Why Top Tens?
Last week, I realized that I should probably share why Mondays on my blog are Music Mondays, but I realized that I should also share why Fridays are Top Tens. On October 18, 2013, I celebrated my 10 year wedding anniversary with my hubby and the date happened to land on a Friday. I dedicated a Top 10 list to him on my blog that Friday in honor of 10 years and decided to keep it up the whole year as a tribute to our 10 years of marriage. I will be the first person to tell you that marriage is tough, there have been MANY days where I have thought about leaving and not coming back, but I am fortunate to have a partner who is worth coming home to. We both work hard at our marriage and that hard work definitely pays off tremendously. Every Friday is like a little love note to my hubby whose support and love are immeasurable.
My Best Money Saving Choices
On Monday I wrote about the choices that we make in our lives that add up and the importance of being mindful of the financial choices that we are making. So, I decided to share with you the Top Ten Money Saving Choices that have worked for me to push me further down my path to financial fitness.
10) Coupons – I rarely took the time to find coupons in the past, or I would cut them out and forget about them. Now, when I make a plan to buy something, one of the first things I do is look for a coupon for the item. I think it is important to note that I only look for coupons on items that I PLAN to buy. If you use the coupon as your driver to buy something, then it is not 20% cheaper, it is 80% expensive in my mind.
Average monthly coupon savings before = $0
Average monthly coupon savings now = $15
Annual Savings = $180
9) Book Reading – I love to read. I take the train into work, and the time to and fro the city is my meditation time where I read light and fluffy books, and I typically read a book a week. A few years ago, though, I got a Kindle as a gift and this dramatically cut my entertainment costs.
Cost of average paperback book = $8.99
Cost of average kindle book = $3.99
Annual Savings = $260
8) Shopping Habits – I used to have a bad habit of shopping at name brand stores and paying full price for everything that I bought (do I sound like a commercial or what?). A few years ago, when I needed a whole new wardrobe because of my weight loss, I discovered the joys of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack. Now, I can’t remember the last time I went to a name brand store.
Average cost per work outfit for name brand = $125
Average cost per work outfit for discount store = $30
Assuming 6 new outfits a year, Annual Savings = $570
7) Personal Care – As many of you know, I am not a natural blonde, and in case you didn’t know, I also like to have my eye brows waxed (they are actually VERY light and incredibly difficult to pluck). To save money in these areas, I have stretched the length of time I take before getting them taken care of.
Average monthly personal care costs before = $148
Average monthly personal care costs after = $98.50
Annual Savings = $594
6) Cut Cable – This is a recent event in our home and look for the blog on that soon. That being said, we have cut our cable and only watch Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime or local channels. And we don’t miss cable in the least.
Monthly cost for Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime = $17
Monthly cost for cable = $75
Annual Savings = $696
5) The Coffee Choice – I was a HUGE Starbucks addict and indulged in a venti latte just about everyday of the week and sometimes on the weekends. A few years ago, though, I replaced a number of those with coffee from home. It is important to note that I did not cut out Starbucks fully because I do like to “indulge” every now and then, but I have made those trips part of my larger plan. (Just an FYI, my blog image is from a recent trip to Starbucks. Who thinks that “Shannon” sounds like “Shenet”? And what kind of name is Shenet any way?)
Cost of coffee from home (with creamer) = .25 per cup
Cost of Starbucks venti latte = $5.39
Annual Savings = $1,069
4) Lunch from Home – As a working mom, I used to rationalize that I didn’t have the time to make lunch because I have too many things going on. As someone who understands that lunch is a choice, I have taken up bringing lunch from home on a regular basis.
Average cost of lunch from home = $2.50
Average cost of lunch out = $9.00
Annual Savings = $1,690
3) Energy Mindfulness – Everyone who comes to my house during the winter always complains about the fact that it is freezing. I want to respond to them that if they would like to pay my utility bills, then I will turn the heat up. Seriously, though, in the winter definitely think about throwing on a sweater or blanket rather than the heat. And in the summer, definitely think about throwing on a tank top or take a cold shower rather than turning up the air conditioning.
Average monthly utility bills before changes = $450
Average monthly utility bills after changes = $300
Annual Savings = $1,800
2) Transit – I work in New York City and like most New Yorkers, I fell into a bad habit of taking cabs more than I should have. I can’t remember the last time I took a cab, now. I will either take the subway, or if the weather is nice, I will walk and sometimes that walk has been more than 40 blocks long.
Cost of subway fare = $2.50
Average cost of a cab fare = $8.00
Annual Savings = $2,000
1) Dinner at Home – I used to be a big proponent of take out or eating out, and again, I blame it on my “working mom mentality.” I have now really come to love dinners in and frequently say that my home is not only the best restaurant in town, but it’s the cheapest.
Average cost for dinner for 3 at home = $10
Average cost for dinner for 3 out = $35
Annual Savings = $5,200
It all adds up!!
All of these financial decisions were choices that I made to improve my financial health. When I first started on my road, I assumed that there was no way that I could save money. Based on just these ten items, though, I am saving on average $14,059 per year!!! (PS: I know some of you may think I am crazy that I spent more than that before, but remember, I have already admitted that I made lots of mistakes in the past. At least I have now chosen financial health above everything.)
What is a great money saving choice you have made?