At the beginning of a new year, wouldn’t you love to reach into your mailbox and pull out an envelope with a check for $3,000 made out to you? Of course you would, and you can save that much and more during the course of a year without sacrificing much. All you need to do is change a few habits. It’s not too late to start now and save a lot by the end of the year. Here’s how:
1. Eat in more. Pack your lunch every day, and you’ll save about $5 a day, $25 a week and $100 a month. Stay away from vending machines, which drastically mark up everything inside them. If you go out to dinner twice a week, do it once a week and save between $10 and $50 a week, depending on the size of your family. And make your own coffee and bottle your own water.Monthly savings: More than $200.
2. Embrace coupons. Clip them. You don’t have to spend 40 hours a week doing it. You can save at least $20 a month just clipping coupons from your Sunday paper. Then go online and look for coupon codes. They represent free money, so grab it. Monthly savings: $20 to $100.
3. Buy generics. A jar of generic pasta sauce usually is $1 less than name brands. Same goes for a large bag of potato chips or pretzels and a container of ice cream. When it comes to taste, generics have come a long way during the past decade, with many winning taste tests against their much pricier name-brand competitors. Monthly savings: $25 to $50. At least.
4. Pay your bills on time. Do it and never pay late fees again. Most credit card late fees are capped at $25 a month, but why give that to the credit card companies? Did you know Blockbuster earned about $500 million a year in late fees during its heyday? Monthly savings: $25.
5. Borrow. And be on the lookout for free stuff. Don’t buy books. Borrow them from friends and from libraries. And that goes for movies and CDs. Got an e-reader? There is a growing number of free e-books — many of them classics — that you can download. And don’t forget Craigslist’s free stuff category. Check it out, and you’ll never buy moving boxes again, and you’ll be amazed at what people are willing to give away. Everything from bicycles to pool tables and entertainment centers. Monthly savings: A lot.
Add it all up, and you can save at least $270 a month, or $3,240. Which could probably pay off that credit card bill you’re worrying about.
Photo Credit: MoneyBlogNewz