How to Save $100 Per Month Painlessly
By Lylah M. Alphonse of Write. Edit. Repeat.
1. Learn to love leftovers for lunch.
If you buy lunch at work or eat out while running errands, and you spend $7 per lunch, bringing your own lunch four days a week (treat yourself on the fifth, if you want) saves you $28 a week, or about $112 a month. Yes, you spend more on groceries, but not $112 more. And most people spend more than $7 on lunch at a restaurant. You don’t have to reheat the leftovers as they are, either — london broil makes excellent lunchtime fajitas, for example.
2. Make your own coffee.
I love a good cup of coffee (or three). Making it at home, from high-quality beans, still costs less than a daily Venti Mocha Whatever at an ubiquitous, big-name coffee house, and it can easily save you $5 to $30 per week. (If you can’t live without your latte, try British chef Jamie Oliver’s trick: Put some milk in a container with a tight-fitting lid, shake it hard, and mmmmm, foam. Note: The tight-fitting lid is key. Trust me.)
3. Ditch the juice boxes.
I have a lot of kids (five of them). You may not have that many, but you’re probably still spending a fortune on juice boxes. I started sending them to school and camp with reusable bottles filled with homemade lemonade and saved at least $40 a month. And they didn’t feel deprived at all.
4. Double the recipe and stash the excess in the freezer.
There are plenty of dinners — chili, stews, curries, lasagna, pork chops, stir fries, meatloaf, hearty soups — that take practically no extra effort to double up. Later in the week, save the $20 (or more!) you were going to spend on a pizza and pull that extra meal out of the freezer instead. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
5. Stop buying all of those cleaning products.
Spending more money on a gorgeously scented cleaner won’t make you feel less guilty about being too busy to use it as often as you should. You’d be surprised at what you can do with white vinegar, baking soda, and other non-toxic, cheap-as-all-get-out, easy-to-find items out there.