Hundreds of budgeting and other personal finance websites will give you advice about saving money, and while there are many solid words of wisdom out there, many simply don't get the fact that making significant lifestyle changes is difficult. Just like extreme diets, making drastic changes with your spending habits is feasible for a few months, but more than likely we just yo-yo back to our old ways if we try to sacrifice too much. The best money-saving method, one that works better in the long-term, is to make smaller adjustments and keep these adjustments constant. I personally saved more money than I ever have in my life merely by assessing and recording my spending habits, then eliminating habitual expenditures that didn't seem like much at the time, but really added up after a year. Here are a few common money-wasting culprits that can easily be disposed of.
1. Bottled water.
Purchasing bottled water over the long-term can become a fairly large expense, especially considering that we must drink water every day. Even if you don't consume the recommended 64 oz of water daily, you'll more than likely have at least half of that. While bottled water does taste better, there aren't any significant health benefits to be gained, so purchasing a filter to put on your tap gets rid of the tinny taste and works just as well. I saved about $600 over the course of a year by switching to filtered tap water. It also cuts back on container waste.
2. Individual coffee drinks.
If you're anything like me, you absolutely need caffeine to get through the day. Before getting to work, I would always get a small coffee at a cafe next door. While the coffee was high-quality, it also cost almost three dollars per cup. Sometimes I'd get another cup during my lunch break. I never really thought about it, but these coffee drinks really started to add up. By brewing my own at home, and bringing a thermos with me, I saved about $800.
3. Organic or all-natural food.
Don't get me wrong I am committed to the environment, and I much prefer unprocessed foods that are prepared without chemicals or preservatives. Still, many people buy such products based on the label and not on the actual value. Before spending extra on all-natural foods, do some research and know what you're buying. After becoming a more educated consumer, I usually pass on anything labeled "all-natural" since it has absolutely no standard and is virtually meaningless. I also limit my organic purchases to produce (unless it has a protective skin like bananas), beef, and dairy, as the non-organic varieties of these products are most likely to contain additives. Check out this New York Times article for information on food labels.
4. The latest gadget.
In our tech addicted world, I know that this one may be hard for some of you. But trust me, you really don't need the latest mobile device on the market. I used to purchase every new Apple product when it first came out, but by biding my time and waiting for prices to drop (which they always do), I was still able to satiate my technology cravings while saving at least $3,000-$5,000 a year. Be patient and save big.
While everyone has different money-drainers, the concept is the same. Saving money doesn't have to be rocket science. All it takes is a little bit of awareness and a commitment to making small changes.
This guest post is contributed by Barbara Jolie, who writes on the topics of online classes. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: email@example.com.
Editors note: The 2 easiest steps you can take for getting out of debt are making more and spending less, and this article certainly gives you a few good tips for cutting your spending.
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