Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2013
Having a hard time saving money each month? Join the millions of individuals nationwide who face the same issue.
A survey by Bankrate.com indicated that 27 percent of Americans do not have an emergency fund in place — no rainy-day fund at all.
When it comes to saving, I’ve heard every excuse in the book. Some think they don’t make enough while others aren’t willing to give up the little luxuries they’ve grown to love over the years. And some have fallen so far behind on bills that they are robbing Peter to pay Paul each month just to survive.
Bottom line: It’s not how much you make, but how you spend it.
Here are nine simple tips to help you scrape up $100 or more per month:
1. Get an all-inclusive cellphone plan
Tired of paying $100 or more per month for your cellphone? Switch to an all-inclusive cellphone plan. Providers such as MetroPCS offer plans starting at only $40 per month that include unlimited talk, text and Internet. No longer do you have to worry about incurring fees for usage overages.
Monthly savings: $60.
2. Use the cash-back feature at the cash register
Each time you swipe your debit card at an out-of-network ATM, you’re probably accumulating a surcharge. According to Bankrate, the national average for this fee is $2.60. Make six withdrawals and you’ve just accumulated $15.60. To avoid this, select the cash-back option next time you are out shopping.
Monthly savings: $15.60.
3. Give yourself a mani and pedi
In my neck of the woods, manicure and pedicure combos cost anywhere from $25 to $30. It’s always nice to sit back and relax for an hour or so, but it can add up really quickly. Because of this, I recommend scaling back the number of visits per month and conducting an online search for ways to do it yourself. And, don’t forget about YouTube.
Monthly savings: $25 to $30.
4. Have girls/guys night in
As much as we could all use a break from time to time, a night out with the guys and gals can get costly. Even if you find restaurants with late-night specials, such as Applebee’s, you will still rack up a nice bill once you finish tacking on drinks and the tips. To avoid this expense, try a girls or guys night in. Have everyone bring a dish and pick up a movie from Redbox.
Monthly savings: $18.
5. Scrap the gym membership
Even if the membership is only $10 a month, like Youfit, search for free alternatives. Your local parks and recreation center may offer a variety of classes for you to take, free of charge. Not only will you save a few bucks, but you will meet new friends and spice up your workouts.
Monthly savings: $10 or more per month.
6. Pack your lunch twice a week
I am not going to go out on a limb and suggest that you pack your lunch every day, because it’s nice to step out of the office every now and then. However, if you spend an average of $10 a day on lunch, packing your lunch twice a week will result in a substantial amount of savings.
Monthly savings: $80.
7. Consign unwanted goods or have a yard sale
We all have those items sitting around the house collecting dust. If you’re looking to stash some money in an emergency fund, head on over to your local consignment shop. Some, such as Plato’s Closet, offer cash on the spot, while others make you wait until the item is sold to collect your cut. Either way, you create more room in your home while making money. Another alternative is to have a yard sale.
Monthly savings: varies.
8. Slash your grocery bill
Start by making small cuts to your grocery list and substituting generics for brand names. And never go to the store hungry, as this is a recipe for disaster. If you can shave off $10 a week, your wallet will thank you at the end of the month. See: “30 Tips to Save on Food.”
Monthly savings: $40.
9. Drop the cable
We all know that cable can be very costly. It is easy to spend $100 or more on the cable bill alone. However, there are cheaper alternatives, such as Netflix, Hulu and Redbox, that enable you to save a ton of money each month without missing out on your favorite shows and movies. Many of the networks also offer streaming after the fact on their websites.
Monthly savings: $50 or more.
Hopefully, you can use these tricks to start building up an emergency fund so your unexpected occurrences can stop turning into financial disasters.
What simple tips do you use to save money each month? Comment below or on our Facebook page.