David Bakke constantly searches for new ways to save money and shares his findings on the personal finance blog, Money Crashers.
Show me a bunch of ways to save $10 per month, and I won’t be too interested. Explain to me how to save $25 a month, and my eyebrows might rise a tad. But if you mention shaving off $50 per month from what I spend, now that gets some attention. Think about it: An extra $50 in your pocket each month comes out to $600 at the end of the year. If you can find five ways to save an extra $50 per month, and your savings rise to a whopping $3,000 per year
Fortunately, finding five ways to save $50 each month isn’t that difficult:
1. Clip Coupons
Far too few people take advantage of coupons. Extreme couponers – those who put in some serious time – can shave off upwards of 80% from their grocery bills. However, it only takes saving $12.50 per week to reach the $50 monthly threshold, and doing so is relatively easy: Each Sunday, pick up a few copies of your local paper, or save that cost by trading coupons with your friends on the things you each buy. Organize your coupons by expiration date, and try to shop on the day that your local supermarket doubles coupon values. Sign up for loyalty programs and discount cards, and join a coupon service, such as Coupon Cactus or Shopping Nanny, for additional deals.
2. Bundle Services
There’s just no sense in having your cell phone, cable TV, and Internet service contracts with three different companies. Check out bundle offers from a few providers, and make the best choice. But don’t stop there. When you call, ask if the advertised price can be improved upon, and you may be pleasantly surprised: “Consumer Reports” conducted a survey in which a third of participants asked for a better deal – and 90% of them got it.
3. Eat Out Less
If you eliminate just one family trip to a restaurant each month, your household can easily save more than $50. And when you do dine out, do it smart. Take advantage of daily deal sites such as Groupon or Living Social for half-off offers. And there are many cell phone apps, such as Bite Hunter, that provide you with meal deals in your area.
4. Take Lunch to Work
Let’s say you eat out every day of the workweek and, on average, spend $7 per meal. That’s $35 per week. If you bring your own lunch to work, you’ll spend roughly $2 per lunch. The final tallied savings: $100 every month. Plus, what you put together at home is sure to be much healthier than restaurant food.
5. Pay Off Credit Card Balances
At first glance, this seems like spending, not saving. But the average American carries approximately $7,000 in credit card debt and pays about $1,000 per year in interest. By eliminating this costly expense, you can save more than $80 per month. Even if your debts aren’t that significant, it’s still worthwhile to pay them off – it’s never worthwhile to pay interest.
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans are woefully unprepared for retirement, and many more have no emergency fund whatsoever. Therefore, now is the time to improve your personal finances and save more money. By making these small changes, you can line your pockets with some significant extra cash.
What other ways can you think of to save $50 per month?