Saving money is one of those things you have to do intentionally or it just doesn't get done, right? I hear people say all the time, “I don't have MONEY to grow my business” but they don't always stop and think of things that they could cut down on or cut OUT that would give them the edge they are looking for! This article is for those who are operating on a shoestring and/or who want to invest MORE into their business! Where can you cut corners to to save enough to finance your dream?
So, LET'S KEEP IT REAL with each other…
Did you run out and/or stop on the way to work to pick up a steaming hot cup of joe to help you get your day going?
I totally understand the allure of a good cup of Starbucks!
But the numbers don’t lie:
- $5 per cup
- 5 times per week
- = $100/month
…and LET'S GET REAL again…it could be much higher than that if you get the fancy schmancy loaded drinks!
It’s pretty rare that anyone can say, “Wow! I accidentally cut down on my costs this month!”. In fact, I don't think I have ever heard anyone say that!
When we don’t make the decision to save money – and have a plan in place for actually accomplishing that – it’s much more likely that our costs will get out of control.When we don’t make the decision to save money ? AND have a plan in place for actually accomplishing that – it’s much more likely that our costs will get out of control. #AmIRightClick To Tweet
This article will outline 20 simple ways you can save $250 a month so you have more money to invest in your business. While not every one of these strategies will save you quite that much, combining even 2 or 3 can make a huge impact on your financial situation!
1. Cut out cable
With the average cable bill being somewhere around $103 each month, reducing or even eliminating your cable TV can be a huge monthly cost savings.
Look at a recent statement and see what you’re actually paying for. For instance, are you paying for channels you don’t really watch? Or could you just as easily watch your favorite channels for free online?
Of course, you can also ditch the cable altogether by switching entirely to Netflix, Hulu or another streaming TV site. These sites will run you as little as $8/month…meaning even if you sign up for two of them, you’ll still be saving around $90 off the average monthly cable cost.
2. Cut out your home or business phone
With the vast majority of us now having smartphones, dedicated landlines are becoming less and less of a necessity.
Save money each month by ditching your business and home phone, and consolidate all your phone needs into your existing cell phone plan. This may mean bumping up your monthly minutes or data, but this will still save you money over maintaining a separate landline
3. Cook more meals at home
Did you know that the average American spends at least $3,000 a year on going out to eat? And that’s the average…meaning it’s possible you spend even more!
By my calculations, this means that simply cutting out restaurant meals will save you around $250/month!The average American ?? spends at least $3,000 a year on going out to eat? By simply cutting out restaurant meals will save you around $250/month! Wowzers! Click To Tweet
And even if you can’t bear the thought of giving up ALL eating out, consider cutting back to once every week or two. These savings will quickly add up (and will likely make you healthier too!).
4. Increase your insurance deductibles
Contact your car and home insurers and ask how much you could save by bumping up your deductible.
Increasing your deductible from $300 to $500 or $1000, for instance, will probably save you a good chunk of money each month…and if you don’t regularly make claims, you’ll probably never even notice the increased amount.
5. Downgrade your cell phone plan
Do you know exactly what your current cell phone consists of? And do you know whether you’re actually using everything you’re paying for?
Log in to your cell phone account online (or call your provider) and find out exactly what you’re paying for, especially in terms of monthly data.
You may be surprised to discover you’re not even coming close to maxing out your current usage, and can downgrade your plan to save some serious cash.
6. Lower your cell phone usage
If, after checking out your cell phone usage (see #5), you find you ARE using all your data, consider ways to cut down on your monthly data usage.
Probably the most effective way to cut down on your data is to stop streaming videos when you’re not connected to WIFI. This will mean no Netflix when away from home or the office, and resisting the temptation to watch videos while on social media.
7. Cook meals in batches
I get it – not everyone loves cooking. But cooking large quantities of food at one time means less time spent in the kitchen, and far less food waste.
And on those long, hard days when you just don’t have the energy to cook up a family dinner? Grab a meal from your freezer instead of paying for take-out!
8. Reevaluate your internet bill
Just like with your cable or cell phone bill, your monthly internet bill could be costing you more than it should.
Check your statement to see what you’re actually paying for: this includes equipment, account fees and of course usage. Also be sure to check whether you’re regularly paying for usage overages, as these are likely costing you more than it would to simply upgrade your plan.
You can also try calling your internet provider and asking if they have any deals or promotions, or if there’s some other way to lower your monthly bill. You may be surprised at what they’ll offer you simply because you asked!
9. Cut down on your Starbucks
I understand the allure of a good cup of Starbucks! But the numbers don’t lie: $5 per cup, 5 times per week works out to $100/month…and your monthly coffee bill could be much higher than that.Reduce the temptation to go by the drive through on your way to work by making your own coffee ☕ at home. $5 per cup, 5 times per week works out to $100/month! #SavingsTipClick To Tweet
Reduce the temptation to go by the drive through on your way to work by making your own coffee at home. You can even save money by buying Starbucks beans (and even a Starbucks mug) and making it at the office…this way you still get your Starbucks fix but at a much lower cost.
