When you look at your monthly budget, it sometimes seems that there is no way to find extra money. However, sometimes it just takes a different perspective. If you’re looking to save money by reducing your weekly family costs, this blog has 3 great and easy ways to cut down on your day-to-day expenses.
When it comes to saving money, the coffee cup principle is a useful analogy for relating to how saving on small items (such as a cup of coffee) can compound over time.
For example, let’s look at Bob, who works five days a week and each morning on the way to work he grabs a cup of coffee on his way into work. He spends $5 on this coffee and thinks nothing of it, as it’s a minor expense that helps him through the day and has become ingrained in his life as a habitual ritual.
However, assuming that Bob works 50 weeks in a year, this comes out to 250 mornings cups of coffee… and at $5 per cup, he is spending about $100 a month and over $1200 a year. Now THAT much money does make a huge difference in your budget. It just wasn’t clearly seen at first.
This is just one example of an area where a small purchase adds up over the week, month and year – so whilst it might seem futile to save a dollar here and a dollar there, it all mounts up over time.
Let’s now look at 3 other practical ways (in addition to skipping the Starbucks line) that you can save money:
WASH YOUR OWN CAR
Today, many people value the convenience of taking the car to a car wash instead of doing it themselves. This may not seem like much of an expense, but we pay $36 a month for 2 vehicles to have unlimited car washes. In a year, that adds up to $436.
However, we also buy the little towelettes and the fancy wax wash, which is $4 more a wash… and my husband goes 2 times a week for a wash. This is an additional $416 that is being spent on the car washing.
Now, for us, we just cut down washes to just his car instead of both (because I never ever go, so we are literally just wasting money just in that sense), which saved us $240. Then we decided the husband had to be on a car wash diet of only 1 a week, so this saved us $208 more. In total, we saved $450 just by these two things. (We COULD wash the car by hand, which would put the entire $850 back in our pockets, but hubby really likes giving his car a spa treatment, so we kept it in the budget).
BUY PET FOOD IN BULK
If you have a dog or cat, then you’ll know how expensive pet food can be, and how much this mounts up over time. For this reason, it is much cheaper to buy pet food in bulk as whilst it feels more painful to purchase $200 of pet food in one go – you will be saving a significant amount in the long run. While it is possible to price match or find it on sale, these things only cut down the cost temporarily. But buying by the pallet is actually a great way to cut down on pet food costs. Purina is known as allowing customers to buy wholesale if it is bought by the pallet.
Also, whilst it can be tempting to feed your dog leftover human food, either as a treat or as a way to save money, you need to be careful – as you could end up with some hefty vet bills if they eat the wrong human food (you can learn more about this here: https://www.certapet.com/can-dogs-eat-grapes/).
SHOP ON A FULL STOMACH
It might sound simple, but do your grocery shopping on a full stomach, as there’s plenty of research that highlights that we spend significantly more we spend when we are hungry. It comes down to impulse control, as supermarkets, and even online retailers often tempt us to make impulse purchases which we don’t really need… and we are much more susceptible to these when we are feeling hungry, particularly when it comes to sugary snacks or eating out.
Write a list of foods that you normally eat, meal plan off of those staple items, and shop directly after a meal, so that you aren’t shopping and buying easy, calorie filled food. My grocery bill goes from $50 a trip to about $110 if I am shopping hungry (have you ever tried to go down the frozen food aisle while hungry? I buy all of it!). And yes, I did that this week… frozen dinners for months now!
So there you have it… 3 more easy ways that with just a little planning and time involved, you can significantly decrease your budget in the long run by cutting out small cost items.
Check out these other great resources to help you with your personal budgeting –
Also check out these finance books that I am currently reading…
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