We’d all like to save money, but the act of doing this can often be stressful, hard work and painful, especially as we part with those luxuries we like to indulge ourselves with. However, keeping some extra dollars in the bank need not be an arduous task, as there are a number of ways you can tighten your purse strings – and you’ll barely even notice!
All it takes is a little bit of thought, and when you get into the routine of doing these things, you’ll soon start to notice just how much you’re saving. So, here are some penny-pinching activities you can do straight away:
Brown Bagging at Lunchtimes
If you eat meals out a lot, it makes sense to start taking your own lunch to work because this could save you a lot of money. Up to $25 a week could be saved by making your own lunch, and it won’t just be your wallet that benefits. Fast food lunches can have a diverse effect on your health, so pack a healthy lunch and try going for a walk while you’re at it too. This will be a lot cheaper than signing up for a gym membership saving you even more money in the process.
Brew Your Own Cups of Coffee
This is another simple tip you’ve probably heard of before, but brewing your own cup of coffee at work or home will save you a fortune, especially if you’re heading to your local coffee shop every day. Today, there are plenty of top notch coffee makers on the market, and these are well worth the initial investment.
Improve Your Negotiation Skills
Negotiating might not be a painless pastime for you, but it will be when you realize you could save thousands of dollars on everything from large sports utility vehicles to credit card fees. Pluck up the courage to ask people for discounts or reductions, and you might just be surprised at how much change you can save.
If the products you normally buy are on sale, why not make the most of these added discounts by buying in bulk? It might seem like a bit of an inconvenience having to store all of these extra items, but the savings you are making provide you with a great return on investment.
However, don’t be automatically drawn in by these offers, as you may find single units are cheaper than multipacks. It doesn’t make sense but the larger packs aren’t always the cheapest, so always compare what you’re getting for your money before you buy.
Drink Filtered Water
Buying bottled water may seem like the only alternative when you don’t like the water that comes out of your tap but that’s where you’re wrong. A water filter can help your tap water to taste just as nice and it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run, providing you with up to 300 standard bottles from one filter. Not only that but you’ll also be doing your bit for the environment because only 23% of plastic in America is recycled, which means 38 million plastic bottles are getting wasted each year.
Weigh Pre-Packed Fruit and Vegetables
When you’re adding pre-packed bags of fruit and vegetables to your shopping cart, take a few extra minutes to see whether you’re getting the most for your money. A lot of these bags won’t weigh the same, which means you could get an extra few pounds for free. Use the scales to weigh bags of oranges, apples, carrots, potatoes, onions and so on, and see which bag is the heaviest before adding it to your cart. They’ll have to weigh a certain amount at least, which means one’s bound to have gone over slightly!
Dine Out Less Frequently
Now you’re brown bagging your lunch, it may be time to cut back on how much you eat out at night too. In 2015 to 2016, Americans spent more money on eating out at restaurants and bars than they did on groceries, spending a whopping $54.857 billion compared to $52.503 billion. And, with the average markup in these establishments being 300%, you could be spending a lot less by eating at home.
So, if you go out twice a week, try cutting this down to once a week, or, if you go out every other week, try cutting this down to once a month. With a dinner for two costing around $50, this will provide you with a lot of extra change at the end of the month!
Jasmine Hamilton writes about money. She’s a personal finance consultant hoping to be able to help everyone, even those on the lowest of incomes, get their finances in hand for a better future.