Why are you broke all the time? You have a decent job and you don’t live like royalty ― so how is your wallet filled with cobwebs whenever you open it? Why does your checking account never exceed double digits? What gives?
Unless you don’t actually have a decent job, you probably are paying more than you have to on a daily basis. It isn’t hard to rein in your outgoing cash to save more ― you just have to know where to stop spending.
Stop Wasting Energy
People keep telling you to turn off lights, unplug unused electronics, and generally be more responsible with how you use energy around your home, and you always thought it was because they wanted to help the environment. Actually, being an energy hog is extremely expensive; estimates suggest that about a quarter of your bill comes from unnecessary energy usage, so depending on the size of your home (and the degree of your profligacy), you could be needlessly charging thousands of dollars every year.
Stop Wasting Water
Unsurprisingly, the same is true of water usage. A small leak from a sink faucet can add up to $20 to your water bill every year ― plus the incessant dripping is bound to drive you insane. Unfortunately, you might not notice leaky faucets or pipes, so you might not realize how much money is going down the drain. You should periodically check for leaks by inspecting sinks for water puddles or wrapping pipes with towels and feeling for dampness.
Stop Forgetting Due Dates
All the practice you had as a kid turning in assignments on time has a purpose because nearly every adult responsibility has a due date. Every bill, from energy and water to Netflix and library books, requires payment by a specific time, and unlike school (where there were usually few ramifications for late assignments) you can get in serious trouble by missing a due date. Set reminders on your phone for upcoming bills or enact automatic payments to ensure you don’t incur exorbitant late fees.
Stop Eating Out
The average American spends about $232 every month on meals at restaurants, but you are probably well above-average. Conversely, if you invest some time in cooking for yourself, you can spend less than $2 per meal ― and enjoy healthier, more nutritious food. This isn’t to say that you should never eat out; rather, you should reserve your restaurant excursions to special occasions, so it feels like the luxury it actually is.
Setting aside the scare tactics most stop-smoking groups use to get you off tobacco, smoking cigarettes is incredibly expensive. Even without the medical bills you should expect later in life, you are paying at least $10 per week for your habit, and that’s if you indulge lightly. For roughly the same experience, you can switch to rechargeable e-cigarettes and save money in the long-run.
Your car is probably the second-most expensive thing you will ever buy (besides your house) and it continues to be expensive while you use it. You spend money on insurance, fuel, maintenance, tolls, and tickets. Worst of all, your car decreases in value the more you use it, so you are perpetually losing hundreds of dollars. Your city probably has a fair public transportation system, and your city definitely has paths for cycling, both of which cost less than your car.
Stop Paying Other People
Sometimes paying for services are absolutely necessary, like if a tornado rips through your home, most people would expect you to hire someone to fix it fast. However, usually, you don’t have to pay another person to fix your problems, which means you can save some money learning how to do things yourself. Routine repairs and maintenance tasks don’t take much effort, and you can save hundreds of dollars per job. Still, you should know when a task is out of your reach.
Stop Paying for Media
More likely than not, you can’t count on one hand the number of subscription media services you use. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Hulu, the New York Times, and so many more require fees for full access, and their prices usually seem reasonable enough. However, if you don’t use these media often, you are wasting your money on services you don’t even use. For one week, you should keep track of the media you consume, and unsubscribe from the rest.