Saving Money 101 – A Penny Saved Can Help You Go A Long Way Towards Financial Freedom in 2016
Everyone would like to put more money into their savings, whether it be for retirement, a vacation or just so you have some money saved up in case of an unexpected expense like a car or home repair. In theory, it’s an easy thing to do, spend less and save more. In practice, however, it isn’t that simple.
To spend less, the first thing that comes to mind is giving things up that you know you don’t need, but is a little luxury you enjoy like going out to dinner or gourmet coffee each morning. But if you put your mind to it, you can have the best of both worlds. You don’t have to give up those little luxuries, you just have to enjoy them less often. Instead of going out to dinner or lunch five days a week, just cutting it down to three, and brown bagging it two days, you save money. Are you saving a fortune? No, of course not. But you are getting started on saving money. Take a moment to think about how much you spend eating lunch out every day. Most people are spending seven to ten dollars each time, unless they are going to the dollar menu at a fast food joint every day, which is seriously unhealthy. So just brown bagging it twice a week, you can save fourteen to twenty dollars a week. Sounds like nothing, right? Well at the end of the year, that adds up to $1500-$2000 a year, and that is a nice chunk of change.
Another way to save money in small amounts that add up quickly is through utilities you have some control over. Don’t turn your heat above 70 degrees when you are home, turn it down to 65 when you sleep or aren’t home, if you have oil or gas heat. Same thing goes for air conditioning. You don’t need to come home to what feels like a sauna, but you can keep it at 72 degrees when you aren’t home. The important thing about air conditioning is to keep the humidity down, so even if you turn the temperature lower because you want it colder when you are home, that time when you aren’t home, you keep the humidity out and so, it doesn’t feel as hot when you come home. Believe it or not, central air burns a lot more electricity than window units. Even if you shut the vents off in unused rooms, the cool air is still traveling through the ducts to those rooms, so you aren’t really saving electricity. With window units on the other hand, in the rooms you aren’t using or don’t use often, you can turn it off and keep the door closed.
Now if you have electric heat, it’s even easier, because typically each room is its own zone. So there are rooms you can keep the heat off completely and just don’t close the door, which will allow heat from the other rooms in. This is especially true in bathrooms. With electric heat, if you set the thermostat in your bathroom at 70 degrees and close the door, that room is going to be very warm. But if you don’t turn that thermostat on at all (except for the very cold weather where the pipes freezing might be a concern), and leave the door open just half way, the heat from the rest of the house will find its way into the bathroom, so when you go in there it isn’t freezing cold, but let’s face it, you can always turn the thermostat up thirty minutes or so before you are going to shower so the room is nice and warm, but the rest of the time, you simply aren’t spending much time in the bathroom.
Those are just two simple ways you can save small amounts of money without feeling like you are giving up the little luxuries you enjoy. Once you start seeing your savings account growing, chances are you will start thinking of other ways you can make painless cuts to your spending without feeling deprived.
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