Here’s some free advice. If you could save even $10 a day on little things, that $300 a month you’d have to save for retirement, or spend on a big thing! (Think: car payment.)
Here are some $10/day suggestions:
1. Avoid the Vending Machine
Let’s be honest — we’re all friends here. Your work vending machine is a hardcore habit, dispensing energy and cheer at lunch and during those 2:30 doldrums. And maybe, you know, on the way out the door.
Those sodas add up. How much do you pay each? $2.50? $3? Cut out one of them, or preferably all of them, and switch to water. It’s better for your endocrine system AND your wallet.
2. While You’re at It, Avoid Venti Coffee
A Starbucks Venti coffee costs $3. A Trenta (did you know that was a thing?) is $3.50. And a Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte is...you guessed it…$5. How many a day do you drink?
Switch them out for home-brew instead. You can get a whole bag of coffee beans for $5, and it will last you weeks. Even if you splurge and get that great-smelling bag of locally-roasted Peruvian blend at your fav coffee hangout, you’re probably paying around $10. It just doesn’t compare to that daily latte habit.
3. Skip Chinese Take-Out Night
We know how it goes: It’s late. You’re tired. Work was long. All you want is dinner, stat, so you call the Chinese place around the corner. 20 minutes later you’ve got yummy dumplings and one more set of chopsticks to add to your overflowing junk drawer.
But how much was that meal, really? The average U.S. family is three people. That’s three $10-ish entrees, three $2.50 drinks, and at least $5 in spring rolls if you’re doing it right. Plus tax. Plus tip. That’s over $50. In other words...you got it…just under $10 a day for a week, just for that one take-out night. So cut it out and cook in!
4. Get Discounted Gift Cards
We’re going to introduce you to the wide world of discounted online gift cards. It’s simple: buy two $50 gift cards to your two favorite stores for $45 each, and boom. $10 a day. Go grocery shopping at Target, bathing suit shopping at TJ Maxx, or things-that-go-beep-in-the-night shopping at Game Stop. Whatever. If you were going to buy it anyway, then buy it with a discounted gift card and save. (You’re welcome.)
5. Stop Drag Racing in Traffic (and If You Can, Skip the Traffic)
Your car is probably your biggest, or second-biggest, asset, and it’s expensive if you break it. A new set of tires usually costs north of $600 and a new transmission can be as much as $3,500. If you need both at the same time, you’ve just spent a little over $10 a day for a year.
So don’t drive like a drag racer. 8 a.m. traffic isn’t going to go any faster if you zoom around that slow guy in the left lane only to slam on brakes again in a quarter of a mile. Less braking means less wear on your (duh) breaks, less wear on your tires, and an easier ride for your transmission.
Even if you drive like a perfect gentleman, stop-and-go traffic is bad for your car. So if at all possible, consider going to work and coming home an hour later, or finding back-road workarounds to your highway commute.
6. Turn Off the Water (And Your Lights)
Let’s talk water. If you’re doing it right, you’re brushing your teeth for two to four minutes at a time. If you leave the faucet on while you do it, at two gallons a minute, that’s over four to eight gallons of water down the drain (pun SO intended). It’s doing nothing, going nowhere, and wasting money.
Fine, water only costs us pennies to the gallon. But electricity, heat and A/C? That’s a different story. It is possible to save $10 a day on utilities with proper temperature control, conservative electricity usage, and modifications to your home like caulking cracks in windows and doors.
Turn off lights when you leave rooms, turn off the faucet when it’s just running aimlessly, and turn down the A/C or the heat when you’re heading out of town. Like a responsible, money-saving adult.
7. You Probably Don’t Need 400 sports channels
Stop and think for a second: when’s the last time you watched the channels in the upper digits of your cable package?
Okay, so maybe you’re really into Japanese game shows, and if that’s you, whatever. It takes all kinds. But we’re betting most of you cable watchers have channels you keep around only for a few events a year, like the World Cup or the yearly It’s a Wonderful World marathon at Christmas.
Get rid of them. A (very) basic cable package could cost you as little as $20 a month. That’s $90 a month off the biggest package deal of the moment. Okay, so it’s not quite $10 a day in savings, but it’s substantial and it can add up quickly, especially combined with our other suggestions.
Or, go a little further. Get rid of cable entirely. We love a rebel. Many channels now stream some of their content, and there’s always Netflix, Amazon Fire, or Hulu. Crash your neighbor’s house for a GoT (or Bachelorette) viewing party. Watch live sports at bars with friends — it’s more fun that way anyway.
8. Buy Things Early
Commodities are time sensitive. Consider plane tickets and Christmas presents: prices for items that are tied to deadlines go up as those deadlines approach. So buy early. Our favorite trick? Buy next year’s Christmas presents this year — at the after-Christmas sales! You can save hundreds of dollars.
And the plane ticket thing can save you thousands. For instance, we just searched flights to Phuket, Thailand, for next week. They’re all in the $2,000 range. But for next April? A little over $1,000. Do that for a trip for two, and you’ve saved a bundle.
9. Actually Save $10 a Day
Here’s one way: Withdraw $10 from the bank and put it in a mason jar behind the flour in the kitchen. When it’s full, take a vacation. Or go deposit it back in savings. Or buy the kids back-to-school clothes. Whatever.
Here’s another way: Take another $10 out of your paycheck and automatically deposit it in savings. No, really. Go talk to HR right now. We’ll wait.
See? That wasn’t so hard. Tell us what your think in the comments section below.