Every week I try to find a new way to save $20. It may seem like an odd number, but for me its perfect. It is small enough not to be missed but big enough to make a difference (if you save $20 a week for a year it ends up being over $1k!)
Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite ways to stash away $20 (or more!).
1. Pack Lunch
I spend about an average of $7 if I eat out for lunch. I can buy all of the stuff I need to pack for the week for around $12. $7 x 5 days/week for lunch= $35 – $12 = $23 saved.
2. Cut the Cable
The average monthly cable bill in the US is $123 according to the NDP research group. Divide that by 4 weeks in a month average and we are talking over $30 a week is savings.
3. Cut the Coffee (or Tea, or Soda….)
O.k. I am sure you have heard that cutting out that Starbucks will save you money before, but it is such an easy way to cut costs I had to mention it again.
1 $3 Latte/day x 7 days = $21 per week
I never got into coffee, but I was a Redbull fanatic. I would drink 2 a day most days. At $2.50 a pop, I was saving $30+ a week when I kicked the habit!
Even if you don’t have an expensive drink addiction, take a look at other habits that add up.
Which leads me to #4…
4. Kick the Habit
If you smoke, stop. I am not the first person to tell you, nor will I be the last, but I have to mention it here.
I smoked a pack every other day before I quit.
$6.99 per pack x 3 packs a week = $20.97
I save $50/month on my health insurance as a non-smoker!
5. Cook Dinner
Dinner out for our little family of three usually runs around $50 with tip included.
I can grab a steak, baking potatoes, a few ears of corn on the cob and a watermelon for under $30 = $20 in my pocket!
There are hundreds of sites (including this one!) that offer great recipes for delicious meals that won’t break the bank. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a great cook, take the time to master a few easier recipes and you can save a lot of money and still eat great!
6. Get an Energy Audit
This is actually my favorite out of all the ideas in this post. It has saved me hundreds!
Check with your local energy company to see if they offer free energy audits. I have Duke Energy and they have an awesome program! Someone came out and did a full audit of my home energy usage. They brought a box of goodies including weatherstripping, high efficiency light bulbs, a water saving shower head and other good stuff.
After the audit, they offered suggestions on how to save energy, what rebates were available in my area from the federal, state and local governments and from the energy company itself, and showed me tax savings.
I didn’t take all of the company’s suggestions, but the ones I did have chopped about $100 off my average monthly bill.
$100/4 = $25/week.
If your energy company doesn’t offer free audits, you can DIY. Check out this post for more information: Use less, Spend less.
7. Get Cash Back
If you shop online, you might as well get paid for it. Websites like Ebates* and Swagbucks* allow you to get up to 25% cash back from hundreds of online stores. Plus you get money just for signing up.
I’ve gotten back over $100 from Ebates this year and about the same from Swagbucks.
8. Inflate, Inflate, Inflate!
Here is a quick and easy one for all of you car owners out there. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that gas mileage can be lowered by 0.4% for every 1 PSI (pound per square inch) drop in the pressure of all four tires? I did the calculations based on my commute here:
By just taking 5 minutes a month to check my gas pressure, I can save up to $125 a year! Not to mention less wear and tear on the tires and car itself. Find out more here Tire Pressure
9. Chop Those Rates
Best way to save money on credit cards? Not to have them If that is not a reasonable option, make sure you have the best rate possible. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call asking your card company to lower the rate. If that doesn’t work, look for a card with a low interest rate for balance transfers (come cards even offer 0%).
Try sites such as Comparecards.com to see what rates you qualify for. You can save $20 or more per month on just the minimum payment of a card with a $4000 balance by lowering your rate just 5%.
Then pay those cards off!
10. Check Your Insurance
Every year I do an annual insurance checkup. I look over everything: life insurance, car insurance, medical and homeowners. I make sure I have coverage that matches where I am at in my life. I often times find I can drop or add things to my coverage to bring it down.
If you have an actual insurance agent, make them your friend. Spend some time with them looking over your coverage-you might be surprised what you find. And if you are good to them they may let you know about discounts and rebates that most people aren’t aware of.
There are lots of online resources to help save you money and compare rates from different companies. The Zebra and Progressive Insurance are great places to compare auto rates, and Healthcare.com can get you rate comparisons for health insurance.
I cut my Homeowners insurance from $112/month to $69/month last year by making a phone call to a local agent. It took about an hour to go over everything with her, but the savings were worth it.