Katie Kuchta is a writer, yoga and wellness guru, and self-proclaimed foodie. Aspiring to have the means to travel more is where her money saving tips and minimalistic lifestyle come in handy. In her spare time she can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos in Texas, follow her on Instagram. We've teamed up with her to share her tips on how to save and make your dollar stretch!
It seems that everywhere you turn there is an opportunity to purchase something. It can be hard to set a budget and have the willpower to turn down that daily cup of coffee or the convenience of dining out. Here are a handful of small changes you can make to your daily lifestyle that can help you save money for the things you really want to do.
Meal preparation may take a little bit more time the night before work but it is worth the effort. By packing lunch instead of purchasing one, you can easily pack a lunch that costs you approximately $3.50 a day, and when you typically spend $5-10 per day on lunch, this can save you an average of $840 a year. Packing a lunch also has added health benefits as you won’t be consuming as many calories and can have total control of what goes into your food. If packing a lunch everyday sounds too hard to do consider packing lunch 3 days of the week and designating dining out the rest of the time.
School lunch may also sound like a cheap meal but it can quickly add up with multiple kids in school at one time. Consider allowing your kids to pick out 2 meals a week to purchase lunch and then pack lunch the rest of the week. Families with multiple children can easily save up to $10.00 a day on kids lunches alone.
If you live in a big city and have access to public transportation, you might want to consider choosing to ride the bus or light rail into work instead of driving a car. You will save money on gas, parking, and wear and tear on your car. Public transportation also doesn’t typically adhere to traffic jams due to being able to use the carpool lane on freeways. It also frees up some of your time to take of additional personal tasks such as, answering emails, reading a book, or even taking a nap if it’s a longer commute.
Carpooling or participating in a rideshare program is another great way to save money and minimize your carbon footprint on the environment. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues about the possibility of carpooling to work if they live near you.
Gym memberships are great during the winter month when the weather is horrible and you have limited sunlight. However, during the warmer months, why not choose to forego the monthly cost of a gym membership and use the outdoors as your exercise area? Take a walk or run through your neighborhood or find a trail nearby that allows you to enjoy the scenery. There are also many strength and body weight training exercises that can easily be done in your backyard or at a nearby park. Take advantage of the season and get the added benefits of exercising outside instead of inside the confines of a gym on a beautiful day.
If you live in an urban or suburban area take advantage of your city’s parks and recreation program. Check out their summer schedule and look for free activities that the whole family will enjoy. Many outdoor concerts and programs are absolutely free and are a great way to save money when trying to entertain the family. Your local library is another great source for free or cheap activities and programs that are available all year long. Do a bit of research and check out the free things in your area that will be fun to do but won’t break the bank.
- Utilities & DIY Services
Save energy–turn off lights and electronics when not in use at home, and change to energy saving light bulbs both inside and outside of the home to save electricity costs. Not only will these small changes save you money but they will also help save the environment.
A great way to save money on utilities is to be aware of the water consumption that your household uses during the month. Conserve water inside and outside your home. Use a rain barrel to conserve city water by collecting and using rainwater when needed for lawn and landscaping needs. Save energy–turn off lights and electronics when not in use at home, and change to energy saving light bulbs both inside and outside of the home to save electricity costs. Not only will these small changes save you money but they will also help save the environment.
Another idea is to fix small issues of your home by yourself instead of hiring a handyman. Watch some videos online and learn how to do something new. Fix that broken latch or leaky faucet yourself with just a few minutes of research and some hand tools. You may be surprised at all that you can learn to do well online!
Be aware of your budget and how much money you are spending on extra things. Consider packing a lunch and checking out the free events for entertainment in your area. Take public transportation and skip the gym to exercise outside in order to free up some extra cash. Be aware of how much energy you are consuming in your home and learn to do small DIY projects for the home. Making a few changes to your routine can quickly save you money and add up to regular savings each month for whatever else in life you wish to do. A little each day can add up to a lot for that vacation you’ve been waiting to take!