Cutting a few non-necessities out of your life is one way to keep your wallet from following the stock market in terms of shrinking in value.
To find ways to save money, look at your daily spending patterns. As a creature of habit, my mornings consist of either a trip to the local bodega for a breakfast sandwich or a stop at the vending machine for breakfast in a bag.
Either step is unhealthy for both my diet and pocketbook. If you figure out where your money is going, you can determine how to keep it. For those who experience mental paralysis when it comes time to make a budget, here are a few spending habits to change to give your wallet a boost.
Ban Bottled Beverages
Get rid of the daily $1 water of soda. The hidden dangers of plastic might leave some questioning the beverage spending habit, but the positives of saving is the greatest incentive to change. Between the water cooler at work and the Brita at home, most people should be covered.
Value to Your Wallet:$365
Toss Disposable Training Pants for Cloth Underwear
I’m childless, but I recognize the cost of raising a child is expensive. And, while removing things like toys from your child’s life might be too painful, getting rid of pull-ups might be an easy tradeoff. Online a box of 108 medium-sized pull-ups cost $59.99. Let’s say your child uses three disposable pull-ups a day, for 52 weeks, that’s 1,092 pulls-up a year. You’ll need a little more than 10 boxes each potty training year, and that’ll cost you about $600. On the other hand, a pack of three cloth training pants costs $12.95 at Potty Training Concepts. There’s even water proof training pants for $7.95.
Value to Your Wallet:$587
Exchange Your Vending Machine Habit
The provider of snacks, beverages, lunch and a host of edible cravings, vending machines are everywhere. You can find them in a supermarket, at your job, at the airport, or even at the train station and they’re so temptingly convenient it’s hard to not cave in. Unfortunately, the convenience can become a costly habit. I make about one to two stops at the vending machine for stale chips or Twizzlers with a $0.60 price tag. That’s a $3 a work week habit.
Value to Your Wallet:$156
Ditch Cigarettes for a Patch
It’s always a great time to quit smoking, and the recession just offers more reasons to kick your habit. For New Yorkers, a pack of Marlboro cigarettes can cost you about $10, and a if you have 11-15 cigarettes a day habit, then your 4 packs a week could cost easily translate to $2,080 a year. Consider a patch when can cost around $20-40 for a two week kit, which is $1,040 for a year's supply.
Value to Your Wallet:$1,040
Lose the Gum
Mango flavored or peppermint it’s a chewing tasty habit that some, like me, have and the price tag is so small it barely registers when the sale is rung up. But, if you have a pack a week, you’re spending $52 a year for enjoyment that lasts as long as a stick of gum: That’s less than 5 minutes.
Value to Your Wallet:$52
Switch Dead-Tree Subscriptions for Web sites
Are you a magazine or newspaper aficionado? A New Yorker subscription could cost you $39.95 a year, and the Chicago Tribune costs about $16.25 per 13 weeks, which is about $64 for a year. That’s a price of $100 for a magazine and daily newspaper that are available online. Go through your subscriptions and determine if any have Web sites and consider moving towards free content.
Value to Your Wallet:$100
Every Thursday Common Cents looks at ways to cure common money problems. Write to Lyneka.email@example.com or place your story suggestions in the comment section below.