Saving money and sticking to a budget is an important part of adulthood and living on your own. If you’re new to living on your own, or if you’ve just never really gotten the hang of budgets and money management, the beginning of the year is the perfect time to start making new habits and keeping track of your spending a little better. Sure you could read a self-help book or attend a conference, but why make things harder on yourself? Check out our previous blogs about saving on heating costs and saving on utility costs in general, then read on for some other easy tips to keep your monthly costs down.
Cut Back or Quit Vices
First, sit down and think about your monthly costs for a few minutes, then think about some of your habits. How often do you choose a sugary soda instead of a (free) water while eating out? What about just eating out in general, whether it’s fast food for lunch or a sit-down restaurant for dinner? You should also think about more traditional vices like smoking and drinking, and consider cutting back or quitting cold turkey. Try only drinking water during the week, for example. Your wallet, and your body, will thank you.
Check Out Free Local Events
There’s no denying KCMO is a great place to live. No matter what day of the week or time of the year there’s something going on here. While it would be easy to blow the bank on expensive outings every weekend, there are also plenty of cheap or free events going on, too! Do a quick internet search or go to a site like Visit KC for some ideas. Also keep an eye out for resident events put on by your apartment community. Make sure you’re following the Facebook and Instagram pages so you don’t miss out!
There are certain items that aren’t quite the same generic, but most items honestly aren’t worth the extra money that comes with the name brand. If you take the few extra seconds in the grocery aisle to compare prices before putting it in your cart, you’ll see that extra change add up as savings at the register. If you’re more of an online shopper you can check out sites like Brandless or Boxed that take the ideas of generic brands and bulk buying, respectively, and conveniently delivers the goods straight to your door.
Make Coffee at Home
You may not think much of that $3 cup of black coffee you get on your way to work (or $5 specialty coffee), but that much-needed caffeine boost can really add up. If you purchase a cup of joe every day you’re easily looking at $60-100/month or $720-1200/year in coffee alone. Take the extra time as you’re getting ready to brew your own, or stop by your apartment community’s clubhouse and take advantage of their coffee maker if they have one. That way you don’t even have to pay for the beans or pods!