Sales tactics are very clever. I've been sucked into buying many things because of clever sales people that have made a strong case as to why I should buy into their product or cause. They always get me at the fair with some stupid gadget or gimmick that I end up buying and never using, ultimately just taking up space in the house.
An old trick that is still widely used is to sell a product is by breaking down the cost to a daily charge. If the spokesperson for the Red Cross is looking for a monthly donations of $30 per month, you are likely to hear that you can support their cause for as little as approximately $1 per day, which actually sounds very doable when it's put in that perspective. But what it goes to show is how much a little bit each day can actually amount to. Over the course of 12 months, however, you are looking at a total cost of $360 per year.
Money Pits in Your Life
What I want to focus on today is how much you save when you don't spend that $1 or $2 per day, and the significance of $83.33 per month. This dollar amount might actually seem arbitrary, being that it's not a round number, but it is very specific. If someone was to spend $83.33 a month on something, which comes out to $2.74 a day, that person would have spent EXACLTY $1,000 throughout the year. $83 a month might not seem like a big deal, but the point is that it adds up, and adds up quickly. Would you like to have an additional $1,000 per year?
The fact is if you were intentional about cutting things out of your monthly budget, you would likely save a lot of money without sacrificing quality of life. A few things to consider cutting or getting a better deal on:
Television: Internet TV is becoming a big thing. Netflix and Hulu are big threats to local, traditional TV providers. If you can deal without having sports, you can cut your cable bill completely, which could be $83.33 or much more a month. And as far as news, nowadays, you can get news and video feeds of everything that is on TV pretty much right on the Internet. But even if you keep your cable, consider calling your local provider and telling them they are charging too much and there are much cheaper options for you out there that you are considering.You could easily get $10-50a month off of your bill, even without lowering the monthly package.
Internet: We live in an age where internet is needed, so I wouldn't suggest cancelling your service unless you absolutely needed to for financial reasons. But consider shopping around for the best prices in your area. If not, just be sure to call your local provider and ask them for a discount as well. You will likely get one.
Cell phone: This is the same as Internet, in my opinion. It's a requirement now to have a phone if you want to be a valuable, contributing member of society, so shop prices and understand that the difference of $30 per month adds up to $360 per year.
Cars: This is a controversial subject. Some will say you should never go into debt to buy a car, and that you should just buy a clunker for the time being if you can't afford a nicer used car or a new car. What I like to focus on is cost per year in whatever I'm looking at. There are obviously risks when buying a clunker, such as it breaking down, and not being able to trust it when driving more than 5 miles away from your house. Paying a premium to drive something newer and nicer is worth considering. As far as paying for your car up-front or over the course of few years, I do see the value in not having a monthly obligation, but as far as costs go, I'd still look at my yearly cost and consider what sort of deal I'm actually getting. The fact is if you paid $20,000 for a car up-front and it craps out after a year, that car cost you $20,000 that year to drive, not counting gas and maintenance. If it lasts two years, then it was a $10,000 cost a year. Of course, if you finance it, it will be slightly more. I have had cars that have cost me less than $500 per year based on what I paid for it and what I sold it for at the end.If you really analyze your car situation, you are very likely to save $83.33 or more per month all in this one area.
Gym membership: Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate it down... If you are someone that enjoys to workout elsewhere that's free, that’s even better for your finances.
Food: This is a huge money pit. If you spend $3 a meal and eat three times a day, as most people do at a minimum, not even counting snacks, that is a cost of $3,285 per year. That is truly bare minimum, and I would venture to say that most families spend between $600-$1000 per month on food when you take into consideration the times you spend $5-$20 on a meal per person. Being intentional on a regular basis on how much money is flowing out on food can save thousands per year. Because food is something that is bought in such small quantities throughout the month, most people have no idea what they are spending on it. I encourage you to monitor it and cut corners where you can. I know families that feed their families on as low as $250 per month, and know families that spend north of $1,000 per month. That's a difference of $9,000 a year. It takes intentional actions to save that kind of money.
Vacationing: This is another area that can add up quickly. If you aren't making tons of money and $1,000 per year would make a difference to you, consider local trips and fully enjoy the things you have close by wherever it is you live. In some ways, I'm cursed because I live in California, and in other ways I'm blessed. I know so many people who live here who don't take advantage of simple trips that people pay thousands of dollars for when they fly across the country to comehere to do. I go to the mountains regularly to hike, I visit the beaches probably 10 times a year, and golf in the middle of the winter. These are all things that I can do very inexpensively because I live here. I encourage you to enjoy the things that your area offers, and substitute major, expensive trips with local things that will save you big bucks throughout the year.
Research: I've wasted so much money in my life buying things without researching the product more and having a better idea of what I'm actually buying. Take the time to know what you are getting, and be as certain as possible that what you are buying is what will satisfy the need or want in your life without having to spend money on another product.
Be bold: The final thing I want to share with you on ways to save money is asking the question, "Is that the best you can do for me?" You will be surprised how often you will get an additional savings on the things you are purchasing.
This list can go on and on... We can talk about other things around the house, pets, eating healthy to keep medical costs down, etc., but I think you get the point. Look for areas in your life where you can save $83.33 per month, and you will save thousands over the course of your life.
Chief Editor at CrushTheStreet.com