What constitutes ldquo;discretional incomerdquo; varies from person to person and situation to situationmdash;what you have to play with today might be far more than last year, thanks to that raise. When yoursquo;re saving for a big-ticket item like a house, discretionary income can really take a hit. Maybe your weekly outing to your favorite sushi spot doesnrsquo;t seem so necessary anymore Or, maybe you just need to come during Happy Hour. This is just one of the adjustments you can make to your life>
Your grande latter costs 3.65, and if you get it five days a week, every weekhellip;well, you really should go out and buy some Starbucks stock. You only order a grande coffee, you say? OK, 2.10 per day, five days a week, every week is over 500 a year. Even if you bought yourself a machine to make lattes at home and you have several options here, some for under 200, yoursquo;d still save a bundle overall.
Itrsquo;s just lunch, and itrsquo;s not like yoursquo;re going anywhere fancy, but all those meals can take a chunk out of your bank account and leave you scrambling for ways to make up the money. ldquo;If you go out for lunch Monday through Friday for a year, you might spend 10 a mealmdash;a pretty good deal at most dining establishments. This adds up to 50 weekly,rdquo; said Money Under 30. ldquo;Spend 50 a week on restaurant food, and in total yoursquo;re spending 2,500 per year, near the national average.rdquo;
Spend 50 on dinner a couple times a week, and thatrsquo;s another 5,200. Now consider that you only need a minimum of 3.5 percent for a down payment and the current median home value in the United States is 222,800. That means you need under 8,000 for your down payment, buthellip;ooooops You just spent it on sandwiches and pasta.
You probably think mainly in terms of gas and tolls when you consider how much yoursquo;re spending on your commute, and that certainly adds up. Can you negotiate a work from home scenario a few days a week? It can save you a bunchmdash;and save the wear and tear on your car and your nerves, too. But therersquo;s more to the commuting calculation. ldquo;The true cost of car commuting not only goes beyond what we spend to maintain a car each year, but what we could have done with that money to ensure a better future,rdquo; said Strong Towns. Check out this sobering infographic that will have you marching into your bossrsquo; office to discuss remote opportunities ASAP.
Want to save about 500 a year? Take New York Magazinersquo;s Ask the Strategistrsquo;s advice and use one of their 19 alternatives to dry cleaning, including using mesh laundry bags and specially formulated soap.
The average price of a car wash is about 7. Is just cutting out this activity and washing your car at home going to get you that down payment? Of course not. But every little bit helps, and the 364 yoursquo;ll save after a year of weekly washes can put you over the top or give you a cushion should moving expenses exceed your budget.
You could save 54 per month thatrsquo;s the average monthly payment of a gym membership across the country, not to mention the cost of your cute workout clothes and fancy shoes, by cancelling your gym membership. Instead, do these 25 great at-home exercises.
Cut the cord and save about 1,200 in a year. Of course, yoursquo;ll have to replace the cable with something, so yoursquo;ll likely be adding back some costs. ldquo;Assuming youre one of the 83 percent of consumers who pays for both TV and internet, switching to a web-based service shouldnt be too expensive,rdquo; said Mental Floss. ldquo;An Amazon Prime plan costs 99 a year, a basic Netflix subscription costs 132, and Hulu costs 96. Even if you spring for all three choices, youll still only be paying 327 annually, saving you about 875 if youre a former cable subscriber.rdquo;
The average cost of a movie ticket went up again last yearmdash;by 3.96 to 8.97. Of course, the ticket is just the beginning of the expense. A family of four can easily hit 100 when you add in popcorn and drinks and Red Vines. Since a trip to the movies is our familyrsquo;s favorite outing, we would never tell anyone to stop going. But, there are some ways to save. Money Crashers has a great rundown, including going to matinees, which are less expensive than evening shows, and buying at the box office instead of online so you save on the convenience fees. Another great tip is going with another family. If you buy a large popcorn, it usually comes with a free refill, which the concession stand will give you right away. Now you have two tubs of popcorn for half the cost.
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