In order to get our finances in control, it’s always best to try and reduce unnecessary expenses to free up extra money and put towards better use; our future. Sure, it may not seem that long since we were out of school and starting our career, and while retirement is sure to be the furthest from our minds right now, it’s actually a lot closer than you think, so before too much time goes by without the proper planning, it’s time to avoid spending money on overpriced items so you can have a few extra bucks each month.
Going to the Movies
When I was growing up it was a fun night out getting together with friends and going to the movies, really not even caring what we were seeing, just a reason to hang out. Now it seems that I struggle with sitting through mediocre movies that don’t interest me, so spending over $10 each to go, plus spending $14 on popcorn and soft drink, but close to $20 if you have something with alcohol. I like going to concerts for a couple hours of entertainment, but I guess movies just lose out these days.
Now picking up a case of water at the grocery store for $4 or $5 does not seem like much money at all. At least that’s better than buying a bottle from the vending machine at work. If that is only way of drinking water though it could get expensive if you are going through a couple cases a week. Sure, it’s good to have bottled water on hand at all times, but filling up a water cup to keep with you, is a great way to stay hydrated, and for free. If you are worried about water quality, try a filter.
Build Your Own Salads
It’s nice to be able to pick and choose what toppings you want to put on your salad at your company’s salad bar, but by the time you fill it up with what you like and set it on the scale, it could over $12. If you are looking for healthy salad options at lunch, you can skip the heavy toppings such as tomatoes, and replace with chicken, at least getting a protein source. Keep an eye about dressing as well, as that can add quite a bit to the bottom line as well.
Single Bottles of Drinks
We’re out and about so much it’s easy to stop into a gas station or liquor store and pick up soft drinks, sports drinks, or energy drinks. The problem is, you’ll pay up to a few dollars each. Depending on how your cravings go and how often, could be spending $20 a week on just drinks, while you could buy cases from the grocery store the could last a month. It’s always good to plan out meals, so while you’re packing your lunch, why not put in a drink in there at home.
Gas Station Snacks
While you’re in the habit of trying to reduce purchases on the go, it can also continue with snacks as well. While they’re not only bad on the wallet, they’re also unhealthy and tough on the waistline. You can buy a snack size bag of chips for a couple dollars, while you can buy a large bag at the grocery stores for the same price. If you can keep a stock on snacks at the house, having a little willpower to not eat them all, you can watch the savings add up.
Stopping for Morning Coffee
Coffee is a must in the morning, and maybe even a late afternoon picks me up to finish out the rest of the day, but without brewing at home to take on the road or getting free average at best coffee at work, but stopping in the drive-thru you run the risk of spending around $75 a month just on coffee. By buying your favorite brand at the grocery store and setting the timer, you can have fresh coffee every morning for a fraction of the price.
Speak of fraction of the price, one area you will notice a huge markup is greeting cards. Try going to a drugstore to buy, and you could be shocked to see greeting cards could run upwards or $6 a card. By going to a dollar store, you can stock up on a card, wrapping paper, tissue paper, or gift bag for the same price as what you would have paid only for the card at the drugstore. Once you get used to the savings, you will only shop at the dollar store for these items going forward.