Anyone who knows me well, knows that there are many things that drive me crazy. However, one of my top ten pet peeves is the comment, “It’s only a dollar.” That statement devalues your money. It makes it easier to spend more and save less. I want to show you how those dollars can add up. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I have made Disney affordable for my family. Our average trip costs $3000 for a fun filled week in Disney World. I’m going help you find $3000 or more in your current budget so that you can do the same. When you can see how all of those little things really become big things, you can get a handle on really making your money work for you. There are many more ways and I encourage you to get creative, but these were the first ones that popped into my head and they are also pretty painless.
1. Add 2 weeks between every haircut. If you and your daughter are currently getting haircuts every 8 weeks, stretch that to every 10 weeks instead. Annual savings: $60
2. Eat out half as much. The average family eats at a sit down restaurant once a week. Maybe it’s your Saturday night routine or just a well deserved weekly break, but it’s costing you A LOT. Challenge yourself to once every other week instead. Annual savings: $840 **Bonus: Order water rather than a Coke and save another $144 a year!
3. Make your morning coffee at home. If you and your significant other are stopping at a drive thru every work day for coffee, you could be saving a ton by making a cup at home. Just cutting down to one trip a week from 5 days a week could pay for almost 1/3 of your trip. Annual savings: $860
4. Use a rewards credit card for your expenses rather than using a debit card. Earn 2-5% cash back on gas, groceries, cable, cellphone, heating oil, and electric bills. Compare current offers at www.creditcards.com. Annual savings: $400+
5. Don’t upgrade your cellphones. Keeping your cellphones once they are paid for and no longer carrying the insurance on them will really add up. Annual savings: $420 for each phone **Bonus: Re-evaluate your plan to see if you are using all of the data you are paying for. You may be able to step down a tier and save more.
6. Compare car and homeowner’s insurance. Rates are always changing. Your policies that were once competitive may now be higher than other companies. I’m not going to give you a specific timeframe and tell you how much you can save, but it can be significant and not that time consuming. Also decide whether you need the towing coverage. The price of AAA may be less expensive than having that coverage on each vehicle on your policy. Annual savings: $100+
It’s all about making trade offs. I just recently pulled the plug on my home phone. I had enough of the monthly bill and all of the telemarketing calls. Anyone who knows me, knows how to reach me. That was really a no-brainer, but I had held onto it for so long because I told myself I needed it. I’m sure if you take a good look at where those extra dollars are going every month, you can find a lot of areas that aren’t necessary either. Once you get into a new routine you will hardly even notice that they have been eliminated. You may decide to book a family vacation or pay off some debt, but whatever you decide it’s your money!