Save an Extra $200 a Month

Reach any or all of your goals with some savvy money habits that net you an extra $200 a month in savings!

extra moneyYou may need an extra $200 in savings to get out of debt. You may want to save more to build a nest-egg. Maybe you want to retire early. It’s even possible that you just want to save money so that you can have a great holiday. Saving money is a key component of each of these goals.

Here are some great ideas to help you save. You can probably think of others. I have included an easy checklist to help you to save at least $200 each and every month.

✓ KEEP YOUR LOOSE CHANGE

loose-changeAlthough this one was great at one time, I find myself reaching for my card, unless I am making a really small purchase. That being said, each time you break a bill, stow away the leftover coins. Use a change jar and put all your leftover change in it each evening. Then, deposit your savings regularly.

✓ TAKE ADVANTAGE of AUTOMATIC BANK ACCOUNT TRANSFERS

Set up automatic transfers from your paycheck or checking account into your savings account. To get started with this habit, choose a small amount, such as $20, that you’ll never miss if you don’t see it. Increase the amount by $5 each month for a year. Your savings will grow automatically without any further attention from you! At the end of each month, I also move any money left over into our savings account.

✓ WALK, TAKE PUBLIC TRANSIT or BIKE to WORK

public transitGo green. Save on gas and parking fees. If you’re only a short ride from work, you can save money on parking fees, gas and car maintenance by simply riding a bike or walking.

If it’s a little further, public transit may be the answer. You many even find that public transit is faster than driving. Track your savings and put it into your savings account.

✓ EAT at HOME

home-cookingReduce, or quit entirely going to restaurants. Not only will this save you money, but you may even be enticed to eat healthier.

You may also want to try less expensive restaurants that frequently provide excellent value. Don’t forget to bring home the leftovers.

My wife and I never visited a restaurant for the first four years of our marriage. Once we were confident of our financial plan, we would have special meal every Sunday. If your family would suffer withdrawal symptoms, you may want to reward them once in a while with an extra fancy meal at home.

✓ BUY GENERIC

generic jeansWe all love the name brand cereals, cookies, and clothing, but buying generic brands can save you a lot of money in the long run. Be careful on this as I’ve noticed lately that some generics are more expensive than name brands. Some have disguised this by offering larger package sizes that cost more per unit than the name brand. While you are at it, watch for the giant size savings on name brands that cost more per unit than the regular size of that brand. Buy in bulk from the warehouse stores and if necessary, arrange split the cost with friends.

✓ SAVE MORE EVERY TIME YOU SHOP

Plan your weekly menu around your grocery store’s sales for each week. Make your shopping list before you check the ads, and buy items on your list. Normally, only buy items on your list, but watch for staples on sale, and stock up. Be frugal, but don’t waste $5 in gas to drive from store to store to save $2.

✓ NEVER PAY FULL PRICE

Buy items only when they’re on sale or if you can get a discount. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount on major purchases. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

✓ WORK OUT at HOME

home-workoutBy exercising at home instead of going to the gym, you can save at least $10-20 a week on gym memberships. Be careful on this one. You don’t want to accumulate debt to buy exercise equipment that you seldom or never use! You can see my current, full set of gym equipment on the left. Minus my runners of course.

Find a safe walking or running path and you will get a better workout than any treadmill. Unless you are addicted to weight lifting, a resistance band for a couple of dollars, will provide all the resistance exercise you need.

✓ CUT the CABLE

cut cableWith the high cost of cable TV, you could save $15 per week (or more) by using a digital antenna if you live in or near a larger city. Alternatively, you can find sources of TV channels online, or with devices like those available from ROKU or Amazon. Be sure to calculate the true savings before making the change.

✓ KICK the HABIT

Whether it’s smoking, going for a drink after work, grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning, getting fast-food for supper, or some other discretionary purchase, cutting down on some weekly spending habits will leave your bank account in a happier place.

Which spending habits will you cut down on? List them here and include your savings goal for the week for each item:

Example:
       Fast Food – pick up fast food only once this week/month.     $40

❏     ____________________________________________     ______

❏     ____________________________________________     ______

❏     ____________________________________________     ______

❏     ____________________________________________     ______

❏     ____________________________________________     ______

❏     ____________________________________________     ______

Use this checklist each week and watch your savings grow! Don’t forget to bank your savings.

Not sure how much you spend on discretionary purchases? Get Mr Idea’s Free Weekly Habit Tracker and find out.

As always, I am not a qualified financial advisor. I just relate financial management to my own experience which may not resemble yours at all. Advice is frequently worth exactly what you paid for it. Most of mine came from expensive experiences.

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