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Cutting out unnecessary expenses doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the things you love! With these tweaks to your spending habits, you can still drink nice coffee every day and pamper yourself at the salon, but you’ll be saving money by doing it differently.
You should also read through my post on how to make extra money from home if you are looking to increase your savings!
Here are some of my favorite money-saving hacks!
1. DIY Your Expensive Latte
Save $400 per year ditching your fancy coffee twice a week.
While this is an obvious one, so many people don’t realize just how easy it is to make your fancy lattes at home for a fraction of the cost.
I spent 5 years working at a cafe throughout my time in high school and university and let me tell you – making your own decadent drinks at home is really easy.
To make espresso you’ll need:
- quality espresso beans (I recommend buying these at your local coffee shop and getting them to grind them for you. If you prefer to grind them fresh for each use, you will need to pick up a bean grinder
- an AeroPress
Next, you’ll need to get something to give your milk that foamy texture because the two most important things when creating cafe-quality coffee is the quality of your beans and the foamy milk!
Warming your milk up in the microwave won’t cut it. What sets cafe drinks apart from home drinks is their foamy deliciousness.
Using a milk frother can help give your lattes that yummy foam (I personally LOVE this Nespresso one). It does both hot and cold beverages and gives you decadent foam with steamy hot milk.
Now, you can stop here and have your lattes for cents! Or, you can go one step further and flavor your coffee by adding different shots of flavor, which you can likely find at your local grocery store.
You can use anything you have at your home, however, including honey, sugar, maple syrup, pancake syrup (try it, it’s delish), cinnamon, vanilla…you can even make your own pumpkin spice latte with real pumpkin!
Now, if you want to actually own an espresso machine and get a bit fancier than a milk frother, this is the espresso machine I own and for the price point, it was absolutely worth it! I’ve had it for a few years and have never had any issues. And if you’re a fan of the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, it’s the same one that Sheldon and Leonard have in their apartment. If it’s good enough for Sheldon Cooper, it’s good enough for me!
2. Adjust Your Eating Habits
Save $1,560 per year ditching your dined-out lunch twice a week
I always packed my lunch when I worked in an office. And most people couldn’t believe how little I’d dine out.
Eating at a restaurant is expensive. It adds up quickly. By the time you order your food, plus a drink and a tip, you’ve likely spent over $15. And that’s on the lower end of things.
If you do that twice a week, you’re spending at least a couple thousand just on lunches!
Not to mention, packing your own food can also help you be much healthier as you can control everything that you will be eating.
You don’t need to cut dining-out out of your lifestyle completely, but scale back and replace restaurant meals with homemade meals instead.
If you have a guilty pleasure that you can’t live with (for me and my husband it’s sushi) learn how to make it yourself!
Where I live, a sushi lunch at a normal all-you-can-eat will cost nearly $100 for two people (it’s not cheap here in Denmark). So instead, we learned to make our own vegetarian sushi that costs us less than $10 for a full meal. Occasionally, we will order take-out for a small order of salmon sushi and sashimi to compliment our vegetarian sushi every once in a while.
You can search up recipes for your favorite dishes and re-create them at home for a fraction of the price.
3. Go to Schools For Professional Services
Save upwards of $500 by attending schools for various professional services
Lots of universities and schools offer services at a highly discounted rate. For example, you can go to a dentistry school and they can scale and polish your teeth.
It may take much longer, as the students are taking their time and making sure they don’t miss anything, but if you’re on a budget it can help save you tons!
I recently went to my local esthetics school and got several treatments done on my hair including cut, wash, style and a scalp treatment/massage and the total cost was 80% less than I would have paid at a salon!
Here is a list of things you can likely get done near you:
- teeth cleanings (such as scaling and polishing)
- lunch (culinary schools often serve up food)
4. Revise Your Gym Membership
Save $600-$1,200 per year by working out at home
Unless you have very specific goals, you could probably get by with having an at-home gym.
YouTube offers a TON of different workouts you can follow along with including:
- dance classes
- Free weights
- Bodyweight workouts
You name it, YouTube likely has it! And if prefer to use machines like the treadmill and the elliptical, try finding a nice running path or a set of stairs that you can run along.
This at-home workout set includes everything you need for a full-body workout and is a fraction of the cost of a gym membership.
Alternatively, you can get various items like:
- a yoga mat and do yoga each morning by following a YouTube video
- resistance band set for a full-body resistance workout
- exercise ball that doubles as something to sit on at your computer
- dumbells and barbells
Even if you purchased all of the above equipment, you are still spending way less than you would on an annual gym membership.
5. Keep an Indoor Garden
I love to cook and fresh spices, herbs and vegetables will give your dishes tons of flavor while saving you lots of cash. And if you plan to scrap dining out as frequently but still want flavorful meals, an indoor garden full of fresh herbs and veggies is going to make your body, taste buds and wallet happy!
Some vegetables that can be grown indoors include:
You can also grow things like rosemary, basil, ginger and even lemons!
This indoor garden has an LED light so your plants get the “sun” they need without having to be planted outside during winter months.
6. Use Online Shopping Browser Extensions
When shopping online, different browser extensions can help you find better deals and coupon codes so you aren’t spending extra on the items you are buying.
Here are a few you should check out to help with your online purchases:
7. Ditch the Bottled Water
Save $300 per year by cutting out bottled water three times per week
8. Get a Library Card
Save $500-700 per year by using a library card
I love to read but I certainly can’t be buying a brand new book every week. While that brand-new book smell is unparalleled, you’re still getting the same story whether the book is used or not.
Library cards are fairly affordable and in some cities are even free. They also come with a bunch of other benefits! My municipal library offers:
- networking events
- free workshops
- a free membership to www.lynda.com to take online courses for free
My library membership has saved me thousands over the years. I only buy books when I can’t get them in from the library or the waitlist is absurdly long!
9. Cancel Your Cable
Save upwards of $1,000 per year
Cable is one of those things that really isn’t necessary anymore. You can get your news online and you can sign up for Netflix to watch movies and TV shows. Many TV networks also upload their shows to their websites a couple of days after they air.
10. Eat Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they are in season! Lower your grocery bill by eating items that are in season.
With the above tips, you can easily save a couple of thousand dollars each year to pay of debt, save for a rainy day or treat yourself to a nice vacation! You don’t need to implement all of these strategies to the full extent; doing a little bit at a time can still have a big impact on your bottom line.
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