Let’s assume that you are already having money for your tax-assisted savings plan (like a 401(k)) deducted from your paycheck. What else can you do to increase your savings?
Here are five ways to save that have an immediate and appreciable pay-off in dollars, and will simplify your life as well. You probably won’t be able to implement them all, but see if you can work at least a couple into your routines.
Challenge yourself to find a way to make at least some of our suggestions work for you!
1. Brown bag it to work. Be sure to include snack foods like muffins, fruit and cookies for morning and afternoon breaks as well as a lunch. If you also drink the office brew or bring a thermos of coffee, you can save $10 to $15 a day. If there’s no lunchroom at work, eat and read the paper at your desk or take your lunch to the park. You’ll be healthier as well as richer.
2. Take public transit or car pool instead of driving to work. Depending on where you live and how far you commute, you’ll save money on gas, parking, insurance and wear-and-tear on your car. And cutting out the daily drive to work and back will cause less stress on the environment – and you.
3. Go out for dinner just once a month and eliminate take-out foods from your menu. Cook roasts, casseroles and stews that will last a couple of evenings, and keep some frozen dinners, canned soups and pasta sauce on hand for evenings when you are tired and short of time. Cutting back on eating out and ordering in can save you as much as $200 per month.
4. Get rid of your cell phone, or switch to a pay-as-you-go plan and use the phone only when absolutely necessary. By eliminating or severely restricting your use of your cell phone, you can save about $35 a month, depending on your current plan and use patterns.
5. Cancel subscriptions to magazines you don’t read and cable or satellite TV services you don’t watch regularly. Cutting back to the magazines and channels that are essential to you can save you $100 or more per year. You can save even more by cutting your newspaper subscription back to weekends only and getting your news at work, on TV or online during the week. You’ll have less paper to recycle, too.
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