Save $100 (or More) This Month

posted 1/21/2015 in Banking

What would you do with an extra $100 a month, or $1,200 a year? You could use it to help pad your emergency savings, make an additional contribution to your retirement or use it to help pay down debt.

Most of us would love an extra $100 a month, but we think we have to get paid more to get it. The truth is, there are a number of ways you can cut your spending to save $100 or more every month.

Lincoln Saving Bank has come up with a few ways you can pocket a little extra change in different areas of your life. Take a look to see which ones appeal most to you.

Groceries

The average American family throws away 40 percent of their food every year, a shockingly high number considering the millions that go with one or less meals every day in our country. Here are a few ways you can reduce your food waste and how much you spend on groceries:

  • Plan your meals- this forces you to create a list, which in turn helps reduce needless spending.

  • Cook in bulk- bulk recipes can help you save money instead of making something new every day.

  • Compare prices- look closely at prices between brands and between stores.

Entertainment

We love being entertained, but it comes at a high cost when it’s all added up over time. There are plenty of less costly or free ways to entertain yourself. Take a look at these suggestions for ways to decrease what you spend on entertainment:

  • Drop cable for cheaper options- Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant are great alternatives.

  • No spend weekend- can you go an entire weekend without spending any money?

  • Look around for free entertainment options- community events or events at local colleges are often free for the public.

Energy

We are lucky enough to live in a country where we have heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, clean running water and sewage systems that work. Try these ways to reduce your energy usage and energy bill:

  • Be smart about usage- turn off lights, don’t leave water running and keep your thermostat set as low as you can tolerate.

  • Seal up cracks- most often found around windows and doors.

  • Program your thermostat- you don’t need to heat or cool the house when you’re not home.

Financial Approach

The way you approach your money has a huge impact on the way you spend it. Can you put any of these methods into practice to save more?

  • Go on a fiscal fast- how long can you go without spending any money?

  • Go cash only- it’s harder to part with your money when you’re holding cash, forcing you to make better decisions.

  • Keep your change- pool your change for a month, then take it to a coin counting machine to see what you have.

Make a Game out of it

Make a game out of saving money by rewarding yourself for good behavior.  Here’s a few ideas to make a game out of saving, and also perhaps create some better habits.

  • Skip the Starbucks (or other expensive) coffee/drink - It takes willpower to pass up the latte, but it will add up over the month.  Find a less expensive alternative drink and pay yourself $5 for each skipped premium drink. (you can still treat yourself once in a while)

  • Pay yourself for good behavior – are you trying to change a bad habit? Reward yourself for every time you achieve your desired behavior.  $4 seems about right for good behavior.

  • Trying to start a workout regimen or kick a soda habit? For every workout completed, pay yourself $3.  For every water rather than soda, pay yourself $2.

  • Pack a healthy snack rather than visiting the vending machine – take carrot sticks or an apple with you, and snack on that rather than dropping money in the vending machine.  Pay yourself $1 for each healthy snack alternative. 

Finally, be vigilant about what you are spending your money on. If it doesn’t serve a real purpose and you don’t have anywhere to keep it, you probably don’t need it. To learn what you can do with the money you save each month, come to Lincoln Savings Bank or learn more about our savings options.

We hope to see you soon!

Lincoln Savings Bank, member FDIC

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