5 Easy Ways to Save Some $ in 2015
Want 5 easy ways to save some $ in 2015? Cut back on these 5 expenses, as detailed at USN&WR: http://tinyurl.com/l5qhbmw
5 Everyday Expenses Worth Eliminating in 2015
It's time to cut your cable cord.
Still paying for monthly cable? Leave your TV by the roadside, and switch to online streaming services for a much lower price.
By Tony Armstrong
Dec. 8, 2014
8:45 a.m. EST+ More
From buying coffee on the way to the office to paying for hundreds of unwatched television channels, it’s not hard to throw money out the window. As insignificant as these purchases may seem, taken together, they put a huge dent in your wallet.
Fortunately, getting into better financial shape doesn’t always require life-altering sacrifices. As you’re beginning to brainstormpossible New Year’s resolutions, consider adding some of these money-saving techniques to your list.
1. Forgo that cup of joe.
More than half of Americans over age 18 drink at least one cup of coffee a day. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your daily dose of caffeine in the morning, buying coffee on your way to work is a wallet-emptying habit. Though the convenience is undeniable, the accumulated annual cost can be staggering.
“I was shocked to find that my $4.30 daily latte was costing me over $1,200 a year,” says Ashley Feinstein, a certified money coach based in New York. “I decided to drink the free coffee at work and take a trip to Spain and England with my cousin.”
As well as putting your employer’s coffee machine to good use, consider buying ground coffee at the grocery store. Simply brewing your own java at home will eliminate one of today’s most expensive habits.
2. Cut down on transportation costs.
Speaking of things you purchase on the way to work, it may do your bank account some good to reconsider your daily commute altogether.
“If you have the opportunity to share a ride to and from work with someone else, consider carpooling,” says Erin Ellis, financial educator at Philadelphia Federal Credit Union. “It significantly reduces wear and tear on your car and gas expenses. Another option is to evaluate the cost savings of taking public transportation versus driving your own car.”
In addition to draining your finances, long commutes also make you unhappy. Robert Putnam, a public policy professor at Harvard University, asserts that every 10 minutes a person spends commuting results in 10 percent fewer social connections, which intensifies feelings of loneliness and despair. On the other hand, chatting with someone while stuck in traffic can help make your trip to the office a little easier on your mood.
3. Pack your lunch.
After brewing your own coffee and carpooling to work, you’ve made it to the middle of the day without doing too much damage to your wallet. And then you suddenly realize you didn’t pack a sandwich. Like two-thirds of Americans, you’ll have to buy your lunch, which, over the course of a year, will cost you about $2,000, according to a 2012 survey by Accounting Principals, a finance and accounting staffing firm. Keeping your kitchen fully stocked with fresh groceries will decrease the temptation to eat out during the week.
“It's always helpful to plan out your meals in advance,” Ellis says. “Have a shopping list prepared before you go to the store. That way, you know exactly what items you need and can estimate how much your total bill will cost.”
4. Cut the cord on your cable provider.
The average monthly price of expanded basic cable services increased by 5 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Perhaps not incidentally, Experian reports the number of people who no longer subscribe to cable or satellite TV has increased by 44 percent, or 7.6 million households, over the past four years.
“In the age of Hulu, Netflix and free streaming TV, there's no reason to pay an exorbitant amount per month on cable television,” Ellis says.
As you deliberate the pros and cons of cutting the cord on your cable provider, think about the hundreds of channels you’re currently paying for. Chances are you’ll count the stations you watch on one hand. What’s more, the shows on those channels are probably available online.
5. Ditch your pricey gym membership.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising and cutting back on unhealthy habits like smoking can help you avoid costly medical bills. Still, forking over hundreds of dollars each year on a gym membership may not be necessary to keep your gut in check. Much like the television channels you actually watch, you might find that you don’t use much of the equipment your gym offers. Consider running around your block, or going to the local recreation center to burn some calories.
The Bottom Line
Your spending habits won’t change overnight. Weaning yourself off that daily iced mocha will require discipline and self-control, and you may have to do some planning beforehand.
“I recommend people keep a money or spending journal where they write down everything they spend for a few weeks,” Feinstein says. “It can be painful to look your spending face to face, but it's great for finding the small expenses that add up to make a dent.”
Though the New Year is still a few weeks away, getting started on some of these money-saving habits now can set the tone for a financially successful 2015.