What Are Some Lifestyle Changes That Save Money?
You can save a lot of money every day by making small lifestyle changes at home, at work, with how you eat, and with how you shop. We’ve outlined five lifestyle changes that can save you a lot of money.
1. Make Your Own Coffee
If you drink a lot of coffee, there are a couple big changes you can make to your lifestyle that will save you money. The average cup of coffee costs $4, and even getting something to go three times a week means you’re spending upwards of $12 a week on coffee, which comes out to almost $50 a month.
However, if you have a coffee maker at home, you can fill a travel mug with enough coffee to last you through the day.
Let’s look at a detailed example. Despite only getting Starbucks on Fridays and coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts the rest of the week, you end up spending $100 a month from your daily drive-throughs. But after using your coffee maker at home (bought for cheap off Craigslist or gotten for free from a local Buy Nothing group), taking an extra two minutes to make your own brew, and using a $10 travel mug, your savings can start adding up in a big way.
And to sweeten the deal, you can find coupons to get money off your coffee beans when you run low.
2. Cut the Cable
One of the most popular money-saving lifestyle changes that has emerged in recent years is cutting cable TV subscriptions. The rise of streaming platforms — such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, Disney Plus, and Apple TV — has completely rewritten how hundreds of millions of people get their media and entertainment.
This means you don’t have to pay a monthly fee for hundreds of channels you never watch anymore. And since all these subscription platforms run online, you can bundle your service and save a few dollars that way too.
But a word of warning: Many people have fallen into the trap of subscribing to so many streaming platforms that they don’t save as much money as they thought they would by cutting their cable TV bill. You can pay extra for a platform’s higher membership tier for when a favorite TV show or sports league is in season and then downgrade to a more basic plan for the next few months. A number of services run specials a few months of the year, so you can subscribe for three months, cancel your subscription at the end of that promotional time, and then wait for the offer to come around again.
Better yet, you can always get free media from your local library.
3. Use Coupons and Buy Store-Brand Groceries
You can save a lot of money by changing your grocery habits. Store-brand items are often just as good as their brand-name counterparts, but they usually cost substantially less. Buy store-brand groceries regularly, and you’ll notice a significant change in your receipts, with no discernible loss of quality for you.
Look for discounts when you hit the grocery store. Most grocery chains have their own smartphone apps now, where you can create an online shopping list and then clip digital coupons for the items on that list. If you have a membership card with the grocery store, the digital coupons are usually automatically added to your card, so you don’t have to do anything. Just scan the card, and the savings are instantly deducted from your bill.
With some careful couponing, you could walk out with all your groceries and up to 25% off your final bill.
This doesn’t just have to be for groceries either. Due to various factors (the retail apocalypse and the pandemic, among many others), lots of people have turned to thrift and discount stores for their furniture and clothing.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for a suit anymore. With some patience and persistence, you can assemble a formal-occasion outfit for much less than $100. If you have a small apartment, you can go to Goodwill or a local equivalent, or search Craigslist and Facebook groups for cheap or even free things to decorate your space with. You have a lot of options.
4. Bring Your Own Lunch
Going out for lunch with your coworkers to socialize and get away from the office can be tempting, but paying for a daily meal adds up quickly. This is true even if you don’t go to group lunches, and you pick up a bite to eat just for yourself. Your hunger is satisfied, but your bank account isn’t.
Think about how much each lunch costs and multiply that by the number of days a week you buy lunch — whether for yourself or as part of a team. You’re left with a very big weekly amount, which turns into a very big monthly amount.
That’s why many people are turning to brown-bagging their lunches. One writer for Business Insider explains how she saved over $1,500 a year by making her lunches in advance and then bringing them to the office every day with her. She still had lunch with her co-workers one day a week, but this simple lifestyle change resulted in huge savings.
She also used the opportunity to make healthier lunches for herself since eating healthier can save you more money than restaurant food can.
5. Saving at Home
Your utility bills are another way you spend money without even realizing it. By being more intentional with household costs — everything from turning off lights in empty rooms to not running faucets longer than necessary to cutting down on using single-use items — will slowly, gradually start saving you money from one month to the next.
For example, maybe you can be mindful of how many paper towels you use or cut down on how often you use Ziplock bags, both of which have to be purchased again when you run out. Paper plates and plastic cutlery save you the trouble of washing the dishes, but reusable kitchenware is a long-term investment that you don’t have to buy again every few weeks.
Making a lot of changes at once can feel overwhelming. Start by just implementing one or two. Ultimately, you’ll see that small, simple changes to your lifestyle can mean big long-term savings.
Here’s How Much Money You Really Save by Making Coffee at Home. (August 2021). TIME.
21 Lifestyle Changes to Make if You Want to Save More Money. (November 2015). Business Insider.
Here’s When You Should Buy Store Brand Food. (September 2014). Business Insider.
Simple Lifestyle Changes That Can Save Money. (May 2014). U.S. News & World Report.
I Saved Over $1,500 This Year Brown-Bagging My Lunch, but the Benefits Go Beyond Money. (December 2018). Business Insider.
How to Eat Healthy on a Budget. (August 2019). U.S. News & World Report.
36 Reusable Products That Will Save You So Much Money in the Long Run. (August 2021). BuzzFeed.
Ways to Manage Your Money Better. (August 2021). Current.
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