The Authors of “The Power of Small” Share a Few Small Tips That Can Add Up to Big Savings
Let’s face it. Right now, times are tough and we’re all looking for little ways to save in our day to day routines. Although saving an extra $100 a month sounds like a lofty goal in an economic climate where every penny counts, we know it’s easier than you think. As the authors of the new book, THE POWER OF SMALL: Why Little Things Make All the Difference, we’ve made a valuable discovery. The secret to attaining your biggest goals is to take one tiny step at a time.
Instead of making one big change, such as cancelling your cable or giving up eating in restaurants entirely, we believe that these painless modifications to your current spending patterns will help you easily net that extra $1200 a year.
So, how can you get started? Try out these eight tips to save an extra hundred bucks this month:
1. Switch from a latte (approximately $3 for a tall at Starbucks) to a drip coffee (approximately $1.75) 3 times a week.
Although many financial experts will tell you to give up the trips to the coffee house entirely, we think that Spartan approach is a little unrealistic. For those of you who enjoy the experience of grabbing your daily Starbucks, you can still indulge your habit while giving your wallet a break, just by switching drinks three days a week. Pick the “bold” brew and add a little cream to your coffee and you won’t even miss it. Plus, as an added bonus, the calories you save by trading latte for drip can result in a little unexpected weight loss. We tried it and lost 5 pounds!
Monthly amount saved: $15
2. Buy frozen Atlantic salmon ($6.00 per pound) instead of fresh ($8.00 and up).
Thanks to the proven health benefits of this tasty fish, salmon is a favorite in many households. But did you know that the frozen stuff offers the same Omega-3s as fresh? And even more surprising, our fish monger told us that frequently, the seafood at the grocery counter is just the thawed out version of the product in freezer section. So, save a few dollars per pound and go with the frozen fillets. If you buy it every week, it can really add up.
Monthly amount saved: $8
3. Bring your own snacks to the movies.
Why pay $6 for a small popcorn, $4 for a small soda, and $3.50 for a box of candy when you can bring the same thing with you for a whole lot less. Pop some microwave popcorn ($.87) at home and transfer it to a resealable bag, stock up on candy at the grocery store ($.45), and stick a can of soda ($.33) in a purse or backpack and you’re good to go! Even if you only go to the movies once a month, this change can lead to BIG savings.
Monthly amount saved: $11.85
4. Downgrade your Netflix one level.
With the recent financial troubles of former movie rental king, Blockbuster, it’s obvious that most have gotten on the Netflix bandwagon. But how many of you actually watch all of the movies you receive? If you send back a few movies a month without even watching them, consider switching from three movies ($16.99) at a time to two ($13.99). After all, you’ll still get unlimited rentals!
Monthly amount saved: $3
5. Brown bag it once a week.
If eating lunch out every day (approx $5-$10) is a necessary office ritual, bringing your own lunch (approx $1.50-$3) just once a week is a much easier adjustment. Plus, no one said you had to eat it at your desk! If the weather’s nice, head outside to eat al fresco.
Monthly amount saved: $14-$28
6. Subscribe to your favorite weekly magazine.
If you notice you’re buying the same magazine every time the new issue hits newsstands, consider purchasing a subscription instead. The difference in price can be staggering. The New Yorker, for example, costs just under $5 in stores, while the very same magazine costs just $.85 for subscribers.
Monthly amount saved: $21.55
7. Buy the drugstore brand.
Whether it’s for ibuprofen, allergy medication, or adhesive bandages, you probably hit up the drug store at least once a month. Luckily, the pharmacy brand usually trumps brand names by a dollar or more, even though they are often identical in effectiveness. Just make sure to read the label carefully to ensure you are getting your money’s worth.
Monthly Amount Saved: $1
8. Spend one weekend night in.
It doesn’t matter if it’s date night, game night, or girl’s night in, spending one weekend night a month at home can save you a bundle off of the cost of restaurants, bars, movies, and more. Make do with what you already have at home and you won’t have to spend a dime.
Monthly Amount Saved: $15 or more
The grand total for these eight easy changes? $103.40! Try them yourself and we bet you won’t even notice the difference… but your bank account will.
Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval are the authors of THE POWER OF SMALL: Why Little Things Make All the Difference, available online and in bookstores nationwide. For more information, please visit their website at www.thepowerofsmallbook.com.
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Filed Under: Personal Finance
About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.