10 Painless Ways to Ramp Up Your Savings

cup of coffee

Saving doesn’t have to feel like scrimping, and these quick tips to cut out a few small expenses can add up quickly.

  1. Skip the morning latte … except on Fridays.

    Stopping by the coffee shop for your morning pick-me-up may seem like a small perk, but if you’re paying $4* a day every weekday, this habit adds up to over $1,000 a year. Brew at home and make the coffee shop a special once-a-week treat.

    Monthly savings: $64 Savings over one year: $768

  2. Eat out one less night per week.

    A family of four can easily spend $50 for dinner at a local chain restaurant. If you can make dinner at home for $10, skipping the restaurant one time per week could put $40 back in your pocket.

    Monthly savings: $160 ($40 in savings x 4 weeks/month) Savings over one year: $1,920

  3. Hit the library instead of the bookstore.

    Your local library likely contains thousands of books you’ve never read, including some newer releases and eBooks. Buying just one less $15 paperback book** per month adds up to $180 saved per year.

    Monthly savings: $15 Savings over one year: $180

  4. Take your lunch to work three days per week.

    If you spend $11 a day on a restaurant meal at lunch, and you can bring your own lunch for around $6 a day, you could save $5 a day just by brown-bagging it. Commit to bringing your own lunch just 3 times per week and you could save more than $72 per month ($6/day in savings x 3 days/week x 4 weeks/month)!

    Monthly savings: $72 Savings over one year: $864

  5. Ditch the landline.

    If you spend $20 or more per month on a landline, yet you primarily use your cell phone to stay connected, this is another area ripe for cost savings. Consider the importance of having your own landline in a world of cell phones and inexpensive Internet phone programs.

    Possible monthly savings: $20 Savings over one year: $240

  6. Bottle your own water.

    Buying water for regular use is wasteful—both to your budget and the Earth! Even assuming you buy just one gallon per day (average cost $1.20***)—and you should be drinking more water—that’s still over $400 per year. Instead, invest in a reusable bottle and water filter if you prefer the taste of filtered water.

    Monthly savings: $36 ($1.20 cost of one day’s bottled water x 30 days in average month) Savings over one year: $432

  7. Watch must-see movies in the theater during matinee hours.

    Hitting a matinee for must-see movies often saves $3 or more over the cost of a full-price ticket. If you see two movies per month, this adds up to $72 worth of savings in a year, plus there’s typically less competition for seats!

    Monthly savings: $6 Savings over one year: $72

  8. Stick to water at restaurants.

    There’s nothing wrong with eating out occasionally, especially when you save money by forgoing big markups on drinks. If a soda is $2, a family of 4 can spend $8 in soda alone. Buying sodas with your restaurant meals just twice per month adds up to nearly $200 per year in beverages alone ($8 cost of soda x 2 times/month x 12 months/year = $192). Plus, water is a healthier option than most drinks you’re likely to find!

    Monthly savings: $16 Savings over one year: $192

  9. Wash your own car.

    Instead of driving to a car wash that charges $15 for a monthly wash, spend a little time outside on the next nice day and do the scrubbing yourself.

    Monthly savings: $15 Savings over one year: $180

  10. Swap babysitting duties with neighbors.

    Even with a good rate on a babysitter—say $10 per hour—4 hours of alone time with your significant other costs $40—and that’s before the price of dinner and a movie. Think about making a deal with a trusted neighbor to swap watching each other’s kids to give everyone some kid-free time just once a month for less.

    Monthly savings: $40 Savings over one year: $480

No matter how you decide to cut back on spending, Navy Federal Credit Union has the resources you need to help you reach your savings goals and be better prepared for your financial future. For more information, click here.

* According to FastFoodMenuPrices.com, the average cost of a venti latte at Starbucks is $4.15. This cost varies slightly across the U.S. Cost has been rounded to $4 for illustration purposes. ** Source: School Library Journal. Average price of a fiction trade paperback in 2014 was $15.52. Cost has been rounded to $15 for illustration purposes. *** Source: International Bottled Water Association.

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