On paper, it might appear that people are financially doing better now than ever before considering the fact that there are now more millionaire American and Canadian households than ever. Surprisingly, 76 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and 36 percent do not have a retirement savings. For many, the thought of even putting aside $50 into an RRSP or 401(K) might seem impossible as they need it for essential living. At the same time, most people know that the job market has changed and true job security and a livable wage after retirement are a thing of the past. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can cut back on unnecessary expenses.
Brew Your Own Coffee
Stopping in a Starbucks every day before work might be your morning routine, but it’s an expensive habit that costs Americans $1,092 a year. Save your money and avoid lines by bringing your own home-brew coffee into work. Sure it might not be a Frappucino, but it only cost you a couple cents.
Get Rid of Your Debt
No one likes being in debt and yet the average household owes $7,149 on their credit cards. When you are living paycheck to paycheck, paying the minimum might seem like a good option, but ultimately you as it will take you much longer to pay off the card, thus forcing you to continue paying interest on your amount. Even paying $20 over the minimum can help you save in the long term.
Cook Your Own Food
53 percent of people eat out at least once per week. While this might not seem like a lot, it definitely adds up especially for those that eat out every day for lunch. It might be convenient to order take out, but you can whip up a delicious and hot meal in around the same time it takes a restaurant to deliver your food. After all, cooking doesn’t have to be a formal affair. Some of the best meals take less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. If you don’t have time during your work week to cook, batch cook your meals on your days off and make enough to pack for lunch.
Use Your Coupons
Couponing has become an art for many people, so much so that there was even a TLC show on it. While you don’t need to be as focused on finding coupons, you should take advantage of the ones you receive from stores you frequent. On average, couponers save $11.20 on their shopping trips. As well, make sure to take a look at the store’s circulars for the weekly deals.
Of course, this only applies to smokers but if you are one it’s a good time to stop. Not only is there a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer, but it is also an expensive habit. The price of a single pack of cigarette varies but on average it is $5.75. Depending on how much you smoke, kicking the habit could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
If you’re already doing the above, look at other ways you can minimize spending in your life. Track all of your expenses for a couple months and see where your money is going. It might surprise you. Once you’ve done that, create a monthly budget for yourself and stick to it. At the end of the month you might actually see that you have more money left over than you expect.