Finance Friday – 5 Ways to Save $1,000 In 1 Year

If you could save a thousand dollars in a year by making a few changes to your weekly routine, would you give it a try?

At our house, with a wedding on the horizon and new home expenses, we have been making a concerted effort to save where we can.

These five lifestyle changes could save you up to $1,000 each per year.  And if you can do all five, you can probably afford that dream vacation, downpayment, or pesky credit card balance you’ve been chipping away at.

1. Check your coffee habits.  If you’re currently making a stop at your favorite coffee joint every day, you may want to evaluate the impact on your wallet.  I know it might be the best part of your morning, but hear me out.  You don’t have to cut out those coveted coffee trips completely.  If you cut back to 3 trips a week, with an average drink costing $5, you can save $1,040 in one year (assuming you are cutting out 4 days). You can still frequent your local coffee shop on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to dull the pain of the week. But for the other days do some coffee prep at home. You won’t regret it.

2. Reevaluate your cable & insurance bills.  I know how the cable fairytale begins… there is a great 1 year rate on a bundle deal, 6 months of free HBO, and sometimes even a prepaid gift card… before you know it you have a DVR/HDMI cable box in every room of the house and you’re all set to live happily ever after… until that 6 months to a year is up.  It’s not unusual to stop one day and wonder how your cable bill has sky rocketed to its current rate.  I know first hand how excruciating it is to call the cable company.  It seems like a chore just to get a real person on the phone, but if you play your cards right you will walk away with some extra dough in your pocket.

A cable representative can help you walk through all of your current options and identify areas you could cut costs.  Do you have 4 DVR boxes in rooms that you rarely use?  If your current options are already pretty lean, you can price out other companies and go to bat with your current company.  They  might give you what you’re looking for up front, but if they don’t, be prepared to walk away… or at least pretend you are.  Most companies will ask you what they can do to keep your business (within reason), and if they don’t they usually give you more than enough chances to re-install or change your mind before they will actually terminate your service.

At the very least, if HBO is an absolute must in your home, switching from the cable company to HBO Now will probably save you an easy $5 a month.

Another area with major savings potential is home and car insurance.  Here is a great article on switching car insurance.

3. Pack your lunch. Let’s say after meal, drink, and tip, the average cost of eating lunch at a restaurant is $10.  Now let’s also say that the average cost to pack a lunch is $3.  If you’re currently going out everyday at lunch, try packing or eating at home 3 days a week.  If you can pocket that extra cash you will have an extra $1,000 a year.

4. Replace one dinner out. In our household we have an intense love for pizza.  We would usually go out to eat one night a week for our favorite food group.  It’s actually kind of crazy how much a large pizza costs these days.  Say you go out to a restaurant and order a large one topping pizza with drinks, before you know it you’re $25 in the hole.  In our budget madness, we recently discovered that Wegmans sells 3 packs of pepperoni pizza in the frozen section for $10… and the best part… they’re actually pretty darn delicious.  With a savings of about $22 a week, you can easily save $1,000 a year on pizza alone.

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5. Evaluate all areas of spending.  If you can spot an opportunity in your lifestyle to save $20 a week, or around $80 a month you can pocket up to $1,000 in one year.

What would you do with an extra $1,000?

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