Ignorance may be bliss in some areas of life, but your money is not one of them. You need to know where your money goes, and then develop a strong will and determination to take control of it.
Today I want to show you ten simple changes the typical reader can make to recover more than $500 in this month, as well as every month in the future.
CUT OUT NEEDLESS TRIPS. It's the short, spontaneous, unplanned trips to run errands that suck the gas tank dry. Cutting out five needless trips a week will reduce your gasoline consumption by five gallons per week ($15) and add up to monthly savings of $60.
DOWNGRADE TO BASIC. Have you noticed your premium cable package creeping toward $100 a month? If you're not there now, you will be in time. Change your cable package from premium to basic and expect a net per month savings of $60. D.I.Y. LATTES. Instead of handing over $3 every work day for a fancy coffee drink, make your own at home or at your desk. After paying $7 twice a month for a pound of coffee and $3 for a gallon of milk, you'll come to a realization of a net savings of $40.
CANCEL THE GYM. Why pay $45 a month to work out when you can get the best workout of all for free! Just grab your walking shoes and get going. Or borrow workout videos from the library and workout at home. Net monthly savings: $45.
EAT THE SALES. As you shop for groceries, stop putting anything in your grocery cart that is not on sale. Got it? Great, because that will net at least $50 savings each month.
SWITCH TO TAP WATER. Stop spending $1 a day for 1.5 liter bottle of water. Drink it free from the tap. Monthly savings: $30.
REPLACE DESSERT. Notice I did not save give up dessert, simply replace a $5 restaurant dessert with a $.75 candy bar. But go easy. Once a week is more than enough and will save you $17 in a month.
TRADE DINNER FOR BREAKFAST. Dinner for two in a typical restaurant now costs about $40. Breakfast for two: $15. Make this switch twice a month and save $50. TRACK YOUR SPENDING. By simply writing down how you spend your money, experts say you will recover the 10 percent of your net income that disappears through impulsive purchases. Net savings each month: $200.
GIVE IT UP. Vow to give up one vice. Come on, even if it's a challenge seeing how much you save by not smoking, not drinking a 6-pack of beer every weekend or not getting your nails done every week. Maybe you can try mowing your own lawn or washing the car. Whatever it is, determine to give up one thing and you will net at least $25.
There you have it, 10 simple changes that will net you more than $500 each month! You could use the money, right? Well then, what are you waiting for? Remember, it's the money you don't spend every month that ultimately will give you the freedom to live the life you love! That's the subject of my new book, "Live Your Life for Half the Price," available wherever books are sold. Get it!
Would you like more information? Log on to EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.