Tweak these everyday expenses to free up more money each month.
How would you like to have an extra $100 or more every month? If that seems impossible, don’t be too quick to assume that your budget is too tight to allow you to build emergency savings or save for a large purchase or vacation.
With a few adjustments to everyday spending, you’ll be surprised at how much extra money you can free up each month. And it doesn’t even have to be painful.
Here are seven ways you can save $100 a month – and maybe even much more – to put towards savings, vacations and other financial goals.
1. Prepare more meals at home
We all like to go out to eat, socialize with friends or even swing by a restaurant for takeout on the way home from work. But dining out costs add up fast, especially since prices have increased due to inflation raising the price of meat, dairy, produce and other foods.
To save money, you don’t need to completely deprive yourself of the dining out experience. But can probably save at least $100 a month simply by cutting back on dining out and preparing at least a couple of meals a week at home.
2. Take your lunch to work
Since you’ll be cooking some meals at home anyway, why not take your lunch to work? If the thought of eating from plastic containers in the shadow of the break room vending machine is depressing, keep in mind that you don’t have to bring your lunch every day.
If you take your lunch to work two days a week, you can easily save at least $20 or more a week. Then treat yourself to lunch out on the other days, choosing restaurants with lunch specials to save on costs.
3. Use only your bank’s ATMs
Do you hit up the nearest ATM whenever you need to withdraw cash with your debit card without regard for which bank owns the money machine? If so, you’re probably at least $5 or $6 in fees every time if the ATM isn’t owned by the bank that issued your debit card.
To avoid unnecessary fees, plan ahead by withdrawing the amount you think you’ll need for the week from your bank’s ATM so you don’t have to pay fees.
4. Make a grocery list
If you’re grocery shopping without a list, you’re probably spending way too much at the grocery store. To save money on groceries, make a list of items you need before you hit the aisles. Plan a few meals for the week and then buy foods you can use for more than one meal. With a list in hand and a limit in mind, you’ll spend less on groceries each week.
Find out: 9 Tips to Save Money on Groceries
5. Trim utility costs
You may not give much thought to why your utility bills are high. But when you make an effort to lower utility costs, you’ll probably save money each month. For example, if your water bill is high, check for dripping faucets or a toilet that runs constantly. Those leaks typically waste up to 10,000 gallons of water a year for the average household, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
While you’re at it, request an energy audit from your gas or electric company. Many utility companies will send someone to inspect your home for air leaks and other ways you’re unwittingly wasting energy and how to improve the situation for lower utility bills.
Find out: 9 Ways to Save Money on Utility Bills
6. Pause or cancel streaming services
If you like variety, you may be signed up for three or four streaming services so you can watch all your favorite shows and movies. But multiple streaming subscriptions can add up to $50 or more a month. Can you get by with only two streaming services, or better yet, just one? If so, cancel or pause one or two services for a few months to save money.
7. Contribute to savings automatically
One of the most painless ways to save at least $100 or more each month is to have your employer deduct at least $50 from every paycheck and deposit into your savings account. You may barely notice the sacrifice, but after a year, you’ll have at least $1,200 saved for emergencies, a vacation or an expensive purchase you have in mind.
Find out: 60 Creative and Easy Ways to Save Money
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Published by Debt.com, LLC