Saving money isn’t always easy. If it were, everyone would do it.
But what if it was easy? What if there were tons of small ways you could make a huge impact on your retirement, vacation, debt or mortgage each year?
We want you to see just how effortless saving a hundred big ones can be. And if you implement each of these ideas, you’ll easily save $1,000 or more!
1. Skip the soda machine.
Drink tap water instead of that $1.50 daily soda and you can save almost $100 in two months! You may even drop a jean size too. Not bad. (See #14 about bottled water.)
2. Brew your own coffee.
Your daily drive-thru coffee is probably costing you somewhere in the neighborhood of $65–120 each month. Grab some high-quality beans and a nice travel mug. Then, turn on the coffeepot and sip away the savings.
3. Switch grocery stores.
Instead of shopping at big-name grocers, try a discount chain like Aldi. By requiring customers to bag their own groceries and rent carts for a (refundable) quarter, you can save upwards of 50% off your tab, according to the company. Even if you only save $25 a week, you’ll still have a $100 extra bucks in your wallet at the month’s end!
4. Buy generic.
If you’d rather stick to your favorite stores, at least go generic—especially when it comes to paper towels, cleaners, pantry staples and certain medicines. According to Consumer Reports, buying generic over-the-counter drugs can save you up to 73% per purchase. Worth it.
5. Temporarily freeze your spending.
We spend a lot of extra money “here and there” on non-essentials. Instead of spending $100 on impulse buys, try a spending freeze. How? Don’t buy any non-essential items for a whole week, month, etc. Simply raid your pantry or fridge for meal ideas, avoid Target and Costco like the plague, and wait on any new releases. Not spending money is the best way to save it.
6. Change your office hours.
Over the next 15 years, traffic jams are projected to cost American households about $2,301 per year in gas, decreased productivity and related costs, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Save hundreds by changing your work schedule. If possible, go to work early or late so you’re off the road at peak times and not burning precious fuel or wasting precious time.
7. Cancel your subscriptions and memberships.
Chances are you’re paying for multiple yearly subscriptions—from $11 magazines to $99 Amazon Prime. Which of these have you not used in a few months? Cancel them. If you miss one, order it again. If not, you made the right choice and probably saved yourself a hundred bucks in the process.
8. Opt out of ad tracking.
It’s no secret that retailers track us online. That’s how they know to dangle those $180 boots we love on every page we visit. Limit how retailers gather info about you by visiting digitaladvertisingalliance.org and selecting “opt out” on your browser. (Use AppChoices for your mobile devices.) Less temptation means more saving!
9. Borrow appliances.
Need a handheld blender to make some squash soup? Borrow that rarely used appliance from a friend or neighbor instead of buying it. Just be sure to send some yummy leftovers as a thank-you.
10. (Barely) trim your budget.
This one’s super easy. Shave five bucks from every budget item before the month begins. That means your restaurant cash will be $45 instead of $50 and your clothing fund will be $25 instead of $30. It’s barely noticeable, but collectively adds up to $100—easy.
11. Turn down the air conditioning.
We all know this one, but how many of us actually do it? There’s no need to run the A/C if you’re out all day. And when you’re sleeping, open up the windows if that’s an option, and have a fan blowing on you to help reduce the need for running the A/C. You’d be surprised at how much you can save.
12. Replace two restaurant outings with your Crock-Pot.
Heading out to eat with your entire gang can cost close to three digits in a hurry. Replace two restaurant outings a month with your slow cooker. It’s convenient, requires little effort, and makes tons of food for way less.
13. Pack your lunch.
Eating out at lunchtime costs Americans roughly $36 per week, according to the Workonomix survey by Accounting Principals. Believe it or not, packing a lunch takes way less effort than calling your order in, driving there, waiting, paying, picking it up, and driving back. And you could save $144 in the process. That’s our idea of super-saving.
14. Ban bottled water.
Newsflash: Water is practically free. A few years ago, Consumer Reports revealed that bottled water had a 700% markup in some regions—that means 48 cents’ worth of tap water will cost you $346! Try drinking from the tap for a year and see if you survive.
15. Wear your specs.
Contact lenses can cost anywhere from $220–700 a year, according to consumer site All About Vision. If you’re trying to meet a financial goal, wear your not-so-pretty-but-perfectly-fine glasses for a few months instead. Hey, at least you’ll look smarter.
Before you start saving some Benjamins, decide where your extra money will go. This goal will keep you motivated when you want to hit up the coffee drive-thru or buy a sweater you’ll be sick of in a month. Then, save away. Because it’s too easy not to!