What would it mean to your financial picture to have an extra $100 each month in your bank account? You could pay down your high interest credit cards, start a savings account or begin investing. If you saved just $100 per month, that’s an extra $1200 each year. It’s like giving yourself a $1200 raise, without having to negotiate with your boss!
Here are three simple ways that you can start saving $100 or more per month. What are you going to spend all that extra cash on?
1. Brown Bag it!
If you work outside the home, you’ve got a major money drain in the form of your daily lunch. Eating out everyday, even if you try to go the “cheap” route, adds up quickly. For example, if you go to a fast food joint and pay $6 for a value meal, you’re spending $30 per week minimum. Over the course of a month, you’ve thrown away $120 on food that isn’t good for you to begin with. The costs are even higher if you go to a real restaurant for lunch. You could be looking at a savings of $300 or more.
Plan your meals ahead of time and bring your lunch with you to work. You can make extra servings when you prepare dinner the night before, and then you can take the leftovers to work the next day. This way you won’t have to take any extra time to prepare your lunch, and you won’t get tired of eating the same type of lunch each day.
The same goes for coffee or soft drinks. Paying $4 for a latte when a whole gallon of milk only costs $3.50 doesn’t make any sense at all. Bypass the trendy coffee shops and make your own fancy brews at home. If you are used to paying $4 a day on a drink, you’ll save $120 each month by making your own. The same goes for soft drinks. A six pack of most drinks costs $4 at most, or .60 per can. When you purchase a soft drink from a vending machine or restaurant, you’re spending almost twice as much if not more. Bring your own drinks and you’ll save.
2. Read the Fine Print
Do you know exactly how much you are being charged to use your bank’s debit card? How long has it been since you read your phone bill in detail? There are a lot of hidden charges that may drive up the cost of your monthly necessities. Pull out your cellphone bill or bank statement and see if there is anyway to reduce your charges.
Do the same with your credit card companies. Get on the phone and haggle with them if you need to. Many credit card companies will reduce your interest rate if you’ve been a customer with them for a long time. It never hurts to ask, and you may be able to save $100 or more in interest payments.
3. Share a Ride
It’s no secret that gas prices are higher than they’ve ever been, and things don’t look like they’ll be getting better any time soon. If it’s possible, try to arrange a carpool with some of your coworkers who live close by. Take turns riding to work together and you’ll all save on gas costs and car maintenance. For example, if you normally spend $30 per week on gas, you’ll eliminate $90 from your gas budget if you share a carpool with three friends and each of you drives for one week per month.