The first thing that pops in everyone’s mind when they start thinking about cutting unnecessary expenses is no more lattes from Starbucks. Why people pick on Starbucks is confusing. One $4 latte every Friday as a treat for a job well done will not sink a well-planned budget nor will it pay off credit card bills. Sometimes you need that little pat on the back to make it another week and caffeine is a necessity for some of us.
Instead of singling out your barista, try some of the ideas below to cut back with a greater impact.
1. Plan to cook. Sometimes you run out of time, groceries or both and, in desperation, run through a local drive-thru. It happens to the best of us but this can be expensive. Spending $20-25 for a family four on hamburgers and cold French fries is such a waste.
2. When you eat out, know where you are going in advance. So many restaurants offer happy hour specials, “Kids eat free” nights and half off pizza days. If you plan ahead and take advantage of these specials, your family will never know that they’re living on a budget.
3. Drinking your 8 glasses a day is great for your health but if you’re drinking bottled water it’s not so healthy on your wallet. Invest in a counter top water filter, like Brita, and re-usable bottles. This can really save money over the course of a year.
4. Being frugal does not mean that you have to sit at home all weekend. Research everything that your community has to offer. There is bound to be a free concert, film festival or museum free day. You could even attend a college lecture for date night with your spouse. Skip dinner and head to the nearest coffee house to discuss the topic at hand. It’s free, fun, educational and fully-caffeinated.
5. Why spend a day’s pay on entertainment and dinner out with friends. Go old school and invite them over for a rousing game of cards or a board game. A few cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre and you’ve got a memorable, cheap evening.
6. Get handy. Learn how to fix stuff and stop running out to replace everything the minute it stops working. Use the money you saved to start paying off those credit card bills.
7. Pay your mortgage twice a month. This simple trick can save you thousands over the life of your mortgage in interest and can pay it off up to seven years earlier. Simply take the amount that you would normally pay and pay half on the 1st and the other half on the 15th (or whatever days work for you). At the end of the year you will have made one extra full payment. *Note: some mortgage holders will not allow this method of payment or if they do will accept 2 payments and then hold it creating one payment negating the early payoff & interest savings.
All of these tips are small changes to your current lifestyle that your family will never even notice. They will just notice all the fun they are having