It’s a dirty little secret that most of us share: We need to save more money. Whether it’s for retirement, a dream vacation or your dog’s emergency vet bills, putting away a nominal sum each month pays off.
Saving is easier said than done. With rising rents and an ever-increasing cost of living, it can be hard to fill that rainy-day fund. Plus, a recent Bankrate study showed that millennials spend a lot on their vices; 54 percent admit to eating out at least three times a week (versus 33 percent of Gen Xers).
You could completely cut out social events and all things fun, but where’s the joy in that? There are creative ways to pad your bank account while still enjoying life’s simple pleasures.
Much ado about toast
An Australian millionaire recently came down hard on our shared avocado toast obsession, stating that so-called wasteful spending is preventing millennials from reaching their financial dreams—and his comments went viral, perhaps because they hit so close to home. Perhaps also because Americans are spending nearly $900,000 per month on avocado toast, according to new data from tech company Square. Yes, we sometimes feel guilty shelling out $7 for the tasty and healthy snack (which we could probably make at home). Same thing goes for that daily 4 p.m. artisanal latte, the desk salad bowls we buy when we’re too busy to pack lunch and all those other small but convenient indulgences.
Dare we say it? Eat the fancy toast. You won’t regret it. Putting money away for later doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life now. But a balanced approach between spending and saving is a popular way to go. HSBC “Beyond the Bricks” data shows that 52 percent of homebuyers are willing to sacrifice going out to save. The key is simply figuring out what you consider a necessity and what can be trimmed out of your budget. Your future self will thank you.
Balancing spending and saving
While most experts agree that saving some of your paycheck is a great plan, opinions differ greatly on exactly how much we should put away each month.
If you’re ready to play the savings game, we’ve identified small changes you can make that can provide considerable savings:
If you buy a $5 latte every morning… switch to a $2 drip coffee or tea, while still fueling your caffeine addiction. You can save $15 a week, which adds up to $780 a year! Better yet, switch to brewing a pot at home or grabbing one from the break room and you can save $1,300 a year.
If you get regular manicures or pedicures… invest in some good polish and do it yourself. You can save about $50 a month, which adds up to $600 a year.
If you skip one meal out per week... you can save at least $20 a week, or $1,040 a year. If you do one better and skip two meals out a week, you can save $2,080 a year. Skip three meals out? That’s $60 a week, and a whopping $3,120 every year.
If you regularly buy bottled drinks... it’s time to invest in a water bottle! Instead of buying bottled water or an iced tea on the go, bringing your own refillable water bottle can save you roughly $10 a week, or $520 a year. Plus, regularly drinking water can reduce your snack cravings—instant savings!
If you drive or take public transit to work… consider walking or biking two days a week. Not only will your waistline love it, you’ll be saving at least $6 each day, which can add up to $624 or more.
Skipping a mani or a second cocktail here and there may not seem like much—trust us, it may not even cramp your style—but the amount in your pocket can quickly add up.