Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar
You woke up this morning late, so you jumped out of bed, got ready quickly and ran out of the house.
No time to walk to the train station, you hop in the car instead; don't forget to stop for a coffee and a breakfast sandwich at Starbucks since you didn't have time to eat at home. Grab a bottle of water too, since you're really thirsty.
Of course that's not going to keep you full ALL day, when your tummy grumbles at noon you run out and grab lunch since you hadn't managed to pack one that morning (and darn it, you were just so busy last night!). Don't forget to grab a drink with your lunch!
With the work day through, you head home and then straight to the grocery store. "Are you a points member" they ask?... No. "It's free and it only takes a minute"... I just don't have time.
You head home, looking back on your day favorably. You ate good food, had a productive day at work, the cute barista winked at you in the morning...
It's too bad you just lost SO much money!
The Low Down
Saving money isn't about deciding not to buy the newest iPhone (though that helps) or saying no to those cute wedges in the shop window that cost about $100 more than you're willing to spend.
Saving money happens every single day! It happens with day-to-day purchases that you don't even think about because they seem so small, or so normal, that you don't even consider them.
I'm here to tell you that if you get better at saving money every day, then when it comes time to spend an extra $100 on those cute wedges, you'll feel less guilty about it!
Here are five things you can easily do to put more money in your pocket.
1) Make coffee at home!
Look, I know you've heard this before, but I really want you to think about it.
Depending on your order, you could save anywhere between $10 and $40 PER WEEK! That's between $520 and $2080 PER YEAR!
Splurge on a nice coffee blend at the grocery store, or even at your favourite coffee shop! Buy a milk frother so you can make lattes and cappuccinos in your kitchen (mine is like a small plug in kettle that heats the milk while it foams!).
Set your machine to go off automatically 5 minutes before you wake up every day so you can start your day right with a fresh cup of completely affordable, delicious coffee.
2) Pack A Lunch.
Similarly to coffee, save strain on your wallet and pack a lunch at home. Better yet, make double the food you need for dinner to stretch your dollars even more, and save you from unhealthy lunch options.
Lunches out cost about $10 - $12 dollars, meaning $50 per week, or $2600 per year. That's enough for a FANCY vacation!
Plus by avoiding fast food, you'll have a more productive afternoon and probably need to snack less!
3) Walk, don't drive/transit.
For some people, driving or transit is inevitable. Trust me I get it, I live in Canada where it's cold and everything is FAR away.
But if you CAN walk, it will save you money and keep you active! Walk or bike to work, or walk to the grocers to pick up what you need (not just keeping you active, but supporting local business)
Here's an example: I take the train to get to work each day, but I then have to get from the train station to the office (about a 1.5 km distance). I could take the subway the whole way, basically right to the door of my office, but at $3.25 a ride, I choose the 10-15 minute walk instead.
4) Get a grocery points card.
Whether you collect air miles, or use a rewards card from your local grocery store, make sure you get a card that gives you points each time you shop, which you can then cash in for free groceries.
Most of these cards are free! We generally stick to the same grocery store anyway, so why not capitalize on that habit? In the last year I got back about $200 in free groceries, and let me tell you that was AMAZING at Christmas time when expenses were tight.
It may not seem like a lot of money.. but it's better than nothing! You're buying groceries anyway why not cash in on that expense?
5) Don't drink bottled water!
DO NOT. DRINK. BOTTLED.WATER!
Not only is it bad for the environment, but it is SUCH a rip off! Get yourself a Brita filter and a nice water bottle that you can keep with you. Bring it to work, movies, the gym, shopping, out with friends. Unless you live somewhere where drinking tap water is outright dangerous you have no excuse NOT to drink it.
And I don't mean "well but they add fluoride to the..." look, just stop. Unless it's poisoning you, you have nicer drinking water than most of the people on the planet. Filter it and move on. You can even get water bottles with filters for when you're on the go!
At $1 per bottle (if you're lucky) you're saving $14 per week, or $728 per year by just having a water bottle you use.
These changes are small, but lets add it up; by doing just those five things you can save up to $7298 EVERY YEAR.
You could buy a car, take an amazing trip, contribute to your retirement fund or just splurge and get a designer bag! You do you!
While I don't think you should deprive yourself entirely (sometimes you just need to eat lunch out and grab a coffee!), I encourage you to look at your daily routine and see where you can make at least one small change to save you money.
Maybe your habit is buying apps that you delete about 10 minutes later (or paying for "freemium" content... SUCH a cash grab). Or maybe your spending vice is eating out for dinner multiple times a week, instead of just once. Maybe you buy us weekly magazines in bulk, or lottery tickets. Maybe you obsessively buy new nail polish colours!
By giving up just one of these things, you will be amazed at how much your savings will grow (or at least, your disposable income!).
Suddenly that trip to Bali is looking like a real possibility, isn't it?
So I want to know! What do you spend money on daily (or nearly) that you could give up to save money? Big or small I'm curious! Let me know in the comments below.
PS: If you liked this post, check out these posts!