Recent data shows that Americans struggle to save money. We could blame the economy, the government, or the latest weather forecast but at the end of the day, savings come down to understanding your personal cash flow, and managing your budget properly.
Bad money management leads to the accumulation of debt. When you have no savings, and you have an emergency come up, the natural reaction is to use a credit card. This results in ever growing debt accounts, and shrinking or non existent saving accounts.
When I started making better financial decisions I knew I had to create a budget that would work for me and start saving as soon as possible. I set a goal of saving $ 1,000 as fast as humanly possible without reducing my lifestyle. The best way to save money is by taking money that you are spending on something and moving it to your savings account instead. I found a few ways to save enough money on recurring expenses to save $ 1,000 in just two months!
- Call your cellphone provider – My monthly cellphone bill was $ 180 per month. I had grown so used to paying that much for my service that it didn't seem like a lot. After multiple security questions and a few minutes of analyzing different options, I was able to lower my cellphone bill to $ 105! That's $ 75 in savings every month or $ 900 a year.
- Cut the cord – I'm sure the CEOs of Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon are nice guys, but given he choice of keeping money in my pocket or putting it in theirs, my pocket will always win. Called the cable company in 2011 and cancelled my service. I have not had cable since then. That's $ 100 saved every month or $ 1,200 per year.
- Cook at home – On an average day outside of the home, I spend $ 25 eating out. That's an $ 8 protein shake at the gym, a $ 9 chicken bowl at Chipotle, $ 5 coffee at Starbucks, and coffee and a pastry at my favorite Cuban spot in Miami. If I were to do that 3 times a week for a month it would add up to a whooping $ 300! Cook at home and save money. I figure I can cook a meal for about $ 2.50 – including the protein shakes. Three meals a day, three times a week, over four weeks come out to $ 90. You can save about $ 210 per month by not eating out, more if you eat out more often. $ 210 per month come out to $ 2,520 per year.
- Buy in bulk – This includes purchasing a membership at a whole sale club like BJ's, Costco, or Sam's. My Costco membership has saved me thousands of dollars over the years, and as an added feature, it gives me 2% cashback at the end of the year. By purchasing all my main grocery items in bulk I can easily save 30% on my monthly grocery bill. My grocery expenses dropped from around $ 550 per month to a little under $ 400. Naturally, this number fluctuates as prices are not fixed, but on an average month I can save $ 100 on groceries, or $ 1,200 in a year.
- Adjust the lights – It's very easy to waste energy and inadvertently pay for electricity that you didn't need to use. Living in Florida it becomes very easy to over spend in cooling expenses. Using the dryer while your AC is running, or even leaving the AC running on your preferred setting while you are away can result in increased energy consumption. Adjust the use of the dryer, dishwasher, and lights throughout your home and you will see a big difference. My electric bill went from $ 200 per month to $ 147 over the summer – it is usually lower during the "winter months". $ 50 per months add up to $ 600 a year.
In five simple steps you can save $ 500 + starting in your first month. In 3 months you can easily save $ 1000 or more and make yourself ready for any emergencies that may come your way.