Many of us feel like we just can’t spare any more change for our savings and retirement funds. Our paychecks are already committed to paying the mortgage, the insurance, the utility bills and so forth. Although these are monthly payments that are necessary and can’t be cut, there are still several ways to keep more cash in our pockets for our future.
Whether you are trying to build a college fund for your children or save for a dream vacation, simple changes in your life can mean big savings for your dreams. Below are three easy ways to save hundreds of dollars every month.
- Take care of what you have: Too often we abuse the things we buy. We don’t heed the care labels and rarely clean or maintain things the way they should be. This could be because we have a “consumerist” mindset, which dictates that it is good to constantly replace the things we already own with newer versions. However, if we could find a way to be more mindful about our possessions, we could make them last a lot longer and save money along the way. A great starting point for taking better care of your property is to keep things clean and properly stored in an environment that is conducive to the item. Keeping your possessions organized is also a good way to prevent “losing” things and having to replace them.
- Live in a neighborhood with public transportation: Cars are expensive to buy, maintain and gas up, and the cost of car insurance is also steadily rising. If you can find a home or apartment in a neighborhood with reliable public transportation, you can ditch the automobile and take the bus or train. If you have children, be sure that the school bus picks up in your neighborhood, as well. Using public transportation can help you save $500 a month or more on car payments, gas, car insurance and repairs.
- Cut the cable: There are cheaper ways to find entertainment nowadays other than cable television. Many companies, like AT&T and Time Warner, now charge around $100 or more per month for just the basic channels (many of which you’ll never even watch). Netflix and Hulu offer cheaper alternatives and allow you to stream television shows and movies by connecting your television to the internet through a variety of devices. If you are concerned about missing any news programs, most are now streamed on the internet and can be watched on your television by connecting your computer to the TV. Even if you aren’t too concerned about the price of your cable, cutting it out will force your children to step away from the TV and get involved in more enriching activities at home.
Keep the money you save from these lifestyle changes in an account that is appropriate for your goals. For example, if you are saving for your child’s college education, a 529 plan is one great option. For more information about life savings and retirement investments, seek the help of a licensed financial advisor.
Tracy Myers is a freelance blogger with a passion for helping others navigate the dark waters of personal finance. As a regular contributor to several consumer help websites, such as www.homeinsurance.org, Tracy often covers topics related to personal property advice, retirement and financial planning.