What could you do with $324?
Yes, I've finally accomplished a goal I set out to achieve long ago. I finally convinced my wife to cut my hair.
For someone like myself, who is constantly trying to find ways to make their money work harder, this is an excellent way to squeeze extra dollars out of the monthly budget which can be otherwise used to increase savings or pay down debt. By cutting out an $18 biweekly haircut at the local Hair Cuttery, I've managed to save approximately $324 throughout the rest of the year. (which is great right now because I really want to purchase an iPad2)
So what can you find in your budget to save $324 extra bucks to pay down debt, increase savings, or use towards your own iPad? Here are ten things you can do today to make sure you save $324 or more by the end of the year.
1) Cancel your newspaper or magazine subscription: Perhaps one of the easiest ways to save a few bucks right away is to cancel your newspaper or other subscriptions. Nowadays you can get much of the same content for free online through various news sources and other websites. If you live close to a library you can typically find recent newspapers and magazines there in additions to countless copies of books, videos and music. The library is a great way to save if you are constantly consuming media and book content.
2) Get rid of your premium cable channels: One of my happiest moments within the last year was the moment I said goodbye to HBO and replaced it with Netflix. Many of the shows and movies I liked to watch on HBO were on Netflix and I even saved $5-6 by switching. It helped my budget and my patience, since I often had trouble getting my HBO on demand to work. If you have more than one premium channel, you can potentially save even more.
3) Mow your own lawn: Here you can probably save more than $324 by the end of the year. If you pay for a lawn service, you're probably paying from $50-$100/month to have your lawn manicured. Cancel the service, locate and purchase some used lawn equipment in your local neighborhood or perhaps Craigslist and you'll be on your way to saving buku bucks by the end of the year.
4) Bring your lunch instead of eating out: Instead of eating out every day, get out of bed early and make a sandwich. You could also prepare a lunch the night before and take that lunch with you to work the next day. If you're spending $7 a day, it means you're spending $1750 in a given year just on lunches. If you skip even three months worth, you'll save $420!
5) Make things like your own laundry detergent, or soap: There are so many things you can make to save you money throughout the year such as laundry detergent. A simple formula can wind up saving you quite a bit over a year, just like growing your own tomatoes or baking your own bread can save money as well prove to be healthier options.
6) Save on electricity by turning your lights off or running your AC less: If you leave your lights on and fans running when you leave the room or constantly hear your AC running when it's nice enough outside to open the windows, take a moment to shut them off. Wasted electricity or water, if you have a leaking toilet for example, represents your hard earned dollars literally being sucked down the drain. By becoming more efficient at home you may easily save your $324 by the end of the year.
7) Break a bad habit such as smoking, or online gambling: Expensive habits such as smoking or drinking can be a huge drain on your financial situation. Eliminating an expensive habit can quickly improve your financial situation while also improving your health (which can also improve your financial situation by reducing health care costs). It doesn’t have to be smoking or drinking either—habits such as online-gaming or shopping in general can prove to be expensive habits that prohibit financial health. Breaking such a habit can prove to be invaluable to getting your finances back on track.
8) Skip your daily visit to Five Bucks (Starbucks!): It's tough to break a habit, especially if it's one that helps you get out of bed and moving in the morning. Consider that if you stop just twice a week at Starbucks or your other favorite coffee shop, spending roughly $10 a week, you are spending more than $475 a year! That's quite a bit of moola when you consider the weeks where you stop three, four, or five times.
9) Cut down on expensive hobbies: Are you engaged in a hobby that requires a lot of financial upkeep, like golf or collecting? Instead of continuing to spend on your hobby, watching it drain all your hard earned cash, try to find another activity you enjoy that doesn't require so much upkeep cost. Perhaps exercising or reading a good book will do the job. With a library card you can read all you like for a few bucks a year.
10) Stop trying to keep up with the Johnsons: Perhaps one of the easiest things to do to help you save $324 is to avoid trying to keep up with the Johnsons. Do you find the need to purchase the latest clothes, shoes, video games, cars, boats, or whatever else that your friends or neighbors buy? Well take a page out of any financial book and try to live like no others do, so you can live (debt free) like no others do. Chances are by skipping the latest fad you can increase your savings in no time.
So whether you decide to try one or all of these suggestions, know that there are plenty of ways to save a few bucks here or there to help make your financial goals a reality. For me, the latest was the simple act of asking my wife to cut my hair and her lovingly accepting the challenge. By eliminating haircuts from our budget we will save $324 by the end of the year which can gladly be use for something else. Now I'm off to try to locate an iPad2--Does anyone know a store that isn't sold out?
What could you do with $324? Leave a comment and let me know.