Whether last year went as planned when it comes to getting ahead of your finances or not, there is always room for improvement in order to reach the end result, which is getting out of debt, building up an emergency cushion, and saving for retirement. By taking a look at last month’s debit or credit card statement you can see every dollar that went out, really putting every purchase under the microscope in order to reduce unnecessary spending. By avoiding some of the biggest money wastes, you can watch the savings add up quickly.
Going Out to Eat
Sure, it’s nice to have someone else prepare your meal, let alone serve and clean up after you, but it comes at a cost. Whether it’s going out to lunch during work hours, picking up carryout on the way home, or taking the family out to your favorite restaurant, the costs add up. By avoiding going out to eat and instead going to the grocery store to prepare meals at home, you can start to save hundreds of dollars per month. While you’re at it, you could even start to see the pants get a little looser as the pounds come off eating a little healthier at home.
Speaking of losing weight, it’s that time of year where the gyms are packed with new members, all saying “this is the year I will get in shape”. Sure, that’s great to improve your health, but shortly after a few weeks or even months, the trips to the gym become a little less frequent and pretty soon you’re paying for a membership you don’t use. Save yourself the $50 bucks a month, start taking the dog for a walk every day, keep up the healthy eating, and you’ll be on your way to a new ‘you’ without the waste of a gym membership.
Paying for Cable
This one may be a tough pill to swallow, but if you actually think about the number of channels you watch, let alone sitting through commercials live and not fast forwarding on your DVR, it can be hard to justify the premium price for cable. With so many cutting the cord every year, this could be your time to save a couple hundred dollars a month and opt for a streaming service instead for a fraction of the price. If network channels are what you’re worried about losing, you can still get an HD antenna for around $30 to slap on your window and get local channels in crystal clear HD for free going forward.
Not Taking Advantage of Credit Card Rewards
No one wants to miss out on free money, but if you are using a credit card without rewards, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars a year back in points or cashback, just by spending what you would normally spend anyways. With so many credit card options out there, why not search for the best to get the most back of your hard-earned money that you would normally be seeing go out the window.