In this article we’ll be looking at some habits and ways to shave off a substantial amount of money, making your earnings that much higher! Let’s look at 5 ways to save over $500 a month.
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5 Ways To Save Over $500 A Month
Sometime back, my husband and I sat at our desk, looking over our spending habits with some serious shock.
In an effort to get some goals lined out, I created a meticulous list of where our money was going each month. We were amazed.
We’d been living our lives, doing our thing, and hundreds–yes hundreds of dollars a month were slipping through our fingers.
My husband owns his own business. We’ve literally built it up from nothing. To see our seriously hard-earned money being spent like that… well, it didn’t sit well with either of us.
We dedicated ourselves to discussing our finances more often and created a stricter budget than we had been using. Within a matter of weeks, we saw a huge shift in our cash flow.
Here are some habits to either cut out or incorporate to bring in that extra money.
1: Eat At Home
How boring, right? Sure, until you sit down and calculate how much you’re spending. The national average of families eating out is around 3-5 times per week.
I won’t dissect numbers for that, but I can tell you what my husband and I discovered for ourselves.
We discovered that we ate out twice a week as a couple, maybe three times during a busy season. My husband, on the other hand, spends his day out of the house.
He often would grab a sub for lunch, or drive through somewhere, in a hurry and focused on the day.
Between the two of us, that was over $354 a month. What? Exactly. The average takeout dinner for us was around $22.
My husband’s quick little stops were racking up, too. This is on top of the hundreds we were spending on groceries!
If just the two of us spent that much money, how much does a family of 4 spend on average?
We immediately changed our habits. When my husband knew he couldn’t come home for lunch, I packed him a lunch to take on the road.
I began pinning delicious meals on Pinterest like crazy, and planning a weekly menu. I was able to plan our meals, do some meal prep for lunch, and still stick to our grocery budget. In fact, planning the menu made it that much easier!
2: Save Your Cans and Bottles
This one sounds so annoying, I know! We didn’t bother with it. We just tossed our cans into the recycle bin and forgot about them.
As a rule, we don’t keep soda in the house, so we are big sparkling water fans. I found a brand of sparkling water that is much less expensive than the popular name brands, so we are able to buy a few packs a month of water and drink it happily.
We decided after our big money shock that we’d save our cans, just to see how much we could get back.
I don’t like having bins and bags sitting everywhere, so I came up with a way to store our “can bag” in an out-of-the-way place.
My husband’s office is just off the dining area, and he has a roomy closet he doesn’t use. I took a 13-gallon trash bag and hung it on a sturdy hanger on the far side of the closet. We started tossing our cans in the “can bag” instead of in our recycle bin.
Once a bag is full, my husband takes it to a special place in the garage to wait for others. You’d be surprised to see how fast the bags fill up! It grew addicting!
Soon we began adding water bottles and other cans and bottles to the bag. Our first trip to the can recycling company with 5 bags yielded us $30! And, no, our cans weren’t crushed either.
Is It REALLY Worth It?
While that may not seem like a whole lot of return, think about it like this. You’re spending X amount of money on those sodas, waters, or canned beverages.
Why not get some money back? You’ll be surprised at how fast it adds up! We can easily get $40 worth of cans in two months. That’s $240 a year!
3: Wash Your Own Car
This one is another small biggie. I say that because it seems like such a small expense, but if you calculate the annual cost, you’ll be surprised at how much it adds up.
Remember, all of these tips may not feel like a lot individually, but add them all together and you’ll see something significant.
The average car wash is $15-$20, depending on where you go. Most people get their cars washed a couple times a month. A lot of families own more than one car.
If you have two cars for your family, and you’re getting them all washed twice a month, that’s easily $60-$80 a month.
A pail, towels, sponge, and car cleaning supplies will cost you a one-time expense of around $20 or so, with smaller purchases to replenish supplies throughout the year.
That’s a massive annual savings of hundreds of dollars!
4: Cut Out The Coffees
I simply don’t get this one. I’ve been at a store where I’ve seen a mom and her 4 children, all with their own coffee drinks. That had to cost over $30. I’ve also heard of people who drive through their coffee place every single day.
On the lower end, a coffee is $5-$6. If someone is getting a coffee on their way to work every day (let’s use a 5-day work week as an example), that’s $25-$30 a week on just coffee.
And let’s be real for a minute. That’s on the lower end. That’s also assuming a person only gets their coffee 5 times in the week. A huge percentage of people easily spend over $50 a week on their coffee.
That’s over $2500 a year. In coffee.
I know several people who took their money back into their own wallets. They purchased an espresso machine–a one-time expense–and for just a fraction of the cost to buy supplies, make their own specialty coffees, just how they want them.
None of them regret it. It saves them literally thousands a year, and they can make their favorite drinks exactly how they want.
5: Don’t Buy Groceries Without A Plan
As a mom, I can honestly say this one is huge. It’s so easy to head to the grocery store and start buying things with all the best intentions. I’ve done it countless times.
That’s when I looked at my spending habits and realized I was spending over $400 a month on groceries for two adults and one baby (who doesn’t eat that much food yet).
I realized that I was wasting money by just buying what looked good and by coming up with meals on the fly.
The worst part is that I ended up throwing out good food that spoiled. There is nothing sadder or more wasteful than tossing out food that you purchased but did not eat. It hurts my heart.
Plan Your Meals
By planning a weekly menu, you stay focused on just the items that you need. As you plan, create a list of all the ingredients that you need to purchase.
Yes, it requires a little bit more time to plan and perhaps more trips to the grocery store. But if it’s saving you $80-$100 a month (around $1000 a year or more), don’t you think it’s worth it?
We shaved our grocery budget from over $400 down to $300 a month. I’ve found ways to get it below that amount as well, but I haven’t committed to it monthly.
If you use grocery delivery services like InstaCart, calculate the cost of an annual membership. An annual membership will ensure you save on delivery fees, which add up quickly!
Using a grocery delivery service can easily add an extra $15-$20 per shopping trip. Beware that some grocery items may cost more through delivery services than purchasing them in-store.
Thanks for reading 5 Ways to Save Over $500 A Month! I hope this helps at least gain some ideas where you can cut spending or add habits that save you serious cash!
Did you like 5 Ways to Save Over $500 A Month? Check out my Ultimate Yard Sale Article for more ideas to make money!