What’s your number one goal in life? Is it to retire early? Maybe it’s to take three months off and tour Europe. Or maybe you’d like to buy a house and wave goodbye to your landlord. Whether one of these is your primary goal or it’s something entirely different there is one thing for sure. You need to be saving money to achieve it. And, of course, the more money you can save the faster you will see that dream become a reality. And, believe it or not, you can save money on everything you buy. In fact, if you put your mind and your efforts toward it you should be able to cut your spending by at least 20%.
Save money on groceries
This is an area where you could achieve some really big savings. First, if you’re not already doing this draw up a menu for the entire week and then make your grocery list based on it. In fact, you should never go grocery shopping without a list. It’s the only way to stay on track and buy just the things you need and not those “little extras” that look so appetizing.
Next go online and start looking for money saving coupons. We’d be shocked if you don’t find coupons that would save you money on every item on your grocery list. We’ve seen examples of where one smart woman was able to buy more than $100 worth of groceries for less than $10 – just by using coupons.
Save money on clothes
This one may not appeal to you but you can save a bundle by buying a lot of your clothes used. If you wouldn’t be caught dead in a thrift store there are now many “up-scale” stores that specialize in slightly used high-end clothing. If you just can’t bring yourself to shop in one of these stores at least make sure you buy what you need when it’s on sale. There are always good bargains to be had when stores are clearing out merchandise at the end of a season. Our largest department store was recently advertising $35 shirts for less than $10 to make room for the new summer fashions.
Save money on entertainment
We have movie theaters near us that specialize in second-run films or those that had just finished a run in the regular theaters. If you have s theater like this near you and can be a bit patient, you could see films that cost $12 just a few weeks ago for $4 or less. If you can be really patient you could wait until those films are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime or On Demand for around $6.
How much are you spending on cable or satellite television? Here’s another area where it’s easy to save money. Go online and see what plans your provider offers, find a less expensive one and then contact your cable or satellite company and ask for the cheaper plan. If you’re feeling really gutsy you might be able to cut the cable entirely. Dish now offers a bundle of 20 popular channels for $19.95 a month called Sling TV and with no contract. You can probably get all of your local channels in HD free with just a small antenna. Combine the two and you’d have all your local channels and 20 of the most popular ones (including ESPN) for less than $20 a month. If you have kids you could add on a bundle of children’s Sling TV channels for just $5 more and there’s yet another $5 package for the sports fan.
Save money on utilities
Cutting the cost of your utilities is also fairly simple. If you don’t already have one, you should invest $50 and buy a programmable thermostat. It will probably pay for itself in just a few months and then continue saving you money for many years to come. You can also cut your electrical bill by switching to CFL bulbs and by making sure you turn off your electronic devices when you’re not using them. And when it comes to water you could make the supreme sacrifice and cut your shower time in half.
You’ve probably seen those commercials where one cell phone provider promises to cut your bill in half. Well, if you’re spending $100 or more a month you might want to give that company a try. If you’d rather not switch carriers at least contact your current provider to see if you couldn’t get on a cheaper plan.
Have you recently comparison-shopped your auto and (if applicable) your homeowners insurance? There’s good money to be saved in this area. Go online to sites such as Esurance and NetQuote, type in your coverages and you might find you can save a bundle by changing to a different insurer. You should also get out your Declarations and review them very carefully. This is where you will find your coverages and how much each costs. You might find you’re paying for coverages you don’t even really need. For example, if you have a car worth less than $2000 it doesn’t make much sense to pay for collision insurance because in the long run it would be cheaper to just replace it.
Save money on food
By this we don’t mean saving money on groceries, which we covered in an earlier paragraph. What we mean here is to save money on restaurant meals, take out and ordering in. Get out a pencil, a piece of paper, your checkbook and your credit card bills and make a list of all the money you spent on this food. If you find you’ve been spending several hundred dollars a month – which is very possible – make a resolution to cut this in half. Try taking lunches to work with you and fixing more of your meals at home. If you hate the idea of coming home at the end of a hard day and then have to fix dinner, just make one big pot of something on Sunday and then serve it several times throughout the week. Or if you don’t already have a crockpot, get one. Start your dinner in the morning when you’re feeling fresh and it will be there waiting for you hot and yummy when you get home tired.
Save money on transportation
If you have a relatively long commute try to find someone that either works for the same company or one close to where you work and that lives near you. Suggest that the two of you rideshare. This could cut your gas casts by 50%. Plus, it would reduce wear and tear on your car and you might even be able to save money on your auto insurance. An even better idea is to create a carpool with four or five people as this would cut your costs even more dramtically. Here, courtesy of National Debt Relief is a brief video showing how to create a carpool.
If you can’t find anyone with whom to rideshare or carpool check out public transportation in your area. A half hour bus ride can actually be a relaxing way to start your workday.
First, create an emergency fund
What should you do with all that money you’re now saving? If you don’t already have an emergency fund this is where all those savings should go initially. Most experts say that you should have the equivalent of six months of your living expenses tucked away. If that seems too daunting try to save the equivalent of at least three months worth. Whichever you choose, an emergency fund just makes good sense as it’s a way to protect yourself from those un foreseen financial problems of life such as a serious illness, an automobile accident or if you were to lose your job.