What if there were ways to trim weekly expenses that were easy to do and didn’t make you feel like you were being punished for spending?
Think of what could be done with the money: Save for a dream, pay down debt, put it away for a rainy day or, perhaps, splurge on a treat.
The typical American saved 3.8% of his or her monthly disposable income in March 2012, the most recent data available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. . Disposable income is the money left after taxes.
Don’t panic if you failed to hit that percentage in savings. You can save more each week by adopting some of the ideas on this list to save money. All of these suggestions, listed in no particular order, are easy to start and stick to.
1. Eat in and brown-bag it: Sure, it’s easier to pull into a drive-through and pick up fast food for lunch or dinner. Those quick stops add up to big bucks if you’re not careful. Try cooking meals at home and taking lunch to work at least a couple days of the week. Don’t have time to cook during the week? Plan out menus for the week, cook everything at once and freeze the now ready-made dinners for use the rest of the week.
2. When grocery shopping, take a list: You’ll be less likely to buy things you don’t need. You’ll need that list to ensure you have all the ingredients to make the dinners you’ve planned for the week.
3. Join a DVD club: Like watching the latest DVDs? Instead of buying the discs, rent them from Redbox, Netflix and other clubs for much less money than the cost of the new DVD.
4. Cut that land line cord: Assess the use of the home phone line to see if you really need it. If your Internet access comes through cable and most people call you on your cell phone, you could drop the land line and save money. If you need to keep the line, there are other ways to trim its cost per month including getting rid of long distance calling, call waiting and call forwarding. Those services add up on the phone bill.
5. Comparison shop: Before making purchases, check prices. You don’t even have to drive around to stores to look at competing prices. A host of smartphone applications will let you scan a bar code and then search for the best price — both in stores and online.
6. Become your own barista: Those coffee drinks are tasty, but will drain a wallet if bought on a regular basis. To avoid getting burned, brew coffee at home and take it with you in the mornings.
7. Avoid the ATM fees: Save cash by only using your bank’s ATMs instead of ponying upward of $4 a transaction for using another bank’s machine.
8. Bring back the piggy bank: Use a bank, a jar or another container to put your change in after the day. You’ll be surprised how quickly it can add up. Try adding one dollar bills to it too.
9. Put yourself on a budget: Make a list of everything you buy to see how much you spend each week. Trim what expenses you can and try to stick to the budget. To make it easier, leave the credit and debit cards at home and take out of the bank account only the amount of money you have budgeted to spend. When you’re out of money for the week, you are done spending.
10. Use coupons: Mobile coupons, store reward discounts and more add up to savings when shopping.
Do you have a favorite way to save money each week? Share it.
Photo Credit: jmoneyyyyyyy