your favorite sports pub after work and have some wings and a beer with a few co-workers to wind down after work, however, you may be spending more than you think. There are always “happy hour” specials so it seems relatively inexpensive. Of course, if you go every day, you are probably adding at least $5-10 to your daily expenses, and potentially, a whole lot more, depending on how long you stay.
The best way to limit the amount that you spend each month on these “daily habits” is to budget for them. You don’t have to give everything up altogether. Build a certain amount into your budget each month and then stick to it.