Ok, so you want to save $1,000 but you’re not sure where to start..
Let’s break it down to help you hit this major goal.
First of all, $1K is a lot of money, even with all of this inflation going on…so let’s break it down into smaller chunks to make things more manageable.
Where can we cut out $250 chunks out of our budget to make the math work within 2 months?
I can think of a few major areas where you might be able to cut back quickly:
- Grocery Bill
- Subscriptions (Netflix, etc.)
Let’s start with the elephant in the room–the grocery bill!
Killing Your Crazy High Grocery Bill to Save $1K
Ok, let’s face it. When I’m at the grocery store, I got nuts with what I buy. After all, it’s a necessity, so I tend to give myself license to spend more freely than I would if I was at a restaurant (which these days, I’m not at much).
Let’s break down my example: I used to shop at either Walmart or a store called Winn-Dixie (which is mostly just in the southeast U.S.).
About 1 year ago, I noticed my grocery bill was creeping up to $700 to $800. This seemed really high to me for just two people (myself and my wife).
I decided I’d start shopping at a discount grocery option called Aldi, and just simply making that switch lowered my grocery bills from about $700 to around 400-$500 per month.
Focusing on where you shop can play a big difference in the amount you’re spending for basically the same items.
For example, I just paid about $3.70 or so for a pack of bagels at a store close to my house (Aldi’s was already closed).
That same pack of bagels goes for a meager $1.60 or so at Aldi’s. That’s more than 2 times as much for that one item.
It seems like a small difference when you think about one item, but if you start to apply those difference across your entire grocery budget–you’re going to start to notice big difference in your grocery budget like I did.
If you have as much success in making your switch as I did with groceries, you can expect to get around $200 worth of savings per month.
Over 2 months, that can get you to $400 of savings, which leaves us with needing to find an extra $600 over the course of two months to hit our goal.
Let’s keep it moving..
Cellphone Savings–The Magic $15 Cellphone Plan
I’m guilty of overpaying for cellphone service throughout my adult life.
I took an international trip to Canada, and upgraded my plan with ATT that included International coverage (and a free subscription to HBO Max).
When I got home, instead of canceling it I just kept it going–for 2 years…
I know, I know–what a boneheaded move.
Eventually I wised up and my mom told me about a killer offer for cellphone service that was only $15 per month.
Granted, I had to be careful with how much data I used, but after awhile I was able to change my behaviors and look for Wi-Fi more when I was out and about.
I was previously paying around $80 per month–so going down to $15 per month saved me a whopping $65 per month.
Assuming you could achieve similar results by downgrading your cellphone plan, you’d get an extra $130 over the course of 2 months.
That would bring us to saving $530 over the course of two months. We’re getting closer to our magic number!
Let’s see what else we can slice and dice to hit our goal..
Oh Boy–I love restaurants but my wallet hates it
So, I learned something recently…
I like getting out of the house and going places.
This used to mean my wife and I would go to restaurants frequently. I used to thing this was because I liked eating out.
In reality, I didn’t really care much about the food. I can most of the time make better food at home anyway.
What I liked was getting out of the house and doing something.
When I realized this, I transferred this behavior to coffee shops.
Even with the price of coffee going way up, you can still enjoy the joys of being out in public, and treating yourself–all for about 3 or 4 bucks (instead of 20-30 bucks for a full meal).
We used to spend a pretty large number on restaurants–around $300-400 per month all in.
Turning those meals out into Starbucks dates turned into a pretty massive savings.
These days, we spend more like $150 per month out.
Over the course of 2 months, that’s a savings of $500 by turning my “eating out” habit into a “tea/ coffee drinking out” habit.
We even took advantage of the unlimited drink offers at Panera bread which made the costs even less.
We still got out, and still enjoyed a nice treat–but we also saved a huge amount of money in the process.
If you’re keeping track, you’ll see that we just hit our number and saved $1030 in 2 months by tweaking our restaurant, grocery and cellphone habits.
While we’re here, I’ll talk about subscription payments as well since this was also on my list of items to attack.
Subscriptions – Netflix / Hulu / tons of other partially used things
I mentioned my obnoxious habit of keeping premium cellphone plans that I don’t need for way too long.
Another thing I’m guilty of is keeping subscriptions around that I don’t really use or partially use.
I’d challenge you to just cancel everything and see what you really can’t live without.
The ones you really use a lot, you’ll go through the effort of getting it back and re-subscribing.
The ones you didn’t really use and were just “collecting”–you won’t even remember them after awhile and that money will stay in your pocket.
If you chose to follow my “default no” method of managing your recurring subscriptions–you’d cancel everything, and maybe buy back the one or two that you really wanted.
This can be a great way to save money and a nice philosophy in life when thinking about cutting back on things not often used.