Save Thousands by Cutting These 10 Everyday Expenses
The new year typically brings about many changes. People are more optimistic about fresh opportunities and are more motivated to leave bad habits behind. According to a GOBankingRates new year's resolution survey, Americans' No. 1 financial goal is saving money.
There are a number of ways to save money, but in the greater scheme of things, the fundamentals of saving money are simple: decrease your spending and increase your income (ideally at the same time). Re-evaluating your spending habits is the easier in many cases, but it can be hard to part with some habitual expenses. What you might not realize, however, is that most unnecessary expenses are misleading in their true costs. Cutting these 10 purchases from your budget will change the way you save money one day at a time, and put money back in your pocket over the course of the year.
1. Gourmet Coffee
Gourmet coffee shops like Starbucks (SBUX) can help give your workday a boost. A grande (16-ounce) brewed coffee costs about $2, which doesn't look like such a budget-blower with just one transaction. But routine pit stops at your favorite coffeehouse five days a week expose a financial sinkhole waiting to collapse. Cut them out, and you can save $10 a week, $520 a year (assuming you're still doing a weekday grande on vacation and holidays).
2. Specialty Cable Channels
Premium channels like HBO, Showtime and Starz help you keep up with your favorite programming, like "True Blood," "Dexter" and "Game of Thrones," but this kind of home entertainment also comes with a premium price tag. Depending on your cable provider and the premium channels added to your contract, the cost for just one channel can be as much as $18 per month. Add on the the required subscription for expanded basic cable, which the FCC states was an average of $64.41 in 2012, and the price paid for a night of television can cloud your eyes. You could save $82.41 a month (excluding taxes, fees and equipment charges), which is $988.92 a year.
While you might know that smoking cigarettes can lead to disastrous long-term health issues, it can also burn a hole through your budget. Smoking one pack of cigarettes a day at the cost of $6 per pack might appear to be affordable, but take a closer look at the numbers: $42 a week, $2,184 a year.
In 2013, working Americans spent an average of $36.17 each week on lunch, according to a survey by Workonomix. Clearly, leaving the brown bag at home can lead to financial consequences that eat at your savings fund. Factoring in vacations, holidays and what you bring from home, let's say you could still save $1,300 a year by brown-bagging.
5. Oil Changes
Some workers rely on their vehicles to get to work and earn a paycheck, which is why keeping your car maintained is important. Allocating time to perform routine oil changes, for example, can help the lifespan of your vehicle, but the labor costs involved can be steep. With a bill this high, you might as well learn how to make this a recurring DIY task. According to Edmunds, the majority of car manufacturers recommend having an oil change performed every 7,500 miles, but most quick-change oil companies, like Jiffy Lube, still tout the stone-age rule of thumb that an oil change is required every 3,000 miles. In its investigation, Edmunds representatives were charged $92.39 for a Mobil 1 oil change service. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that, on average, drivers commute 13,476 miles per year, meaning that those who adhere to the 3,000-mile recommendation can look forward to nearly five service bills in one year. Buy the oil and filter, do the work yourself and cut it to just two changes a year, and you save about $325.
6. Bottled Water
Keeping hydrated is a good habit to uphold in the new year, but there are ways to save money on the cost of water. Purchasing bottled water can cause a drought in your savings, with a 24-pack of Nestlé (NSRGY) bottled water $5.98 at Sam's Club (WMT). Drink from the tap and save $310.96 a year.
7. Dog Grooming
Dogs can be beloved members of your family, and like yourself and other loved ones, they have grooming needs to ensure they remain pest-free and healthy. Booking the services of a professional groomer might be most convenient, but will keep your savings goals in the dog house. Costs for full grooming services depend on the size of your pet and coat type, with rates as high as $70 for a medium-sized dog. An expense this steep justifies spending a little more one-on-one time grooming your pet -- and saving $840 a year.
Despite there being no concrete consensus regarding whether daily multivitamins actually provide a health advantage, shoppers still buy into this expensive product. Drugstores sell a 100-count bottle of daily multivitamins for about $10, which works out to be $36.50 a year.
9. Salon Services
Maintaining your appearance is important and, in some professions, mandatory. However, scheduling a weekly touch-up appointment with your salon for a manicure and pedicure will cost you. An April survey by Centzy found that the average cost of a mani/pedi is $34.86, a luxury that quickly adds up -- to $1,812.72 -- if you have one every week.
10. Overdraft Fees
Median bank overdraft fees are about $30 per transgression, according to a GOBankingRates report. Keeping organized financial books can help you save $360 a year and get you on track with healthy financial habits for the long run.