As any experienced saver will tell you, one key to saving money is, as a necessary first step, knowing what your spending your money on the first place. In other words, to change bad spending habits, you have to be aware of areas that you tend to spend more than is you should. At the same time, however, spending doesn’t have to mean sacrificing activities that you enjoy. Think of saving like a weight-loss diet. For long-term results, the best way to save (and lose weight) is to strive for balance and to seek alternatives to bad habits, whether it’s in the realm of spending or food. Here are a few common areas in which I and many people I know tend to waste enormous amounts of money without even thinking about it. Included are suggested ways to moderate these money-drainers, so you can still enjoy closely-related alternatives without having to spend so much.
1. Eating out.
I know. You’ve heard it before. Eating out frequently is one of the most commonly cited money-drainers. But this is so for a reason we love to eat out. But as anyone knows, eating meals at restaurants on a regular basis is more than twice as expensive as dining in. Still, if you want the restaurant experience, and you don’t feel like cooking, a good option is to pick up ready, freshly made, family-style dinners at grocers like Whole Foods. It’s cheaper and healthier than going out and you don’t have to cook to enjoy something tasty and balanced.
2. Going to the movies.
While the cinema is a great social experience, it’s also a costly one. Adding up ticket prices, snack prices, transportation, and parking, the total comes out to a price that’s simply not worth it. Never fear, however. You can still have the full movie experience without going to the movies. All it takes is a little effort. Most movies in theaters can be found online for free. Once you’ve found your flick, get a PC or Mac TV adapter and plug the computer into your TV. Invite some friends or your sweetheart over, throw some popcorn in the microwave, and voila! You’ve got the cinema experience without the hefty price tag.
3. Bottled Water
Although a seemingly small percentage of your weekly expenditures, paying so regularly for such a basic necessity quickly adds up. What’s more, there are millions of bottled water varieties, some of which are outrageously priced, that make empty marketing claims to draw customers. Artisan water, flavored water, imported water from abroad you name it, it’s out there, and it’s out to drain your pocketbook. Tap water is perfectly healthy, it’s free, and if you buy a filter, it can taste just as good, too. Filtered tap water is a great alternative to its bottled counterparts, and it’s better for the environment, too.
4. Snack-sized packages.
Is there a difference between 12 baby carrots in an individual-sized package and a bag of carrots in which you take out 12? Not really, except the price. These little fun-sized, portioned snacks are way pricier than their alternatives, and they don’t really add that much convenience to your life. If you think that maybe you’ll lose some weight if you buy everything that’s already apportioned, think again. A new study indicates that those who purchase 100-carolie packs of snacks only end up eating more, not less. So do yourself a favor and skip the ad claims of convenience and easy weight loss. Buy in bulk and you’ll see how much you end up saving on what amounts to the same thing.
Don’t get me wrong accumulating money is successfully accomplished by mindfully setting aside funds each and every month, by investing, and by making wise decisions about your career. At the same time however, it only takes small leaks to sink a big ship. By being aware of smaller expenditures that you don’t realize you are spending so much on, you can make saving money a much easier and relatively painless process.
Angelita Williams writes on the topic of online college courses. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7 @gmail.com.