As you all know by now, living in a city can cost an arm and a leg. The current economic downturn only adds extra pressure to cut back on unnecessary expenditures. Although you may have to decrease the number of luxuries that allowed you to escape your hectic work life, your wallet will be thanking you. Read below for some tips on how to save a couple bucks:
1. Make fresh coffee at your place in lieu of stopping at Starbucks on the way to work every morning. Most offices provide coffee makers, so buy a reusable thermos, and you can refresh your cup all day without spending absurd amounts. If you figure the average cup of coffee (this isn’t even including the complex, pricey lattes) is around $1.50, multiply that by two cups a day, you will be saving up to $15 during the workweek alone. Try this classic and affordable Cuisinart coffeemaker.
2. Take public transportation or, if possible, walk to work instead of driving. Gas is a money eater and a hazard to the environment. Opting for the bus, train, biking, or walking will also help you stay healthier and more fit than driving. If traveling via a car is your only choice, you should carpool with a co-worker. Check out this public transportation website to locate the closest means of travel near you.
3. Who said shopping had to be expensive? If you can afford to shop at all during the recession, check out Gilt Fuse, or other sample sale websites. Not only will the clothing be much cheaper, but also you won’t feel guilty taking advantage of these deals. This website features designers (such as BCBG, Cara Couture Jewelry, etc.) for up to 70 percent off.
4. Sign up for Netflix instead of going to the movies. On average, one month of Netflix is the same cost as going to one movie in theaters. Although you will have to wait until the movie comes out on dvd, that is a small price to pay compared to the $10.50 (not including snacks and refreshments) pricetag at the theater. You can rent two movies or television show episodes at a time with Netflix for only $13.99 a month.
5. Invite a group of girlfriends over for spa night. Take turns giving each other facials and painting each other’s nails. As nice as it is to get a weekly mani/pedi, is it really necessary? The steep price of $30 to get your nails done can be easily avoided. Go to your salon, buy the color you like and paint your own fingers/toes. If you don’t feel confident in your painting skills, ask a friend to do it for you.
6. Make your own meals instead of going to restaurants or ordering in. Not only will this help you save a few bucks, but in most cases, it’s healthier because you can monitor what ingredients go into the pot or pan. If you have leftovers, come up with a creative way to make them tomorrow’s dinner. For example, if you make a grilled chicken dinner and have extra meat, make a chicken salad with lettuce, craisins, celery, and croutons for lunch the next day. For other meal and snack suggestions, check out some of the yummy recipes from Food for Thought.
7. Cutting the cost of a gym membership can save you up to $75 a month. Start taking jogs outside and surround yourself with colorful trees (before all the leaves fall off), or purchase some pilates and yoga DVDs to help tone your body. In fact, all you really need to tone is a set of weights and a balance ball. If you joined a gym solely to be in the presence of others, ask a friend to go running with you.
8. Swap books with your friends after you are finished with yours. If you have four friends you can trade with, that saves you up to $60. Plus, if you have similar taste, chances are you will be exposed to a good book you wouldn’t have read otherwise. You can also sign up to become a member of your local public library. This will allow you to check out books and movies for the large sum of free!