If you’ve got your mind on your money and your money on your mind, you’re probably looking for ways to save money at home. Luckily for you, it’s actually not that difficult! With a little sacrifice, a healthy dose of self control and a lot of creativity, you won’t even notice that you’re being frugal (seriously!). Save more money with a few tips that won’t cramp your style:
Reduce Transportation Costs
Did you know that the average American family spends a third of its income on transportation? That number has increased dramatically since the early 19th century, when the primary tug on finances was the cost of housing. That’s right–Americans now spend more money on gas and car payments than they spend on rent!
Luckily, it’s easy to reduce transportation costs to save more money. The hardest part of the entire process is admitting that you have a problem. If you live far away from work, you’ve probably convinced yourself that you’re actually saving money by paying a smaller percentage of your income toward rent: But in reality, those commuting costs–coupled with the un-walkability of far-flung towns and neighborhoods–are probably costing you a pretty penny.
Search for an apartment close to your office. Seek out walkable neighborhoods. Invest in a bike, and try to use that bike to run errands (it’s actually not that hard to tow small grocery bags in a bike basket, trust us). And hey, if you’re walking and biking everywhere, you might as well cancel your gym membership! Money in the bank, baby.
Reconsider Your Technology-Related Expenses
Want to know how to save money fast? Think about how quickly your cash would add up if you canceled your cable, landline, and even–gasp–cell phone service? Contrary to popular believe, it’s actually not that difficult to navigate your way through life without these dollar-sucking services.
The first (and easiest) relationship to sever is that of you and your cable provider. Getting rid of cable is actually one of the most popular ways to save money at home, as entertainment companies like Netflix and Hulu can easily satisfy your TV needs.
A little more difficult is getting rid of your smartphone. Or even your non-smartphone. We know, it sounds nuts. But think about it: Everything you can do on your iPhone, you can do on a new iPod. You can even text other Apple users (non-Apple user will simply receive an email from you, rather than a text–but if they have a smartphone anyway, what’s the difference?). Need some voice or face-to-face contact? You can Facetime other Apple users from new iPods, and can use Skype to call those who aren’t plugged into the Apple dynasty. All that creativity can save you hundreds of dollars a year in phone payments!
Just Say No … to Last-Minute ATM Withdrawals
Every time you get paid, take a certain amount of cash out of your bank (from the bank, not from an ATM that charges a fee) and use that money to get you through until your next paycheck. This will certainly help you save more money, but it will require a certain degree of self-control: It’s hard not to take $20 out of the bank when you’re out with friends and really want to grab a drink at a cash-only bar. But trust us, ATM fees are a silly use of your money. Either have cash on-hand to begin with, or head to a bar that will let you start a tab. Cheers!