Regardless of the status of the economy, it is always beneficial to have a plan in place for wise spending and saving money. Research has shown that people who are able to retire comfortably are those who were frugal throughout their working years and made saving a priority. The key to any successful savings plan is to develop a realistic budget and stay on track. Take a look at some of these tips you can implement to start saving and possibly retire early.
Food— Examine your eating habits. This is one area where most of us can make small changes that quickly add up to extra cash. Picking up dinner at the end of a stressful day is a routine that many of us fall into. However, you can save money by getting foods already prepared at the grocery deli and still get a break from the kitchen. Remember to buy your favorite beverage fixings and snacks while you’re at the grocery store. Making a cup of coffee from home instead of heading to the coffee shop will save an average of $40 per month.
Clothes— Check thrift stores for quality items at more than 65 percent off the regular retail price. Online shopping can also lead to great savings. Remember to wash those great bargains in cold water whenever possible to reduce the cost of heating water. Studies have shown that consumers chopped about $60 off their annual utility bill simply by doing more cold water washing.
Transportation— Do you have access to public transportation? Taking a bus or a train once or twice a week can significantly lower your gasoline bill. Plan your trips to get the most out of a tank of gas. “Is this trip necessary?” This was the slogan of the day in the early 1940s when gas was rationed during WWII. We can benefit from this reminder today as well. Combine your errands and carpool with other members of the household to optimize usage. Slowing down can also increase gas mileage. Cruising at 55 to 60 mph has been shown to add miles to a tank of gas.
Utilities— Most of us have installed energy efficient light bulbs, but how many of us wash dishes by hand instead of loading up the dishwasher every night? One way to scale down your energy usage is to do dishes the old-fashioned way— by hand. You may notice a $20 to $30 drop in your monthly utility costs.
Media— Television programming has taken desire to a new level. It is becoming more difficult to separate the true needs of the individual from cravings that have been cleverly manufactured by media campaigns. The next time you head out for pizza and a six pack try to identify your motivation. You may be reacting to a blitz of beer commercials and pizza commercials?
If you are accustomed to being a big spender, it may take some time to shift gears and bring your spending habits into alignment with your budget. However, with determination and a few simple steps everyone can become an expert at growing a solid financial base.
What are some of the things you do to save in this sluggish economy? Let us know in the comments section below!
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