You’ve planned your budget for the year and clipped your coupons, and now you’re wondering—what’s next when it comes to saving a buck? We know life can get expensive, so we found 20 ways to put cash back into your wallet. From ditching the plastic water bottle to packing your own snacks, here’s how to save up to $5 a day, starting now.
1. Cancel subscriptions you don't use. You can use a service like Trim to automatically detect subscription charges and easily save up to $5 per day by canceling music, audiobook and tv streaming services, beauty boxes, magazine or newspaper subscriptions, water delivery services, etc.
2. Get a reusable water bottle. On average, a bottle of water costs around $1.50 (or more if you don't buy in bulk!). If you drink three or four a day, that's over $5 a day. Get an insulated water bottle, and start filling up on your own. Not only will you see immediate savings, but you'll help prevent plastic bottles from filling landfills and polluting oceans.
3. Look for free or cheap entertainment. There are plenty of ways to save while out and about with the kids. Take advantage of your zoo or museum membership, go to a park, hit up the library, look for free festivals and more.
4. Don't make expensive meals. Do your kids love seafood or filet mignon? Yeah, save those recipes for special occasions. Instead, use ingredients that'll give you more bang for your buck. For example, these dinner ideas each cost $15 or less. For a family of four or more, that's $5 back in the bank every time you cook.
5. Eliminate one convenient thing from your routine. We know you'd rather send your clothes the dry cleaner than handwash them, and of course, a salon pedicure is always a treat, but eliminating these small items and doing the tasks at home, even once in a while, is guaranteed to save you money.
6. Pack your snacks. Whether you're at the park or the office, bring snacks from home with you, so you don't have to dole out dollars for overpriced packaged items (especially when you're at theme parks or other places that charge a small fortune for food).
7. Make your bread. Love a good sandwich for your midday meal? You'll save some serious dough by making some loaves at home. Check out these 26 six different bread recipes you can make at home.
8. Stay out of Target/Walmart/Costco. It's a given that the more often you wander the aisles of your favorite bulk store, the more often you'll end up with stuff you don't need. Try going once every other week. We guarantee your wallet will see the difference.
9. Go to your own bank's ATM. If you hit up a cash machine that isn't your bank, you'll get hit with a fee (sometimes it's almost $4!), plus, your bank charges you too. If you need cash, plan and stop by your bank.
10. Let those items sit in your shopping cart for one more day. We've all been guilty of loading up our online shopping carts with more than we need. If you hang tight for a day or two, it's a good chance you might decide against a few items.
11. Look for free workouts or work out at home. Sign up for the newsletters and subscribe to the Facebook pages of your favorite studios. They often offer promotions for new clients and discounts for bringing a friend. Or, check out some of our favorite (and free) 15-minute workouts for busy parents.
12. Bike/walk/take the bus to school/work. You'll save big on gas if you can bike to school (or work). If you don't live close enough to bike in, carpool with neighbors (or put your kids on the bus) and co-workers so you don't have to fuel up your car as often—and you'll also get to use the carpool lane––it's a win-win.
13. Make stuff in bulk. Make-ahead meals are as popular as ever, for both the time it saves on a busy weeknight and the budget-friendly portions you'll have in the freezer.
14. Shop without the kids. If you can, it's better to shop sans kids, who tend to toss unwanted items into the cart and make us all veer off course to spend money on things we don't want (or need) to buy.
15. Join your local Buy Nothing Facebook Group. Most neighborhoods now have a dedicated "Buy Nothing" group on Facebook. It's free and easy to join, and you can score serious deals by scrolling through the posts highlighting what other members are giving away. If there's no Buy Nothing group in your area, arrange a clothing swap with your friends.
16. Only shop for one week's worth of food at a time. Finance guru Tony Steuer suggests to "make a weekly menu and purchase only food you need. The average American household throws away over $2,000 of food each year, which besides being wasteful, is a lot of money. This works out to just over $6 a day."
17. Stash your cash. Whenever you pay in cash and get a $5 bill as change, stash it in a safe place. Cash tends to just disappear from our wallets, so you won't miss this money by putting it aside... and it will add up quickly!
18. Only eat out on discount nights. Lots of restaurants offer Kids Eat Free with an adult entree or a Taco Tuesday special.
19. Adjust your tax withholdings. If you claim more on your W-4, you'll get more back in your paycheck. From there, divert the savings into a high-yield savings account.
20. Look for avocados with an Apeel sticker. It's estimated that 40% of produce is wasted in the U.S. every year; this new plant-based layer protection helps fruits and veggies stay fresh longer. That means that less of the fresh produce you buy will go to waste. You can find Apeel-protected avocados, organic apples and limes at a thoughtful grocer near you.
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