Here Are Some Tips To Save Some Money, By Cutting These Expenses
Managing a budget out of college can be a daunting task for those who are not used to keeping one. However, not creating a budget can have sometimes devastating consequences on your finances. You wind up overspending, which leaves you little or no money to put into savings or to contribute to your retirement accounts. It can also make buying a home more difficult.
If you’re a recent college grad and you always feel like you have more month at the end of your money, it’s time to get educated. Here are the 10 ways that you’re wasting your money and may not even know it.
1. Eating Out
According to CNBC, the number one thing that Americans waste their money on is eating out in restaurants.
On average, $2,787 was spent on restaurant takeouts and meals as recently as 2014. That’s compared to the almost $4,000 that Americans spent on groceries each year.
If you want to do away with an unnecessary expense, start eating at home. It’s either that, or pay the 300% markup that restaurants charge you on your food.
2. Food Waste
It’s easy to buy food and forget about it. And while it’s funny to joke about the science experiment that grew in your fridge, its effects on your wallet aren’t so funny.
Food waste counts as another big money drain for most people. This comes from forgetting what you have. Avoid food waste by storing your leftovers and eating them up. You can also organize your fridge so that things don’t get lost in the back of it.
Finally, only buy the food you need. For example, if you have a recipe that calls for two carrots, The Greatistrecommends buying the two loose carrots only. Don’t buy more than you need.
3. Credit Card Interest
According to The Motley Fool, almost 20% of people polled indicated that they waste money on credit card interest. One way to avoid credit card interest is to pay your credit cards in full each month. Most credit card companies will not charge you interest if you keep the balance paid off.
On average, a pack of cigarettes costs $7.00, depending on what state you live in. That means heavy smokers spend more than $200 a month on cigarettes. If you don’t have a desire to quit for your health, do it for your wallet. On the bright side, if you can give up this habit, you’ll end up with an extra million or two over the course of a lifetime.
Multiple trips to the movies or the game arcade or even to the local swimming pool add up. If you fit into this category, try participating in more free activities like movies in the park, hikes in the woods, or free museum days.
6. Alcohol and Bar Trips
Trips to bars eat up a big portion of your budget. For people just leaving college, it’s easy to allow old habits to die hard at times. However, if you can cut down your alcohol consumption, you’ll be drastically reducing this drain on your budget.
7. Buying Lunch at Work
USA Today reports that Americans spend about $20 weekly on lunches out. That adds up to more than $1,000 by the end of the year.
The average meal out costs around $11. The average prepared lunch is a little over $6. Prepare your lunch and save the $5 for a rainy day.
While you do have to buy clothing for work and other functions, there is no rule that suggests that you must buy brand new clothing. Shopping in outlet or second-hand stores will save you a ton.
So will choosing clothing that fits around a common color scheme. In other words, if your favorite colors are black, red, and white, only buy clothing in those colors. You can then mix and match your pieces to create more outfits for less money.
9. Air Conditioning and Heating
Heating and air conditioning costs can cost you a ton of money. To save some serious cash, try some energy-saving ideas like keeping your house closed up and dark during the summer. Only run your AC for a few hours in the morning.
To save cash in winter, burn your fireplace and bundle up in extra clothes and blankets.
10. Car/ Gas
Your car can be a big expense if you haven’t learned how to cut the expenses related to it. Be sure to always have it tuned up so that it burns gas more efficiently.
Or try to reduce the amount you drive it by carpooling with your coworkers or by taking the bus instead. Even better yet, give your heart and lungs a boost by walking or riding to work if you live close enough.
It’s important to note, too, that driving is said to be bad for your health over the long haul compared to taking public transportation. According to an article on the Business Insider, experts believe this has partly to do with the reduction of stress.
Driving can be stressful, but public transportation like the bus or train allows you to chat with your commuter friends, listen to books on tape, or get a bit of work done before the rush of the office hits you.