1. Coffee Shop Coffees
How many times a week do you stop for an expensive coffee drink on the way to work? When I was working full time, I would stop at least 3 times a week for coffee at Starbucks. $5 x 3 a week = $15/week = $780/year. I know some people who grab Starbucks every morning and it really adds up quick. $5×5 = $25/week = $1,300/year.
Could you limit yourself to one a week? If you did you could set aside $1,040 in just one year.
2. Fast Food Lunches
On average, I would spend $10 a day on lunch when I was working at my last job. Between the in-office cafeteria and all my favorite restaurants nearby, I was spending way too much on food.
$10 x 5 a week = $50/week = $2,600/year
So if you can limit yourself to fast food lunch per week you could save $2,080 in one year, and possibly some calories too.
3. Gym Membership
Ok, I don’t want you to stop exercising if you are. But if you have a pricey gym or club membership, consider your alternatives. Can you work out at home? What about your workplace, do they have an onsite gym? What about where you live? Many apartment complexes now have gyms for their residents to use. Have you considered exercising outdoors? If none of those options work for you, (none of these did for us) consider a gym with lower membership fees. My husband and I switched to Planet Fitness a couple of years ago and the basic membership is only $10 a month.
$55 a month is the average gym membership fee. $55 x 12 = $660/year
4. Dinner Out/Take Home
Do you eat out for dinner more than once a week? I know we did at one point, and we are still struggling with this one. It’s easy to get in the habit of ordering dinner. Long days, busy schedules, second jobs, and side hustles make it hard to find the time and energy to cook dinner. My husband and I started doing meal prep sessions. We cook up a bunch of food for the weeks and portion it all out. Now, we limit ourselves to one take out dinner every 2 weeks.
$25 x 2 a week = $50/week = $2,600/year
Eating out only 2 times a month will save you $2,000 a year
5. Cable TV
Now, this is one I haven’t done yet for a couple of reasons. One, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Those are just shows I’m not willing to wait for. And two, the bundle I have with my provider makes my cable service only $20 a month more than if I have just the internet alone. So, for us, it’s totally worth it.
But the average price paid for cable tv service is $65/month. If you’re paying for cable TV separately from your internet service, cancel it and save big time! Chances are, you already have Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime. Stick to one of these services, unless you’re like me and have a panic attack if you don’t get to watch TWD as soon as it airs.
$65 x 12 = $780/year
6. Home Phone
Do you have a home phone line? If you live in an area where you can’t get reliable cell service, then fine. Otherwise, ditch it. Did you get it bundled with your cable/internet? Chances are you can call and get it removed and save.
$25/month = $300/year
7. Movie Dates
I love, love going to the movies! I can’t imagine not going to see certain movies in the theater. My husband and I often go to Thursday night screenings for new movies and no lie, I once waited in line for 18 hours to see the last Harry Potter movie. I know, I’m crazy. That was before reserved seating though, thank God for that. And we used to go all out for movies, popcorn, drinks, candy, and nachos. We paid extra for IMAX and 3D too. There was a time when we were going to the movies twice a month. It was costing us upwards of $125 a month or $1500 a year.
Now we only go to movies we would regret not seeing in the theater. We try to go early mornings on the weekends when it’s usually half price, or late nights when it’s also cheaper. We don’t buy popcorn or drinks, instead, I bring my “movie theater” bag with bottled water and some light snacks. Bonus, we save money and calories!
Consider limiting your movie dates to one every other month, skip the concession stand, hit up the matinees and save $1,400 a year!
Potential Savings in One Year: $8,260!
The point is not to completely deprive yourself of the things you enjoy in life, but to find the balance and watch the savings add up. You’re saving this money for a reason, one which could be life changing! Keep sight of the end goal.
What have you done, or what are you planning to do to save money for a down payment? Please share in the comments below.