In the last few months, I’ve started to get the savings bug. What that means is I love saving money and watching my bank balance grow. But, to increase those savings every month, I’ve made spending cuts in other places. I live in Thailand, where the bad economy isn’t as bad as in America yet, so some of these spending cuts are easy to do. Even in America or Europe though, you’ll find you can do most of these too, enabling you to save more money, a necessity in this bad economy.
Cut Out The Expensive Lattes – Up until last month, I bought at least one latte every day, sometimes even two. By cutting out around four lattes a week, which still leaves me with four or five, I’m saving $8 every week ($32 a month). Now, that’s Thai price. In America, you would save at least $16 a week by cutting out a few lattes. That’s $64 a month that you can put into your savings account – just 4 lattes a week, that’s all it takes.
I now make my lattes at work four days a week (we have an espresso machine). If your workplace doesn’t have that, drink regular coffee. Not only will it be cheaper, but you’re consuming fewer calories too.
Take Public Transportation – I’m lucky, I live in Thailand where public transportation is everywhere and it’s cheap. Recently, I cut down on taking all the taxis I take (I take two taxis a day, but in Thailand that’s still only $4 a day) and now only take one taxi a day. I eliminated the second taxi and now I take a motorcycle taxi instead (that’s hopping on the back of a motorbike that takes me to my destination). At 80 cents a trip instead of $2, I’m saving $1.20 per day ($6 a week, $24 a month) and it’s actually faster.
I also sometimes take the bus, which is even cheaper. You can do the same. Cut out the car, stop taking taxis and instead take the bus, or the local train to and from work. Or, even better, walk. In the US, if you leave the car in the garage, every month that will save you upwards of $100 to $200 in gas, maintenance costs and parking fees.
Shop at Markets, Not Supermarkets – In Thailand, we have markets on every street corner. I’ve stopped buying daily vegetables for my rabbits at the supermarket and now I get them at the market. I save at least $1 a day ($30 a month) and the vegetables are actually healthier (less pesticides) and fresher. You too can buy vegetables and fruit in the US at local markets.
Farmers’ markets are in many cities and towns, they sell a lot of organic produce, and their prices are cheaper than many supermarkets. You’re also buying direct from local farmers, thus helping the little guy instead of the mega-supermarkets, and saving money every month. A good thing, especially in a bad economy.
Cut Down on Spending on Pet Food – A lot of people spend loads of money on food for their pets. Spend less on premium brands and more on cheaper brands, or cut down their portions a little bit (if your pets are like my rabbits, they could definitely eat a lot less and still be healthy). I’ve cut down from spending $120 a month on my four rabbits to $75 a month, and they’re still too fat! Again, money going into my savings account every month.
Buy Cheaper Store Brands – Again, I’m lucky, I live in Thailand where food is incredibly cheap. An average meal at a food stall is only $1, so it’s easy for one person to live on less than $100 a month, and no need to cook!
Even in the US though, you can still save money on food. If you buy store brands instead of premium brands when you shop, you can save upwards of $100 a month, depending on how many people you’re feeding. In many cases, store brands not only taste the same, they are the same as they’re made in the same factories, so all you’re paying for with premium brands is packaging. Cut out some of the premium brands, and you too will have more money to save every month.
As the US economy is projected to get worse, and more and more people will lose their jobs, it would behoove most Americans to start saving some money now. If the economy does continue to get worse, at least you’ll have the comfort of knowing you have savings in the bank to fall back on if the worst case scenario happens to you.