Saving $20 a month might not seem that lucrative, but if you add it up over the course of a year, you're looking at an extra $240 in your bank account. Find five ways to save that same amount, and you'll be saving close to $1,000 per year. I can't think of many people who couldn't use that kind of money in their wallet.
With the economy still struggling and new jobs at a premium, saving money in every possible way is crucial. Plus, all these ideas will only take a few minutes of your time.
1. Adjust Your Thermostat
Reducing your heat by three degrees in the winter or raising your air conditioning by the same amount in the summer will put a nice dent in your home energy bills. If you transition by one degree every week, you're less likely to notice the change, which means you'll be more likely to stick with it. Put on an extra sweater during the cold months and wear shorts instead of pants in the summer to save money without discomfort.
2. Consider Carpooling
Ask your coworkers to see if anyone is interested in carpooling, or check if your employer offers a ride share matching service. Talk to other parents at your children's school to see if they'd like to share shuttling duties. With gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon, a carpool can be an easy way to save $20 per month.
3. Cut Back on Television
If you eliminate one premium movie channel and drop your channel package by one tier, you'll likely save $20. Do you really need 500 channels? Do you consistently use all of your premium movie channels? If not, call customer service and make the change.
4. Reduce Eating Out
Although eating out can be a nice break from the routine of cooking and doing dishes, it's expensive! A family of four can expect to pay $60 or more at a just for one dinner at a kid-friendly family restaurant. Imagine how much that would buy at the grocery store. If you eat out once a week, cut that back to three times a month. Do this and you'll save far more than $20.
5. Clip Coupons
If you take couponing to the next level with extreme couponing strategies, you could probably save $20 per week. However, you can still make a significant impact on your grocery bill just by picking up a Sunday paper and clipping coupons for the items you buy the most. Find out on what day your grocer doubles coupons and shop accordingly. Also, sign up for any loyalty program your grocer offers to receive discounts in the mail, in your inbox, or in-store.
6. Don't Buy Anything but Gas at Convenience Stores
Coffee can be brewed at home, newspapers can be read online, and lottery tickets are a waste of money. Most other items at convenience stores, like snacks and candy, are overpriced when compared to the grocery store. Just pump your gas and be on your way.
In addition to these suggestions, take it a step further and question all your activities and expenses. Start by analyzing your daily habits around the house. Why are lights on in rooms that aren't being used? Why are appliances that are never used still plugged in? Why is the TV on if no one's watching? Why is the thermostat set at 72 degrees when you're not in the house? Common sense questions like these will slowly but surely ratchet down your monthly bills.
What other tips can you offer to easily save $20 per month?