Couponing and searching for sales are great ways to save money. True frugalistas know that you must take a multi-pronged approach to cutting down on your expenses. One way to do this is to review your everyday expenses around the household and work. Here are some areas where you could save yourself money:
1. Cable, Telephone, Internet Service
Have you checked your cable bill lately? Many households pay over $150 per month for their cable service service. The question is, do you really need all these services? Try ‘cutting the cord’ from big cable TV. You can use Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV to view hundreds of television shows direct. Talk to your cable company about whether your prices. If all else fails, they may be willing to negotiate in order to not lose a customer.
Tip: Many people are cancelling their cable TV service in favor of online streaming services. This means that threatening to cancel your cable TV may not motivate your cable company to offer you a special deal. Internet seems to be the weakness for cable companies. If you want to get a better deal, call up your provider and tell them that you are considering cancelling your Internet service. You are far more likely to get a counteroffer that is far less than what you are currently paying.
2. Car Ownership
For some people, owning a car is an absolute necessity. But, if you live and work in a large city that has an extensive public transit system, car ownership may not be a wise decision. In addition to the cost of car payments and insurance, you must pay for maintenance, parking and the occasional ticket. Do the math: You may save yourself a lot of money by using public transportation or taking advantage of a car sharing service (such as Zip Car).
3. Public Transit
While using public transportation is often more economical than driving, you may still be paying a lot for bus and train tickets. Take a few minutes to review what you are paying each month for public transit fares. Then, compare it to the cost of weekly, monthly and multiple-ride passes. These passes may be a better deal even though they carry a higher initial price.
If you have a pass and don’t ride public transit that often, you may be wasting money. Look into a 10-ride pass as an alternative to weekly or monthly options. Or, perhaps you would be better off ditching the long term pass and paying for each individual ride since you use the public transportation system so infrequently.
Finally, ask your human resources manager if your company offers a transit benefit. This allows you to pay for a transit pass via payroll deduction. The money you spend on transit passes then qualify for a transit pass payroll deduction program through your employer. These programs can save you money on your tax bill and reduce your overall expenses.
4. Buying Food and Beverages at Work
Starbucks runs, vending machine purchases, and eating out everyday takes a huge toll on your bank account. While occasionally joining coworkers for coffee breaks or lunches is OK, frugality dictates that you limit these expenses.
The most straightforward way of reducing your budget for workplace food is making your own lunches and bringing them in. You can also bring snacks and beverages in to work. The trick is to plan ahead:
- Buy compartmentalized lunch boxes for easy organization and portion control.
- Buy your sodas and snacks in bulk and store them at your desk.
- Make lunchtime foods at home and freeze them in single-portion size, microwave-safe containers.