Part of the Prepper Financial Series (see index at bottom)...
Not nickels and dimes, the following ideas may each save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.1- Stop smoking. In my home state of NC, a pack-a-day habit will cost you more than $2000 a year. In many other states the cost is much higher (due mainly to taxes). Think how much food storage or ammo you could buy this year just by not smoking. Or how much debt you could pay off.
2- Conquer your other addictions. It is not just smoking which is costly, but all addictions - alcohol, gambling, drugs, etc. Not only are they bad for your health (physical and emotional), but they wreck havoc on your financial life, too.
3- Brown bag your lunch. Many of us eat out for lurch during the week, but this can be costly, even if you stick to the fast food value meals. If you spend just $5 a lunch eating out (and you probably average more unless you truly do stick to the dollar menu at McDonald's), it will cost you over $1200 a year.
4- Skip the next version of your iPhone, iPad, and other electronic toys. It will cost you hundreds of dollars to impress people by having the absolute latest toy. Do you really care that much about impressing others? If so, why? Besides, in all honesty there is rarely hundreds of dollars worth of improvements from one version to the next. Make do with what you already have.
5- Drastically reduce your entertainment expenses. Watch a DVD at home instead of going to the movies. Get a library card (lots of free knowledge and entertainment). Have a family game night at home. Cut back on your cable/satellite TV package (going from the EVERYTHING INCLUDED package to a more basic package could save you more than $100/month, $1200 a year).
6- Skip the expensive vacation. "Staycations" are the hot new trend anyway. Stay home, relax, play in the backyard, go on a picnic, visit local historical sites, art galleries, zoos, parks, and museums. Go fishing at a local lake. The savings will range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on your family size and what your normal vacation is.
7- Shop around for a better deal on your bank accounts. Fees vary widely between financial institutions. Be especially aware of over draft fees. Switching from a high cost mega-bank to a low cost credit union potentially could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Same goes for your car insurance, home owners insurance, and other financial products. If you haven't shopped around lately, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars worth of savings.
8- Don't ever take a pay-day loan. These loans are stunningly overpriced, and borrowers often get trapped into constantly taking out these loans each payday. If you really need short-term cash, talk to your bank or credit union. Many have started programs similar to pay-day loans, but with a much less expensive interest rates. If you really are desperate for a one-time short-term loan, take the uncomfortable step of asking a friend, family member, or even your church for help.
9- Avoid impulse purchases. Impulse purchases can really add up over the course of a year. Shop with a list, and stick to it. Pay with cash, not credit cards (this will make you immediately feel the impact of the purchase). Don't go shopping for entertainment. Don't shop with friends (friends tend to talk each other into things, not out of them). Avoid watching the home shopping channels. Throw away junk mail unopened. Don't browse catalogs unless looking for something specific that you actually need.
10- Drop the gym bill. Unless you are a professional bodybuilder, there are cheaper ways to get the exercise you need. Walk, ride a bike, go hiking on the weekends, get an exercise DVD or two, do your own yard work (use a push mower), garden, buy a set of barbells or free weights (and use them), get a jump rope, do yoga at home (get a friend to join you)... Depending on what your gym charges, the potential savings is hundreds of dollars a year or more.
Bonus Tip: Here is a way to make some extra money, and declutter your life in the process - have a yard sale. Chances are, there is a lot of unused junk in your home that you could get rid of and make a few bucks in the process.
This article is part of an ongoing Prepper Financial Series. Here are the other articles in that series:
*** Foundational Advice: Eliminate Debt and Build Savings
*** Quick Financial Tips for Preppers (and Everyone Else)
*** How To Raise Money For Your Prepping Activities
*** Precious Metals and the Prepper
*** Taming the Family Budget
*** 18 Easy Ways to Save Money
*** Prepper's Guide to Junk Silver (article from 2014)
Future articles in the Prepper Financial Series will come out on an almost weekly basis, typically on Mondays.
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