I’m definitely not a fan of the ‘cut the daily latte out of your budget and you will save 1000s of dollars a year’ advice, (after all, are any of you buying daily lattes? I’m not) but even so, there are savings to be made by re-examining things just a tiny bit.
If I examine my daily routine, I can see that there are 4 main areas in which I can tweak my routine ever so slightly- saving money and being more frugal in the process.
For example, if I serve even half a cup less of food on everybody’s plate (across all the different items served), no one really notices the difference in serving sizes yet there is then enough for an extra leftover meal. In fact, I’ve even started using measuring cups as serving spoons, and now I know more accurately the amount of food that is going to feed each person.
By cooking the same amounts of food, but serving less, I feed one more person, one more time. In other words, from an amount of food that would feed us dinner, I now get dinner and a leftover lunch. Not only is it healthier to eat less, but that’s a potential savings of â‚¬2.00 per meal (the average dinner chez nous costs â‚¬10 to buy and prepare), saving us hundreds of euros each year.
There are some things that it doesn’t really pay to buy full price, so I don’t. Cat litter, frozen vegetables and so on fall into this category. About two years ago I made the discovery that I, a self-confessed coffee addict, could drink the store brand coffee instead of the nice stuff. That was a major breakthrough, as the difference in price is quite substantial.
Lots of other things can be bought generic, or on price alone. The lower quality product does just a good a job as the higher end, although your tolerance for lower quality may differ from mine.
Have you tried driving a different way to work? What about trying a different mode of transport? Using your time more wisely can help save you money. For example, I often take the tram to school. It takes about the same time as driving, and costs about the same amount for a tram ticket as gas, but I can use the time to study, instead of thumping the steering wheel in frustration and shaking my fist at the other drivers.
Here’s another way to tweak the way you use time in order to gain some savings: try stretching out the time in between when you repeat tasks. If you wash your hair daily, try washing every other day (this is especially good if you can’t, or don’t want to, switch to a generic shampoo). If you go grocery shopping every seven days, try going every eight days and so on and so forth.
Do you use store advantage cards? Clip coupons? What about paying full price for clothes, or maybe buying them at thrift stores. What kind of interest or penalties are associated with your checking or savings accounts?
Sometimes a small change in habits, or a transfer from one account to another can save you (or earn you) lots of money. I recently received an offer from ING, where I have my savings account. If I deposited any amount of money, the interest rate on the account would be raised to 8% during three months. What a deal for very little effort!
How can you frugalize your routine? What changes have you made that have saved you money?