Hey gang – Happy 2015! So far, my biggest goal for the year has been “Don’t freeze to death.”. Simple, measurable, I like it. However, high on my 2015 Goal List is also a serious determination to take our household spending to dramatically low levels, while still keeping a high quality of life. If you’re like the millions that are ready to stockpile a lot more of your hard earned cash this year, read on for easy moves that will save you thousands.
#1 – Buy yourself a cup of coffee. If you’re a caffeine addict like I am, get yourself to the local Dollar Store and stock up on a week’s worth of coffee travel mugs for $7. Each day you brew your delicious caffeinated goodness at home (rather than buy it at your local convenience store), you’re saving yourself $1.50/day. That’s $500/year back in your pocket by year’s end, and you’re still getting your morning caffeine hit. Everyone’s a winner.
#2 – Invest in a local Warehouse Club card. Case in point: your local BJ’s in Downingtown, where a Membership card costs less than $50! Buying all the basic staples of my cupboards & refrigerator at BJ’s (bread, produce, butter, milk, meats) I often save at least $40/week on groceries compared to shopping elsewhere. Boom, that $50 membership card just paid you back $2000 in one year’s time. Nice return on investment!
#3 – Learn to love your local library. I’ve spoken to people in serious debt who still think nothing of an expensive monthly cable package, not to mention regular purchases of magazines, books and DVD movies at full price, only to look at them once and them put them on a crowded shelf. Sound familiar? Behold, your local library, where all of the above are free. If you’re normally spending $20 or more a week on entertainment like magazines, movies & books, you just saved yourself another $1000/year. You’re welcome.
#4 – Hit your local Goodwill at least once a month. There are fantastic locations in Exton & Thorndale that never let me down. I’m constantly finding outstanding items in there for easily 80-90% off retail. Home furnishings, kid’s clothing, shoes, suits, gifts, you name it – they’ve got it, for a fraction of retail. I don’t call it “Tiffany’s for Tightwads” for nothing – It’s a perfect money-saving haven for busy families.
#5 – Dinner’s on! There’s a staggering statistic out there that states the average American family eats out at last four times a week, with an average $50/check for a family of four. That can add up to $200/week. No good. Trust me, I know being a working parent can be exhausting, but you know what can be even more exhausting? Realizing next December that you worked hard in 2015 to support a $10,000/year restaurant habit. Keep it simple, put some spaghetti in a pot at home and have the kids set the table while you throw together a couple of salads. Et voila – a great dinner with the ones you love, and thousands more in the bank. Frugal On!
Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show host, Columnist and Author of “Brilliant Frugal Living.” She co-hosts WCHE 1520’s Morning Show, and “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs at 4 p.m. Tuesdays. She resides in Chester County with her family. You can find her online at www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com.