Here are five specific ways to save money each month. Below we provide a few suggestions on ways that the average U.S. household could save more money each month. Once you have determined a few realistic ways (which these are) to decrease your spending each month, you should set a savings goal. This step is essential to building your personal wealth.
We hope that you will review each one carefully and honestly, as it could mean the difference between no retirement and a nice one.
The numbers below are estimates of the monthly savings that the average U.S. Household could save by implementing some of the suggestions below. So, if you make more than the average U.S. household, you could actually be saving MORE than the estimates below. If you make less than the average U.S. household in income, your savings may be less. The average U.S. Household income for 2006 was $48,201.
So, here are the 5 ways to increase your savings each month:
1). Eat out one less time each month (estimated savings: $35/month).
According to a 2005 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average U.S. Household spends 5.5% of its money on eating out at restaurants (not groceries). Since the average U.S. household income is $48,201 (before taxes), we estimate that the average household spends nearly $176 each month on eating out! Since everything spent on eating out is discretionary (meaning it's not necessary spending), this could potentially be a huge area for savings!
We don't expect you to never eat out again; however, if you were able to save $176 a month, that's $615,114 in 30 years! We encourage you to be ambitious in this area; however, if you can start with just one less outing each month...that's an extra $35 a month (on average).
2). Bring your lunch to work or school (estimated savings: $20 per month).
It's difficult to determine how much the average U.S. household spends each month on lunches at school or work. However, if you do eat out for lunch during the week, consider the possibilities for savings. At $5 per lunch, that's $25 per week, or $100 per month. If you have children going to school and pay for their lunch, consider making them a homemade lunch. This could certainly be as much as $5 - $10 per week in savings or $20 - $40 each month!
Only you will be able to determine how much you can save in your particular situation. Using the numbers listed above, we estimate that the average household will be able to save between $20 - $140 each month by being more frugal during lunch time.
3). Create a shopping list and stick to it when you get groceries, and use coupons (estimated savings: $40 per month).
According to the same U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study mentioned above, it is estimated that the average U.S. household spends 7.5% of their after tax money on groceries. Now of course food IS a necessity of life. However, there are ways to be more frugal without missing a meal. By simply being more conscious of what you are spending at the grocery store, you may be able to save a decent amount. The age-old "shopping list" is still a great suggestion. By sticking to your list, you will have less "impulsive" buys and will be able to shop around for deals on the items that you need.
In addition, USE COUPONS...it's free money! In fact, if you have a Wal-Mart nearby, you can price match any competitor's coupons. For example, if Albertsons is selling milk for $1.99, simply, go to Wal-Mart, pick up the milk, and tell the cashier to "price match" for $1.99...and that's it. This is one of Wal-Mart's business strategies, so they encourage you to do this.
Whether or not you use Wal-Mart isn't the point. Find a way to save on your groceries; plan before you go, stick to your list, and use coupons. The average household that was not doing this already should be able to save about $40 per month by implementing these strategies.
4). Use generic brands.
There is no explanation needed here; just do it! Nobody will know if you bought the cheap Wal-Mart milk or the fancy brand! It all comes from the same cow, anyway. Think of areas to go generic and you will be surprised how much you could save.
5). Lower your utility bills (estimated savings: $20 per month).
Ask your local utility company how you can lower your energy bills. They will have lots of suggestions such as weatherproofing your home and using window coverings. In addition, for every one degree you turn down your heat, you will save about 3% on your heating bill each month. (Also, consider using less A/C during the summer months). You can also turn down the temperature on your water heater to 115-120 degrees without any noticeable difference. This will save money as your water heater will use less energy. For the conscious utility user, these steps could easily translate into savings of $20 per month.
-- Don't buy on impulse. If you see something you want, shop around, look online, or wait until it's on sale.
-- Lower your phone bill. You can switch carriers, use less text-messaging or other phone features.
-- Use your debit card instead of your credit card.
-- Monitor your checking account so you don't bounce checks or pay extra fees.
-- Use only the ATMs of your bank or credit union.
There are literally hundreds of other ways to save money. These five simple ways could save you an extra $115 per month. And that is not even scratching the surface!
Spencer has a BA in Finance, an MBA, and is currently a commercial banker advising business owners on business and personal financial issues. Take the 30 day Financial Challenge at Keyblast.com. This article is a small portion of the 30-day financial challenge. To access lots of free information, tools, and to see what the challenge is all about, visit Keyblast.com.© 2007 Spencer Ray
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