Could you spare just $25 every week? Think about last week’s purchases; chances are good you could find a little wiggle room somewhere in your spending. Starting with this small amount equates to $100 per month or $1,200 per year! While these figures can seem a little daunting at first, saving $100 is about to get a whole easier. Here are some small, painless ways to cut back on spending and ramp up your saving.
Check out your local thrift store for back to school shopping
Even if you didn't head back to the classroom this fall, chances are good you’re still looking to update your wardrobe. While picking up new threads from the mall is convenient, it’s also one of the more spendy ways to shop. This season, consider checking out your local Goodwill or thrift shop. If you’re willing to comb through the racks, you’re likely to find the same styles for less than half of the cost. But be prepared; thrift store shopping often requires more patience and there’s typically only one of every item. One tip to consider before you embark – inspect your items closely before buying. Thrift stores often do not accept returns so make sure there aren't any holes, rips or stains on your items. Don’t get discouraged if you’re unsuccessful after your first go-around! Thrift store inventory rotates quickly so keep checking back to see what’s new.
Consider dropping your home line
If you have a cell phone, cancelling your home phone service is a quick and easy way to save at least $20 a month. (Plus you’ll just have one number to memorize!) Think about looking to the internet for those long distance or international calls. Many websites offer this type of calling capability at a significantly lower rate than a traditional home phone provider. Check out services like magicJack or Skype for details.
Break out your kitchen equipment - save up to $60
Dining out is great. It’s fast, fun and tasty. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more spendy ways to feed yourself. According to MSN Money, since mid-2009, consumers have been spending more and more on their paychecks – now almost 4.5% - on dining out. While a restaurant dinner entree can cost about $12, after a beverage, tip and gas to get to the restaurant, you’ll usually end up paying much more. Cutting out just one weekly restaurant visit would save you $60 a month! Keep things interesting. Get creative with your menu and try replicating favorite restaurant meals. Food Network’s “Copy That!” offers nearly exact copies of popular restaurant creations. Try making P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps or Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion from your own kitchen.
Buy seasonal produce – save up to $50
Take some time and research when local fruits and veggies are in season. Buying produce out of season is substantially more expensive than purchasing some locally grown, fresh produce that’s available in the grocery store. Also what's available during off-season months has likely been flown in from another state or south of the equator. As a result, it’s going to cost more than a local, in-season variety. Plus seasonal varieties are more nutritious and typically taste better. Visit whole9life.com or the USDA’s webpage to find out what’s in season now.
Skip the theater – save up to $30
Unwinding with a movie is a good way to relax. Next time you feel like watching a film, consider renting a movie instead of heading to the theater. At $10 a ticket plus popcorn, you’ll end up saving almost $30! (Fun tip: check out IMDb’s Top 25 list. How many have you seen?)
Use less water – save up to $25
Cutting back on household water usage is one of the least disruptive ways to save money on monthly expenses. Consider installing a faucet aerator. These handy devices will reduce the water usage, without reducing the water pressure. They’re relatively easy to install and available at most home department stores.
Running household appliances is also a great way to reduce water usage. Try doing laundry once a week and running the dishwasher only when it’s full. Have you been watering your lawn this summer? Turning on those sprinklers early in the morning will require a lot less water. The best time is between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.
We can help!
Take a look at your monthly bank account statement. Are you paying a debit card or bill pay bill? If so, consider Washington Federal’s checking account options. All of our accounts come with a free debit card, direct deposit, online banking with free bill pay, mobile banking, eStatements, and access to snap! our personal financial money management tool. We’d love to help find an account that’s right for you. Contact your local branch today.