Trim Your Budget without Trimming Your Lifestyle
If you’re anything like me, you are weary of people telling you how to save money. I think that is because we are all accustom to the phrase, “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.” That is why I am offering very simple, practical ways to save money that overtime will save you a ton. Usually the areas where people overspend is in their discretionary expenses, meaning items that are not essential to your survival. Here are a few discretionary items that if you change the way you purchase them, you can trim your budget without trimming your lifestyle:
There are 2 routes which I prefer to go when buying coffee:
A – Make it at home – 25 Cents/cup
B – Take my own seal-able coffee mug to the Gas station and fill it up – 96 Cents/cup
(Compare this to 1.75 for a small cup of coffee at Starbucks)
Rental Movies – Instead of renting from Blockbuster for a New Release get it from Redbox. Redbox charges $1 per day as opposed to Blockbusters $4+ for 2-3 days. I don’t know about you but I rent a movie the same day I am going to watch it, so therefore Redbox always is the lower cost option for me.
Theater Movies – If you go to an AMC theatre before Noon to watch a movie, it will cost you $5.00. That is nearly 50% off the regular cost of $9.70.
Go to GasBuddy.com to find the nearest gas station to you with the lowest price per gallon.
( I understand this is not really discretionary per se, but it is a good way to save some money)
Now let’s do a quick analysis. Say in 2010 you made changes to your spending habits:
You purchase 20 cups of coffee from Starbucks per month – $35/month = $420/year
You refilled your mug at the gas station instead – $19.20/month = $230.40/year (this is a $189.60/year savings vs Starbucks option)
You made coffee at home – $5/month = $60/year (this is a $360/year savings vs Starbucks option)
You watch 2 movies a month in theaters as a couple – $38.80/month = $465.60/year
You go to AMC before Noon – $20/month = $240/year (This is a $225.60/year savings from initial option)
You rent 3 movies a month from Blockbuster – $14.16/year = $169.92/year
You rent the same movies from Redbox – $3.00/month = $36/year (This is a $133.92/year savings)
Say you fuel up 3 times a month at a gas station close to you for 10 cents more a gallon – $4.5 more per month = $54/year
Now lets look at what that money would do for you if you invested it in an index fund that follows the S & P 500 over 30 years at a conservative 8% annual return. $133.92 +225.60 +360.00 +$54 = $773.52/year
After 3o years you would have $102,420.64! That is the beauty of compound interest and changing your daily routine.