Carpooling doesn’t need to be restricted to commuting to and from work. You can also save money by organizing carpools for social events and your kids’ school and social activities.
While we’re at it – consider whether you could do without the car altogether. Taking a cab, bus or ridesharing may not be cheap, but it probably works out to be cheaper than gas, insurance and your monthly car payment!
11. Cancel your gym membership
Before I get started here…if you are going to the gym every day…keep going! BUT if you are paying $40-$50 per month for a gym membership that you aren't using then ditch it! Having a gym membership as a motivational tactic just doesn't work…after all, knowing you’re paying for it ensures you actually go, right? Nope, it doesn't! You know who you are <grin>!
Instead of paying for the privilege of getting fit, ditch your membership and consider other ways of getting in shape: like jogging, lifting weights at home or using free YouTube workout videos.
And if you just can’t give up the gym? It may make financial sense to pay for each visit if you don’t go often enough to justify a monthly pass.
12. Switch to a cash-only policy
When you’re using a debit or credit card, it can be easy to lose track of your spending. After all, with overdraft and credit, you can potentially spend even more than you actually have!
One way to keep your spending under control is to switch to a cash-only policy. Estimate how much you’ll need for your monthly spending, and then withdraw that amount in cash. You can always increase your budget next month if you need to, but for now it will keep you on track!
13. Refinance your mortgage
To be clear, this is NOT always a good option. However, the opportunity to lower your interest rate, extend the term of your mortgage, or consolidate your debt may just be the key to saving money so you can invest more in your business.
Just be sure to talk to a qualified mortgage broker before making the decision to refinance…with high fees for breaking out of a mortgage, it’s important to carefully calculate the costs and benefits!
14. Track your expenses religiously
Part of saving your money is understanding exactly how you spend your money.? Part of saving your money is understanding exactly how you spend your money. #JustSayin Click To Tweet
Vow to track all your expenses for a few months to see exactly what you’re spending your money on. This will help you identify and cut back in areas where you’re overspending.
15. Pay off your credit card each month
The average American credit card holder has a credit card debt of around $5,000 (source). With interest rates ranging from 13-23%, this means many Americans are paying an awful lot each month JUST to maintain their debt (not even to pay it down)!
If at all possible, use your credit cards to manage your cashflow only, making sure to pay off your balance each month….otherwise you could be spending a lot of money each month without anything to show for it.
16. Buy second-hand
There are many great ways to buy gently-used items these days, especially online…and doing so can save you a TON of money.
Before purchasing new clothes, furniture or even cars, consult your local Craigslist, Kijiji, LetGo, or Facebook buy and sell groups. Of course, you can also visit local thrift stores to save money and support a local charity at the same time!
17. Save money at the beginning of the month
Putting aside a set amount at the beginning of the month ensures you save that money, regardless of what else happens during the month.
If you want to save $250/month, take that amount from your first payday of the month and move it to a savings account. Once that money is out of sight, you’ll naturally adjust your spending based on what you have left.
18. Check your credit card statement for subscription payments
Subscription payments can be great, as they ensure you don’t forget to pay recurring monthly or annual charges. The trouble, however, comes when you forget to cancel payments for products or services you really don’t need anymore.
Some types of subscription payments you should regularly evaluate include:
- Monthly subscription boxes (e.g., Dollar Shave Club)
- Annual magazine or newspaper subscriptions
- Annual website or blog-related fees (e.g, domain name fees, website hosting, etc.)
- Gym memberships
- Book or music clubs
19. Drink more water
Five years ago, Time Magazine reported that the average American household spent $850 each year on soft drinks…and I can only imagine this number has gone up since then.
Instead of loading up on soda, buy yourself a snazzy reusable water bottle and fill it up throughout the day. Not only will this save you money, it will leave you feeling healthier and more energetic!
20. Reduce food waste
Fact: the average American family of four throws out $1,600 worth of food each year (source). This works out to around $130/month that’s going straight into your trash!
One way to reduce your food waste is to vow not to visit the grocery store more than once a week. Plan your meals ahead of time, and then buy exactly what you need – and nothing else.
Find you start running out of food mid-week? Get creative by combining leftovers, using up what’s in your freezer, or coming up with new recipe ideas using what you already have in your fridge.
Many people think that saving money is all about avoiding or cutting back on big expenses. However, in my experience, it’s the little costs – the specialty coffees, fast food and cell phone charges – that really tend to eat up your budget.
Even Ben Franklin agrees with me. He said, “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship”!“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship” ? ~Ben FranklinClick To Tweet
Take some time to reevaluate your budget, your daily habits and your credit card statements, and determine to make some changes…and then take all that money you’ve saved and put it back into growing your business!
Which strategies above are you going to implement? Any others I’ve missed on this list? Share below!