Are you independently wealthy, or could you use six ways to save $400 this month? You may be looking for ways to free up some cash to pay for college, afford your children’s clothes, pay for holiday gifts or just be able to sock away more money for retirement. Recently, we revisited some of our original frugal roots to come up with these six ways to put at least $400 back in your pocket this month.
These tips are a good reminder if you’ve fallen off the frugal wagon or never hitched a ride. You may have heard much of this advice before. But have you actually put it into practice? Maybe the numbers we show you below will change your mind and finally convince you to follow this money-saving advice.
Cut coffee spending
According to the National Coffee Association, the average American coffee drinker drinks about 3.1 cups of coffee per day. If just one of those cups of coffee is bought each weekday in a specialty coffee shop, where the cost is about $5, that adds up to about $25 a week or $100 per month for store-bought coffee.
How much would you save by making all your coffee at home? According to calculating coffee experts with more time on their hands than we have have, the cost works out to $1.24 per 12-ounce cup.
By making your coffee at home every weekday, you can save about $18.75 each week.
Monthly savings brewing coffee at home: About $75
Switch to a refillable water bottle and skip soda
Water that comes out of the tap is free. But according to EarthDay.org, the average American buys an average of 167 disposable plastic water bottles, costing $266 a year. If you got a refillable, reusable water bottle and filled it from the tap, you would save not only money but trash from cluttering up landfills.
If you buy soda to drink, a 12-pack costs around $7. Break the soda habit and that’s another $7 to add to your savings.
Monthly savings using refillable water bottle and skipping soda: $28.
Pack your lunch
The average American household spent $252 per month on food consumed away from home. I’m sure those living in big cities spend way more. Even if only half of that is spent on lunches, that’s more than $125 per month. If you started to pack your lunch, you would incur some grocery costs in buying what you need to make lunch, but by bringing your lunch, you would save more than $1,500 a year. Also, with the kids going back to school, you have the potential to save even more by packing their lunches, too.
Monthly savings from packing lunch: $125.
Switch your cellphone provider
Because cellphone plans run from very inexpensive to hundreds of dollars per month, doing your research with our article on the best cellphone plans can save you big money. For example, Republic Wireless offers plans for $15 per month plus $5 per gigabyte used.
Monthly savings for changing your cellphone plan: $40 to $50 or more.
Call to make sure you’re getting the best rate
Internet providers, insurance companies, credit card companies: A phone call might be all it takes to get a lower monthly bill. For credit cards, if you’ve been a responsible borrower who makes payments on time and has an account in good standing, it never hurts to call your creditors and ask for a lower interest rate. You can also request an increase in your credit line, which will lower your debt utilization ratio (that’s the amount you owe compared to the amount of available credit). A lower utilization is seen as favorable by the three credit bureaus, the entities that determine your credit score. This is important if you plan on applying for a car or home loan, since a better credit score can mean lower interest rates, which can translate into thousands of dollars in savings over time. Read our article 4 phone calls that can lower your bills for more tips.
Potential monthly savings: Varies
Get rid of cable TV
We know of a young family that spends $300 per month on cable television. Our ultimate guide to saving money by cutting cable tells you everything you need to know about how to save money on cable with streaming TV services, even if you or someone in your house is a sports fan.
Monthly savings from cutting cable: $100 or more.
When you’re living frugally or on the cheap, it’s always a good idea to review your finances on a regular basis so you can find new ways to save. We hope these five tips helped you find some big savings in your monthly budget.
What are your top tips for putting more money in your pocket this month?
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