If you’ve got yourself a cash crunch, it’s time to assess your spending habits. However, that doesn’t have to mean saying sayonara to the things that make you happy. Small changes can help you keep your money safe and sound where it belongs (your bank account) without sacrificing things that make life more enjoyable. Some of these ways to save money will keep your budget in check, as well as ensure you have infusions of fun in life.
Ways to Save Money on Binge-Watching TV
Nobody is going to judge too much you if your proprietary pastime is watching Netflix all day long with the curtains drawn. But considering that a cable subscription with all the little extras that make it worthwhile can easily top $100 or more a month, your television tendencies add up quickly.
If you really want to have your favorite shows and movies available, checking out alternative avenues for watching can be a good way to save money.
Consider ditching cable and satellite and get yourself a streaming media device. For example, these affordable devices range in price from about $30 to $100. But that’s a one-time cost that gives you access to thousands of movies shows.
If you decide to keep your Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription, you’re looking at less than $30 per month if you choose both. You’ll have access to everything from American Horror Story to The West Wing, with plenty of binge-worthy options in between.
Ways to Save on Drinking Fancy Coffee
The morning caffeine run might only set you back $2. But over the course of a year, your tall, dark, and delicious daily habit is going to take more than $600 out of your account – and that’s just for plain black coffee. One of the ways to save money on your daily grind is to look at other options to get your needed energy boost.
NBC News notes that Starbucks’ prices are on the rise. If you prefer handcrafted drinks – frappuccino, mocha, etc. – then your morning pick-me-up could hit the $1,500 mark annually (based on $5/day at six days per week).
Instead, give yourself an artisan experience by brewing your own coffee at home. Sure, it might mean walking out the door five minutes later or getting up five minutes earlier. But you’re going to spend that time (or more) waiting in line anyway.
According to Roasty, a pour-over coffee maker allows you to control the coffee-making process. One of these devices should set you back no more than $25 or $30. And purchasing coffee at the grocery store can give you several weeks of supply for the same cost of a one-time boost.
Ways to Save on Shopping Until You Drop
If you like to shop, you have a decision to make each time you pull up to the mall. The average woman spends nearly $125,000 on clothes throughout her lifetime (Yikes!). That cost can range between $150 and $400 per month, claims Lauren Bowling of Financial Best Life. That’s nearly the average car payment for some people who love places like Target.
Instead of heading to the stores blindly, do your research and know how to find the best deals. There are plenty of websites that can point you in the right direction for ways to save money on clothes shopping.
Make your shopping sprees a game to see how much you can save by getting to know the “secret” shopping hacks at Kohl’s and other major department stores. Also consider shopping at stores like Ross and TJ Maxx, which often have great deals on good products.
Keep in mind that this only works on things you have to buy anyway – you will not save money shopping just for the sake of getting new things and satisfying your impulses!
Ways to Save Money on Other “Insteads”
- Buy a season pass to your favorite theme park before the season instead of waiting to buy daily admission – if you go more than once in a year, this is your best bet.
- Instead of buying all new furniture when something starts looking shabby, get it cleaned or reupholstered. You can even shop around for the best price with reputable furniture upholsterers near you.
- Dine out on nights that kids eat free instead of waiting until the weekend.
- Swap childcare with friends or family members instead of paying a sitter.
- Visit the theater before the evening hours to take advantage of matinee prices instead of waiting until after dinner when ticket prices are higher.
The money you save now can help you enjoy life later on. You don’t have to give up today’s happiness to enjoy financial freedom tomorrow.
A few small changes — it could be something as simple as downloading a coupon before you shop or ditching cable in lieu of on-demand entertainment — can make a huge difference when it’s time to balance the books.
What are your favorite ways to save money? Sound off in the comments section below!
Guest post from Brittany Fisher of Financially Well.