How to Minimize Your Spending in Order to Maximize Your Savings
If you’re a first-time home buyer, saving for buying a house can feel like achieving the impossible dream. Whether you’re the type who’s had a savings account since your first job, or the type who has a credit card and isn’t afraid to use it, we could all use a little reality check when it comes to our spending habits.
Creating a weekly, monthly, and yearly budget can help you save money methodically without having to overthink every individual transaction. Keeping your spending in check and sticking to your budget can actually ease financial anxiety and other stresses associated with buying a new home. Dropping the unnecessary costs in this list will help you save faster as you begin to live an all-around more streamlined life.
1) Drop Your Daily Coffee Run
Instead of picking up a pumpkin spice latte every day on your way to work, invest in a to-go cup that you will be able to re-use every day. According to Business Insider, when you go out for coffee, you are spending between $1 and $5 each time, as opposed to the average 16 cents per cup that it costs to brew your coffee at home.
If you’re feeling really gung-ho about cutting coffee, you can put between $1 and $5 dollars in a jar every day that you don’t go out to buy your fix at the coffee shop.
2) Downsize Your Car
If you need your big truck in order to do your job, or your mini van in order to fit the whole family in the car, we aren’t recommending you trade your car in for a compact. But it could be smart to trade your heavy truck or big mini van in for a lighter version of that same style of car.
According to the Globe and Mail, downsizing from a truck to a lighter crossover could save you roughly $1,760 over an eight-year span. Switching from a gas guzzler to a more fuel efficient machine, or even an electric car, could save you thousands of dollars a year.
3) Stop Going Out to Eat at Lunch Time
Even if you just spend $5 to $8 dollars a day during your lunch break, that’s $25-$40 dollars a week — which is $100-$160 a month on cheap, probably unhealthy food. Save money and eat healthier buy making your lunch ahead of time and bringing it with you to work.
As an alternative, consider making your dinners large enough to bring leftovers for lunch the next day. If you value your time away from the office at lunchtime, find a park near your work where you can escape without spending any money.
4) Cancel Unnecessary Subscription Services
Take an inventory on the subscription services that you’re enrolled in. If you don’t use the service daily or weekly, it may be worth it to unsubscribe. Many subscription services exist in order to save you time, not money.
If you use a weekly laundry service, see if you can organize your schedule so that you have time to do your own laundry instead of having a service do it for you. Grocery and meal services usually jack up the price of everyday items, so make time to do your own grocery shopping. That way, you have more agency to choose the most affordable items.
5) Drop Recurring Charges That Don’t Benefit You From Month to Month
Do you have a gym membership that you never use? Do you use more than one music streaming service? Try to minimize your recurring charges so that you only have one or two that are absolutely necessary to your day-to-day life.
Services like "Trim" can help you keep track of how much you are spending on recurring charges in order to avoid spending your entire savings on services that you rarely or never use.
6) Premium Cable
If you subscribe to Amazon Prime or Netflix, consider dropping your premium cable subscription (or vice versa). Cancel unused television channels and cable services.
If you are addicted to a specific sports team, Wise Bread recommends investing in sport-specific services that won’t break the bank. Binge-worthy TV shows can usually be streamed through Hulu Plus, Amazon, or Netflix, which are generally much cheaper than cable.
7) Ditch Expensive Groceries
You can save money every week simply by switching grocery stores. Buying food at budget grocery stores as opposed to convenience markets or health food stores will save you big bucks.
Going for store brands instead of high-end products will allow you to enjoy your favorite foods while still saving money. You don’t necessarily need to stop buying your favorite products, just opt for a less expensive version.
8) Stop Using Credit Cards
There have been many studies showing how using cash will help your savings account grow. When you use a credit card, you are removed from your spending, as there is no physical exchange of money and you don’t see the money leave your account right away.
Leaving your credit card at home when you go shopping will prevent you from spending money that you don’t necessarily have.
9) Quit Your Unhealthy Habits
Cigarettes and alcohol are often highly taxed by the state, depending on where you live. Simply cutting back from a pack a week to a pack every two weeks can help you save hundreds of dollars in the first year.
SmokeFree.gov will calculate how much money you could save by quitting cigarettes based on how much you pay per pack.
10) Lawn Care and Home Services
Instead of hiring a yard maintenance service or regular house cleaner, try doing it yourself. You can find tons of DIY lawn and home tips right here, on our blog.
You can also plant low-maintenance plants that don’t require regular upkeep. If you live in a rainy or temperate climate and water your grass regularly, stop—this will greatly reduce your water bills.
11) Cut Out Expensive Beauty Regimes
You can save money on regular haircuts by getting your hair done at a beauty school where the haircuts are cheaper but still high quality. Take a look at past spending to find out how much you spend on beauty products and see if you can reduce this by budgeting a monthly allowance for products.
Using a sponge or loofah in the shower will reduce the amount of shower gel you use at a time, which will help reduce the amount you spend on shower products.
12) Turn the Heat Down or Off at Night
Heating and energy bills are the silent killers of our savings. Reduce yours by turning down the heat when you turn off your lights at night.
If you live in a particularly cold part of the country, give yourself incentive by investing in a few warm blankets—you’ll save money in the long run. Some thermostats have a timer which you can set so that it automatically turns on and off at certain times of the day.