By Evan Vitale
Saving money seems to be an extremely difficult task for most Americans. Yes, we have daily, weekly and monthly living expenses that need to be taken care of, but we also like to eat out, drink fancy coffees, and enjoy some entertainment time.
However, there are many easy tips and ideas that can help you trim back a few expenses, allow you to enjoy your current lifestyle and start saving money for a rainy day.
Saving money begins with creating and following a budget. Keep track of your expenses and find out where the money is going. A friend of mine kept a receipt for every expense – including a soft drink in the drive-thru restaurant – so he could quickly figure out why (and where) his money was disappearing from his bank account so quickly.
Once you begin to track your expenses, then you can start planning on how to cut expenses and save some money at the same time. Think about this for a moment: If you were able to save only $10 per week, that’s $520 a year. Placing $20 into savings each week, is over $1,000 per year!
Start by trimming the fat little by little. You’ll probably quickly find out there are many expenses that you can trim in order to build up your savings account. Start with the easy ones:
Instead of buying two coffees per day, cut it back to one per day. If you’re drinking only one expensive coffee per day, consider taking your own “brew-it-at-home” coffee with you and treating yourself to an expensive coffee on a special day.
Take your lunch. You’ve probably heard this one before, but eating out can burn up the budget quickly. My budget-minded friend was spending $10 or more each day for lunch (that’s over $50 per week). Now, he takes his lunch to work four days a week and treats himself to a budget lunch every Friday.
Look at other expenses you can trim:
- Public transportation instead of driving to work (saving gasoline and parking fees).
- Renting DVDs instead of going to the movies.
- Trimming your cable television package.
Again, keep track of your expenses; create a budget and start saving some money for a rainy day!