Hello, itâ€™s me again, The Budgetnista. I assume youâ€™ve come to learn how to find an extra $500 a month – $6000 a year! I wonâ€™t waste your time with small talk.
Letâ€™s get startedâ€¦
1)Â Â Â Â Â Do you have a cell phone? Yes? Do you know anyone else that has a cell phone? Yes? Get a family plan! These days most standard cell phone companies offer unlimited service (text, talk, internet) for $100/mon. If two people share an unlimited family plan you can cut your cost dramatically. TMobile for example only charges an extra $40/mon to add another unlimited line. Thatâ€™s a $60/mon savings! Divide that savings in half for each of you.
Savings: $30/mon – $360/yr
2)Â Â Â Â Â Drop overdraft protection! Did you know that over draft protection is OPTIONAL?! Yes, it is. That means all those $35 dollars overdraft fees could have been avoided. Thanks to President Obama, this bank hustle has been brought to light. Call your bank today and drop this option from your accounts. It simply means that if you swipe and donâ€™t have the funds your transaction will be denied (like the old days).
Savings: $35/mon – $420/yr (more if youâ€™re financially sloppy)
3)Â Â Â Â Â Do you still have cable and internet! Come on! In 2010 those two are synonymous. Internet IS cable! You can stream the news live and watch your favorite shows on www.hulu.com legally and for free. Get Netflix for $14/month and you can instantly watch movies and shows as often as you want, anytime you want, commercial free!! Invest in a $15 computer to TV cord and you can see your laptop screen on your TV! When you call your cable provider, you might as well drop your home phone as well (I mean, whenâ€™s the last time you used it? You have a cell).
Savings: <$80/mon – <$960/yr
4)Â Â Â Â Â Move! Yes, move to a cheaper apartment and live closer to work while youâ€™re at it. The moving rule of thumb is your new rent should be at least $150 ($1800/yr) cheaper than your old rent. Use sites like craigslist.com to help you comparison shop. And of course wait until your lease is up. A smart strategic move can save you at least $50 a month on gas as well.
Savings: $200/mon – $2400/yr
5)Â Â Â Â Â Drop the gym! Youâ€™re not going anyway. Even if you are going to the gym why pay for it? Many towns have FREE recreation centers (google it). You can also use the parks, ride your bike, and run (outside is free). Get a workout buddy and pop a DVD in on Saturdays. Iâ€™m sure someone you know actually bought P90xâ€¦â€¦ummm â€˜borrowâ€™ it. *snicker*
Savings: >$35/mon – $ 420/yr
6)Â Â Â Â Â Buy stuff online and use promo codes. What stuff, you ask? EVERYTHING! Example: If you were to purchase the new Macbook Pro laptop from Apple (without an educational discount) you would spend $1,999 plus an additional $119 on sales tax at 6%. Ordering through Amazon would get you the same laptop $4 cheaper and you would save the $119 tax. Donâ€™t worry about shipping either, Amazonâ€™s got that. Donâ€™t forget to google promo codes/coupons for all your online purchases. I donâ€™t think I EVER bought something online without finding a code/coupon for it first. You can buy most anything this way, even shoes. Try them on in the store and order them online.
Savings: varies, at least $30/mon – $360/yr
7)Â Â Â Â Â Use your bankâ€™s ATM for goodness sakes! ATM charges are ridiculous! The strange bank charges you and then your bank charges you! Youâ€™re wasting a minimum of $2 each time you donâ€™t use your bank. If you canâ€™t find your bank at least go to a store and BUY something for $2 and get cash back.
Savings: based upon 2 ATM transactions a week $16/mon – $192/yr
8)Â Â Â Â Â Cut that daily soda habit! You canâ€™t? YIKES! Ok, at least drink one less soda a day and sub it with FREE water. Your teeth and waist line will thank me. One soda equals at least one dollar. Thatâ€™s a lot of green for fizzy water.
Savings: $30/mon – $360/yr
9)Â Â Â Â Â Use less expensive gasoline. Use the Internet and find the cheapest gas station on your route. Utilize sites like www.gasbuddy.com. Even if you insist upon being a gas snob, at least you can find the cheapest â€˜name brandâ€™ gas in your area. Buying gas with cash will bring the price down even more.
Savings: $15/mon – $180/yr
10)Â Grocery Shop online with a list. Need to buy food? WAIT! Before you leave the house take a look in your cabinets and make a list. Then, go online to your favorite (major) grocery store and order your groceries (yes, I said order). Use their circular and coupons to save even more. After placing your order you can buy online or pay when you get to the store. They will have your groceries packed and read for you (at no additional cost)! This is especially great if you have â€˜activeâ€™ children. You will save time, money and wonâ€™t be tempted to overspend
Savings: varies, but Iâ€™ll say on average $50/mon – $600/yr
TOTAL SAVINGS $521 a month – $6252 a year (Hey! What do you know, Iâ€™ve saved you more!)
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My book: The One Week Budget, release date August 2010