11 Ways To Save On Everyday Life

We all know that saving money is a wise and practical financial practice, but more often than not we fail to act on it with a sense of urgency. Saving money, however, can be as simple as knowing where you are going to eat, how you will get to work, and what you are going to do for the weekend. All it takes is a little discipline and some smart financial decision-making. Here are 11 ways you can save big by cutting back on your everyday expenses.

1. Pack a lunch for work

Most people take the time during their lunch hour to go out to eat with coworkers, or simply go to the nearest fast food or sandwich shop. While this may seem inexpensive, the amount you end up spending overtime turns out to be a lot. Packing a sandwich and a small bag of chips or a can of fruit for lunch can do wonders when it comes to saving money. If you like, you can even bring a microwavable frozen dish or a can of soup, just to add some occasional variety to your daily lunch. You will find it is just as satisfying as spending $5-15 on a skimpy restaurant meal everyday.

2. Make coffee at home

Starbucks is a multi-million dollar conglomerate that has thrived on the premise that people will pay $3-$6 on a daily cup of coffee, potentially multiple times a day. All they had to do was put a signature label on the packaging to provide the illusion of an exceedingly exceptional brand of coffee bean and suddenly you find yourself visiting the local shop everyday on your way to work. While you may enjoy the comfort of having a cup of coffee from a recognizable company, you can get the same quality coffee right at home before you even leave the house. Investing in a coffee maker and buying a weekly or bi-weekly bag of ground coffee (you can buy Starbucks and Caribou to make at home!), filters, cream/milk, and sugar gives you the potential to save big, so it’s definitely something to consider.

3. Plan your meals for the week

Planning out your evening meals for the week is another great way to save money. Designate specific meals for each night of the week; then go to the grocery store and purchase the items you will need accordingly. For example, if you designate Wednesday as Italian night, plan on making some spaghetti with garlic bread, or purchase a frozen lasagna to bake that evening. This will save you much more money than if you went out for meals every evening, especially if you have a family with multiple bellies to consider.

4. Only purchase the essentials

When you go to the grocery store for the week, it is important that you make a list and stick to it. Retail stores, whether they sell food, clothes, or electronics, are designed to trick you into buying things impulsively, like flashy new items or candy bars that are marked 2/$1. Having your meals planned out and a grocery list to stick to can help you avoid such ill-advised purchases, but you should also consider the shelf life of the items you purchase. For example, if you are planning to make a meal that includes beef on Thursday and it is only Monday, consider holding off purchasing the beef. You can freeze it, of course, but you get a much better quality meal if you purchase such ingredients the day-of. You should also buy items like soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and dishwashing or clothes detergent in bulk so that you don’t have to purchase these items every time you visit the store.

5. Take the bus/Ride a bike/Carpool

One of the easiest ways to save money is to stop driving everywhere. Sure, gas prices are the lowest they’ve been in years right now, and they are not expected to go up, but driving to get everywhere you need to go does add up in the long run. Taking the city bus to work or carpooling with your coworkers can do wonders to save you money on your daily or weekly expenses. If you live in the city, riding a bike is another great way get around without emptying your wallet.

6. Avoid shopping sprees

Just like buying groceries for the house, shopping for non-essential items should be kept to a minimum as much and as often as possible. In order to avoid spending excessive amounts of money, limit how often you go out for leisurely shopping, and when you do go shopping, try to shop efficiently. For example, instead of going to brand-name designers like Hollister or American Eagle, shop at discount or thrift stores, and purchase electronic items from Best Buy rather than going to the Apple store. The best way to save on shopping, however, is to simply stop shopping. Chances are you don’t really need most of the items you shop for, so refraining from buying them can do wonders for your bank account.

7. Stay at home more often

A lot of people prefer to go out in the evening or to a local coffee shop in order to find some time and a place to relax. This, however, puts you in a position to be tempted to spend money, when you could just as easily have stayed home, saved money, and been just as relaxed as you would have been otherwise. While it may be tempting to go to a local bar or restaurant to watch the weeknight sporting events, staying in can provide you the same comfortable atmosphere without forcing you to spend money on food and drinks, not to mention gas to get wherever you are going. That’s not to say you should never go out, just make sure you balance your nights out with your nights in.

8. Turn the lights off when you leave

Most people tend to leave the lights on in their house when they are not there. This is more understandable at night, but during the day or while you are sleeping or in another part of the house, turning the lights off can drastically help you save on your monthly electric bill. Be sure to turn the lights off in a room if you are not using it, and always turn the lights off when you go to bed. Turning off other electronics like the television, radio, or computer when you are not using them is also a good way to save.

9. Wrap your windows in the winter

Cold weather might not be a problem for everybody in the country, but for those in the northern most territories, keeping your house warm in the winter can turn into an expensive endeavor. When the weather outside gets really cold, double check that your doors and windows are sealed as well as possible, and consider wrapping your windows for the winter months. This helps your house utilize less energy in order to maintain a constant temperature, saving your tons of money on your gas bill at the end of each month.

10. Regular vehicle maintenance

Ensuring that your vehicle is properly maintained can save you a ton of money in the long run because it makes the chances of your having to pay for big, unexpected repairs much less. Oil changes are recommended for most vehicles every three months or 3,000-5,000 miles travelled. You should also make sure your tire pressure is kept between 30-35psi, especially in the cold, and have your transmission, battery, belts, air filter (for the engine), hoses, and other fluids like windshield wiper and power steering checked every three-six months.

11. Save on entertainment

Going out for an evening can turn into an expensive activity these days. You are liable to spend just as much money on one drink at a bar as you would a six-pack of the same beverage at your local liquor or grocery store, and movies showing after 6:00pm are upwards of $15 a person. When you are looking for something to do for the evening, consider staying in and renting a movie from either RedBox or streaming something on Netflix. If you have the premium cable channels, HBO and Showtime are also great for seeing newly released movies. Staying in to watch the sporting events instead of going to the game will also save you a lot of money. Tickets for such events can range from $50-$500 or more, and like the movies, concession items like beer or popcorn are astronomically overpriced. So do yourself a favor: stay in and invest in some snacks and beer from your local grocery store; your wallet will thank you for it.