Saving money is more important than ever now. With inflation and prices on the rise, smart money management can help you keep more of your income. Let’s look at ten pain-free ways you can save while still enjoying life.
10 Pain-free Ways to Save Money
Let your bank or an app save money for you each month by setting up an automatic transfer from your checking to savings. You don’t have to think about it or take time to do it manually. The good news: money will go into your savings account each month with no effort on your part.
Reduce the Number of Streaming Services
Streaming services like Netflix, Prime, Disney Plus, and Apple TV seem to have taken over the video viewing habits of America and for good reason. They offer commercial-free, exclusive content that can be viewed on demand.
But can you really watch all of them, all the time?
The average Netflix user has had a subscription for over four years! With subscriptions costing anywhere from $10 to $20 per month, that is $120 to $240 annually. Multiply that by three or four other streaming services, and you could be dropping $500 to $1,000 a year for video content.
These services each have pluses, but as consumers, we only have so many hours a week that we are going to use them. Recently, a friend offered a brilliant solution: subscribe to one or two services for six months. Explore and watch what that streaming service offers. After six months, cancel your subscription and move on to another one.
Be Choosy About Restaurants
The cost of eating at a full-service restaurant has increased by nearly 9% in the past year. Lost revenue from the pandemic coupled with supply chain issues and employee shortages has even led some restaurants to add an automatic 20% “service charge” to every order. It’s not realistic to eliminate dining out or ordering delivery, but you can discern where and when to enjoy your favorite meal out.
Grocery Shop with a List
One of the largest price increases in the past year has been the cost of food. But it is still cheaper to eat at home than it is to eat out. A restaurant meal costs five times more than that same meal prepared at home.
For instance, a two-taco combination plate with rice and beans at a local Mexican restaurant cost between $14 to $18, depending on the meat chosen. The cost to make it at home? Less than $3 a person.
Shopping with a list when you go to the grocery store means:
Less impulse buying.
Less food waste.
Fewer trips to the store, saving time and gas.
Pause the Gym Membership
How many gym memberships go unused each year? An astonishing 67% of them! With memberships costing $30 to $80 per month, that is $360 to nearly $1,000 a year for something that you rarely use.
Those good intentions to exercise are costing you money.
I know, exercise is important for your long-term physical and mental health. But you can still do it without that gym membership. Get out and go for a walk, run, bike ride, or swim for free.
Entertain at Home
We already revealed the rising costs of eating out, but that applies to entertainment, too. Rather than miss out on movie dates with friends or catching a few beers with the guys, invite people over. Take turns hosting a movie night, build-your-own pizza night, or game night with friends and family instead of going out.
Be Smart about Gas
With the national average price of gas currently over $5 per gallon, the expense of gasoline is hitting people where it hurts: their wallets. What are some easy ways to decrease costs?
● Drive slower. Decreasing your speed from 75 to 65 miles per hour boosts fuel economy by 14%, saving gas consumption.
● Join warehouses. Consider signing up for warehouse memberships like Costco, where the savings on gas can be anywhere from 30 cents to $1 per gallon compared to other gas stations.
● Batch errands by area. Schedule doctor appointments, haircuts, and shopping in the same vicinity to avoid crisscrossing town.
Renegotiate Cell Phone and Cable Plans
It’s worth the time to call your cell and cable providers and re-visit your current plans with them. They may offer you a family plan or package that reduces your monthly bill to not lose you as a customer.
Unsubscribe from Marketing Emails
We all get them, whether we subscribe to them or not. Merchant emails and newsletters arrive in our inboxes weekly, sometimes daily. The purpose of these marketing emails: to get you to make purchases.
Retailers make it easy for us to browse and buy without thinking by offering special sales, one-click ordering, and free shipping. By opting out of their emails and newsletters, our inboxes and texts will be free of enticing offers to spend money unnecessarily.
Enjoy Free Events for 6 Months
Saving money doesn’t mean missing out on fun activities! Most cities and suburban areas offer free events of all kinds during the year. This can include admission-free days at museums, national parks, sporting events, and botanical gardens.
Make a commitment to find free local events to attend just for the next six months to see how much money you save by doing so. If you set aside the costs of what you would have spent, you may find you have saved enough to purchase concert tickets or enjoy a night out on the town.
There are many ways that you can save money while still enjoying life. With a little thought and planning, you can wisely spend and save.
Written by Matthew Delaney