Just think about the things you buy regularly that have become such habits that they don’t seem to register in your mind. If you can cut back on these items, you’ll find that they can add up to big savings. Let’s look at a few ways you can alter your spending habits if you find your budget is stretched at the end of the month.
Dining out. Now we’re not suggesting that you totally eliminate one of the simple pleasures in life. But you can enjoy taking the family out for a meal without breaking the bank. A dinner for four at a high-end restaurant—probably one that has linen tablecloths—will probably make a huge dent in your wallet. Think about passing on one of the che’che’ spots and instead head over to one of your local chains, such as Applebee’s, Outback or Olive Garden. These might not be five-star bistros, but they’re far from holes-in-the-wall and won’t break the bank.
Upscale coffee. Remember when you could get a “Cup of Joe” for a dime, a quarter? Probably not. But in 2014 a Florida man paid a record $83.75 for a Starbucks! His beverage of choice was a grande latte that contained 99 extra shots of espresso and 17 pumps of vanilla syrup, mocha and matcha powder. Okay, that’s a bit over the top. But you can spend about $5 for a venti frapuccino. If you pick one up on your way to work every day, that adds up to about $100 a month. Do yourself a favor. Brew your coffee at home and carry it to the job in a thermos.
Movies. The cost of movie tickets seem to be growing faster than the federal deficit. The average price of admission to a theater is now about $8.50. But that’s the average. In some high-priced New York City cinemas a family of four—two adults and two children—are going to pay in the range of $50 just for tickets. Thrown in some overpriced popcorn, drinks and candy, and you’re easily looking at $100. That’s a horror flick all of its own. As an alternative, stay at home and stream a movie from Netflix. Make your own popcorn and grab some candy at Wal-Mart. You can probably do the whole shebang for under $10. So you might have to wait a few weeks or months to see the film. It’s worth it.
These are just a few examples. Stay mindful of the ways you can save money by choosing lower-priced options to other types of food, drinks and entertainment. Remember: Small changes can make a big difference—and do!