Saving $100 every week becomes $5,200 a year – and $52,000 over 10 years! It’s one of the simplest ways to get rich, and best of all, it’s surprisingly easy. A financial wizard from the Stanford Business School once gave me some great advice: “Do the math.” It’s not hard to overpay for luxury items when they’re purchased individually. But you’ll quickly see which items are wrecking your budget if you calculate their total cost for the month.
Do you want to have $100 more next week? Here’s how…
1. Avoid Restaurants
Even a meal at McDonalds will cost you $5 – and at nicer restaurant the bill will be $10 or even $20. (Think of it this way: while you’re eating their food, they’re eating your savings!) For me the biggest culprit was the lunchtime meal during work. The solution was finding a favorite food that I could take with me. And it’s a perfect example of doing the math – eating at a restaurant for five work days costs between $25 and $50.
2. Shop Smart
Even grocery food can be expensive – especially prepackaged dinners and snack foods. (I had a roommate in college who survived for a whole semester buying loaves of bread and enormous jars of peanut butter.) Shop carefully – it’s usually cheaper to buy things in the biggest size possible. And if an item’s on sale, stock up.
Everybody buys groceries – so there’s usually programs that help you save even more. For example, coupons can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. And it’s possible to save big with the “club card” programs offered by most supermarkets.
3. Stop Smoking
It’s the first thing politicians tax – and it’s got lots of hidden costs. Eventually cigarette smoking can lead to expensive health problems, but it also weakens the immune system, meaning it may ultimately burn up an entire eight-hour sick day. And ironically, buying cigarettes leads to other purchases – like cough medicine and breath mints!
4. Reduce Monthly Bills
I saved $20 a month by switching to a cheaper cell phone plan. And there’s also opportunities to save on your regular phone service. (Sometimes if you switch your long-distance carrier, a competing company will over you a hefty cash incentive to switch again!) It’s also possible to shop around for a better deal on internet service and even auto insurance. Several companies are competing for your business – so take advantage of the best offers!
5. Credit Cards
Millions of people carry credit card debt – and the monthly interest payments can be very expensive. Balance transfers may seem like a good idea, but make sure the “transfer fees” don’t offset the reduced interest rates. Balance transfers create a “delayed time-bomb” effect, since the low introductory rate can vanish before the balance is paid off. But there’s an even easier way to save money on credit card bills: call the card’s issuer and ask for a lower rate. They’re aware of the possibility of balance transfers, and will often offer the lowest possible rate rather than losing a customer altogether!
Once you develop the “saving habit,” it becomes easy to save $100 a week. Just keep telling yourself that it adds up to $5,200 a year, and $52,000 over 10 years. So if you want to get wealthy – just do the math!