The most common resolutions for the New Year are to eat healthier, get more exercise and to save more money. Each of these resolutions can be tackled by making small changes in your life. For instance, the simple act of drinking more water can help you eat healthier. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work helps you get more exercise.
I’ll let the nutritionists and fitness gurus talk more in-depth about those resolutions. I’m here to tell you that the same is true for saving money. Small adjustments can add up to big savings.
Let’s dig deeper into the ways those small adjustments can impact your bank account in a positive way. And when I say positive, how about $8,000 positive. Think I’m kidding? Check out these six quick adjustments that can save you big:
1. Skip the Coffee Shops: Get yourself some nice travel mugs (maybe you even got some for the holidays) and put them to good use. With the average cup of coffee costing around $4, that could add up pretty quickly. MONEY SAVED: $1,000 per year, based on $4 per cup x 5 days x 50 weeks.
2. Brown Bag It: No, you don’t have to brown bag your lunch every single day, but only three days of brown bagging your lunch can save you a ton. MONEY SAVED: $1,500 per year, based on $10 per lunch x 3 days x 50 weeks.
3. Use Coupons: Of course I have to add this one in – I’m the Queen of Coupons! But, you don’t need to be a wiz at couponing to save a few dollars on the things you need. If you are heading to a restaurant, do a quick internet search for a coupon. After you make your grocery shopping list, check for coupons for items on your list. Tip: Head over to LivingRichWithCoupons.com for a huge database of coupons.
MONEY SAVED: It varies, but from my experience, you can easily save around $25 each week with little effort. That comes to about $1,300 per year.
4. Make Dinner Simple: Picking up take-out dinner on the way home from work or the kid’s activities adds up. Having easy, go-to recipes, makes getting dinner on the table so much easier. Keep a notebook of recipes on hand for those busy days. The recipes in the notebook should fit into the following criteria
a. Recipe uses common ingredients you always have on hand;
b. It does not require a ton of time to prepare and cook;
c. Everyone in your family loves it.
MONEY SAVED: $3,000 per year, based on a $30 take-out family dinner x 2 x 52 weeks.
5. Slash Your Household Expenses: Check your household expenses such as insurance, cable and utilities to get better pricing. You can research better offers from other providers, cut back on the services you are currently paying for, or even negotiate better pricing from your current plans. Discounts are always available; you just have to ask. MONEY SAVED: Average savings of $500 per year.
6. Compare Prices: Before you head to checkout, both online and in-store, see if there is a better price. If you are shopping online, it’s easy to do a quick internet search for the item you are buying. If you are in-store, you can do that same internet search right on your phone. Put that smart phone to work! I recently saved over $55 while shopping at two different stores, in the same week, by finding lower prices online for the same store I was shopping at. The stores honored their online prices right at the register. I was pretty happy with $55 in my pocket instead of at the store. MONEY SAVED: Average $1,300 based on a savings of $25/week x 52 weeks.
As you can see, these simple changes are just the start of some big savings for you and your family. Once you start seeing how much you can save, you’ll find even more ways to cut expenses without feeling like you’re being a scrooge.
And who knows, maybe you can use some of your savings to pay for a gym membership so you can check off another New Year’s resolution.