Save up to $10,000 per year using my money saving tips

By Alex Alonso Staff Writer
January 1, 2006

Do you want to save money this year? Do you want to pocket $5,000 to $10,000 from unnecessary spending that you do every day? During the last several years I have saved thousands of dollars by changing my spending habits and you can do it to.

Most people do not realize how much they spend and what they spend their money on. Spenders are often oblivious to their spending totals. All they know is that they are running low on cash and can’t quite see where it all went.

If you make $3,000.00 per month, there is no reason why you should not be saving about $500.00 month. If you are educated on tax law, you should be able to take home 80% of your check. Talk to your tax consultant about that determine which deductions you are eligible for. The following tips should help you save thousands this year.

Cigarettes are killing you. If you are a cigarette smoker, then you know that a pack can cost anywhere from $3.00 to $5.00 and depending on how many packs you smoke, this habit can be costly. The average American smokes 19 cigarettes per day or about 6.65 packs per week. If you have the will and mental strength, make this a habit that you do not take into 2006. The average pack of cigarettes costs $3.99, and at 6.65 packs per week, you spend $1,379.00 every year on cancer sticks. An average smokers dies ten years younger than non-smokers and loose about 11 minutes of their life for every cigarette smoked so save that money this year and add years to your life.

Mary Jane is not your friend. Remember the days when a marijuana joint was $1.00? That is when everyone was smoking stress, but then there was Ty-bud and Indo-bud which had higher concentrations of THC. Then in the early 1990s, everyone wanted to smoke the Chronic. Now there is Northern Lights and Purple Cush and bud heads like to smoke that high quality weed at a higher price. Now that you are grown up, it makes sense to shake that habit and pocket that extra money you have been smoking away. A bag of quality weed costs $20.00 for 1 gram, which equals to about 2 joints (blunts). For the average person, that can last 1.5 weeks, and less if they are sharing, but lets say you buy 3 grams per month (conservative est.) at $60.00. Shake this habit, and you just saved $720.00 per year. If you smoke 10 grams per month you are spending $2,400.00 per year on your cush. The dopeman might be disappointed, but your mind and spirit will be clean and refreshed. Although marijuana is considered a “safe” drug and not associated with violence, it enhances your cancer risk, increases risk of infertility in women, can make you psychological dependent requiring more weed, can cause depression and irritability, decrease sperm count in men and create respiratory problems. Also the level of the poisonous carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers, so be smart in 2006 and kick the Chronic.

The growth and popularity of coffee. Do you like your daily coffee fix from Starbucks or from some other favorite cafe? I am not a big fan of coffee, but an occasional serving is not going to be costly on your wallet or health, but if you purchase these tasty coffee drinks at least 3 times a week, you will slowly feel it in your wallet and slowly pick up a few pounds. There are those that purchase one coffee drink everyday, but using a more conservative estimate of 3 purchases per week, can cost $11.00. If you decide that you are trying to loose some weight this year and get in better shape, there are multiple reasons to give up the coffee bean and while doing it, save at least $572.00 and up to $1,000.00 per year.

Eat in more. The average American spends $24.00 per week on drive-thrus and fast food, a complete waste of money and another way to add on the pounds. That is just three trips in one week, and how many of us know people who do this more than 5 times per week? Work on shopping at the grocery store for your food, using coupons (see below), packing a lunch and using left-overs in plastic containers for the next day. If you watch television, the brainwashing of our favorite commercials by McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King, or other fast food chains have manipulated our thinking and convinced many people that fast food is a great option. Do not fall for it and save at least $1,248.00 per year and up to $3,000.00.

Eat Dinner at Home. Outside of fast food, Americans love fine dining at their favorite restaurant. Houstons, Benihana, Red Lobster, Cheescake Factory, and Black Angus are among some of the hottest dinner spots. Dinner for two at any of the above restaurants can cost $70.00. On average people go out to dinner once per week, which is way to much if you are watching your wallet. Ladies, don’t make your significant other feel obligated to take you to dinner as often as you like. If you have some serious financial goals for this year, you have no business shelling out $25.00 a plate for you or for someone else. If you go to dinner twice per month and are picking up the bill, you just spent $1,680.00 for the year. Keep that money in you pocket, go to dinner less, and save more. Cook dinner for your date fellas, stay at home for 70% less, make it more healthy and impress your significant other.

Cut the Coupons. If you are like me, you go to the grocery store for your food and not a drive through. If I purchase $100.00 worth of groceries, I make sure that I submit my coupons to make additional savings. You can also use the internet to print out coupons at your favorite department stores. If you spend $300.00 per month on groceries, you can easily save $75.00 which is about $900.00 per year.

Make your Credit Cards your Friend. Nearly everyone has credit card debt, but most people do not think smart about paying them off. If you owe $4,000 in credit card payments, you are probably paying anywhere from 15% to 24% per month in APR interest. Let’s assume you are paying 18% APR. On a balance of $4,000 that will cost you an extra $60 in interest per month, so to reduce your principal balance by $100.00 you would need to pay $160.00. I have identified a risky, but effective method to reduce your principal faster by reducing your interest, ultimately saving money. Perform a balance transfer of your existing balance to another credit card with a ZERO balance, and if you do not have one, apply for one and transfer your existing balance to that new card. What will happen on a balance transfer is that you will get an introductory interest rate from 0.0 to 5.99 (if you search you will find cards offering less than 2%) reducing that $60.00 in interest per month to almost zero, so when you pay $100.00 on your balance it will go towards principal. These rates usually last about 6 months, and after that, your rate will shoot back up to 18%. Once you complete a balance transfer, it is important that you do not use that card for any new charges, because new charges are hit with the higher interest, and when you send in a payment, it will go towards the interest of the transfered balance with the lower rate before you can start paying off the higher rate. When your introductory rate is about to expire, just transfer that balance to another credit card. Very simple. I shuffled over $20,000.00 in credit card for two years paying nearly no interest. Doing this can save you $700.00 per year on a balance of $4,000.00 and if you owe $10,000.00, you can save over $1,700.00 per year in interest.

Feed the ATM. The most common ATM transaction is taking out $20.00, and you do this 12 times per month. When ever I go to the ATM I take my 20.00, but I feed the ATM with those loose dollars in my pocket that I don’t need. So after I take my $20.00, I actually deposit that $4.00 that was in my back pocket. I do this every time, because I would just waste that $4.00 dollars on something else that I probably didn’t need. If you deposit those few dollars, you can save about $576.00 that would have went towards unnecessary expenses.

Using some very conservative estimates, these modifications to life style and choice can make a positive impact of your wallet. Make this year your most profitable year thus far and invest that extra savings for a down payment on an apartment building, stocks and mutual funds, start a small business, or remodel your home. If you live thinking about how to spend every day, you will see your bank account grow and you will have the ability of engage in new experiences that were not possible before.

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