Unless you’re making more money than you know what to do with, there’s always the feeling that spending could be curtailed. Whether you’re still able to save money or are seeing your monthly income leave your account to the exact cent each month after your bills and lifestyle are paid for, ways always exist to regulate spending and feel empowered by your choices.
Consider these four ideas that could save you hundreds month over month.
Stop Driving a Car
Yes, having your own car and the freedom to go anywhere when you want is a part of the American Dream. It’s also a money sink. Gas, maintenance, and insurance all add up. If you’re driving a used, older vehicle, even more so — as older cars tend to have problems more often, have worse fuel economy, and if you drive an older car that’s popular with car thieves, could even be more expensive to insure than a newer car.
So, what to do? If you live in a city, then public transit is a no-brainer. In many large cities, you can get an unlimited transit pass for around $100/month or pay for rides only when you need it and use a bicycle for your commuting needs. Bicycles also work great if you’re in a less populated area. Sure, it might take you more time to get around, but you’ll be getting exercise while saving money. What’s better than that?
You can get a used, quality road bike on Craigslist for very affordable prices ($40-100). Set filters for your price range and needed size, and you’ll be pedaling your way on a priceless commute in no time.
Cutting the Cord on Cable
Despite consumers across the country cutting their cords, cable costs keep rising, sitting at an average of around $100 per month, or 2.5 times what consumers were paying a decade ago. The primary driver here is sports programming, which is still hard to come by without cable. But if you don’t have to watch sports at home (you don’t), yet still want to consume digital media (you should, we’re in a golden age of content, after all), opt for a Netflix ($10.99/mo) or Hulu ($7.99/mo) package.
Cook on Sundays
What does your typical Sunday look like? Maybe brunch, reading a book on the porch, or enjoying a stroll through the park? Do you have time in your chill Sunday schedule to cook? What about preparing all your food for the week to relieve the stress that comes with daily decision making and paying premium prices to eat out? Meal prepping might seem daunting when you’re starting out, but you don’t need to overcomplicate it. Start with five meals you really enjoy, make a large quantity of each and pack them into individual meal containers. Or, if you want a more detailed plan to follow, check out this 21-day healthy meal prep plan for various calorie level needs.
Learn to Create a Realistic Budget
No matter what stage of life you’re in, the day you learn how to create a realistic budget is the day you start the road to financial prosperity. The problem is, most of us either never get to the point where we start a budget, or we do and don’t stick to it. It’s hard to adopt any habit when we aim too big at the start. Financial thought leader and CEO of the Freedom Financial Network Andrew Housser writes that 63 percent of Americans earned a grade D or lower on a quiz about everyday economics and finance. Housser suggests asking yourself what your goals are and developing a simple budget to help you reach them.
Implementing the above strategies into your life will save you hundreds each month. More importantly, though, you’ll become a healthier person, and feel more fulfilled by how you’re spending your money. Few things are such a win-win in life but understanding where your money goes each month and making changes as a result will improve your life.