One of the top subjects the CFF community has told me you want to hear about is how to save more money. So let me ask you a question: What could you do with an extra $200 every month?
Would you pay down debt?
Put money in an emergency fund?
Or would you just blow it on a new pair of shoes and a nice dinner?
Whatever you would use the money for, $200 dollars a month can definitely change your financial life for the better. In fact, the results could be downright mind blowing if you use the money wisely.
Saving $200 Makes a Huge Difference!
For instance, if you use some of the tips below to save $200 per month and invest that money, you could literally build a nest egg worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over time!
Let’s look at the numbers:
If you invest $200 per month for 10 years at 10% interest, you will have $42,075
$200 per month invested at 10% for 20 years will get you $151,206
$200 per month invested at 10% for 30 years will get you $434,264
(These numbers were generated using this calculator)
So now that you know how life changing saving just a couple of hundred dollars a month can be, are you motivated to start saving?
I thought so!
13 Tips to Save $200 a Month
Some of these saving tips are common sense. Some are not as obvious but are great ways to save nonetheless. All of these saving tips will work like a charm if you put them into practice. Who knows, you may even be able to do several of them at once and save much more than $200 a month!
Save By Being Energy Efficient
Turn up your thermostat a degree or two. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. If you’re out of town for a few days adjust your thermostat higher or lower depending on time of year so less energy is used. Angie and I use an internet connected Nest Thermostat that automatically makes these changes and others, which saves us at least 10% on our utility bills every month. Our Nest has paid for itself several times over with all the money it’s saved on utility bills.
Ask For a Discount
You can ask for a discount on almost anything. Start with calling service providers such as your cell phone company or cable company and politely ask what they can do to save money on your plan. Most of the time providers can reduce your costs significantly. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can use a service such as BillCutterz to do it for you.
You can also ask for a discount in a retail setting. Many times if you just ask, a cashier will give you their employee discount or provide you with a coupon they may have handy.
Get Rid of Cable TV
Times are changing. Cable TV has a lot of competition from streaming services that are much cheaper and provide just as much entertainment. Streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and others have cheap monthly memberships. These services allow you to save a ton of money over your cable bill while providing just as much (if not more) entertainment.
Drive Less, Walk or Bike More
Let’s face it, gas ain’t cheap! Anytime you can save money by walking or biking to your destination you should do it. Not only is it good for your pocketbook, it’s good for your health!
Use Public Transportation
Another good alternative to using a car to get around is public transportation. It’s generally cheaper than using a car and it causes less pollution too!
Don’t Carry a Balance on Your Credit Cards
I hate credit cards! If you’ve been reading the articles here for very long you know that I can’t stand them. The only thing worse than a credit card is a credit card with a balance on it! When you carry a balance from month to month you are spending needlessly on interest and fees that will suck you dry. If you insist on using a credit card, pay it off completely every month.
Save By Refinancing Your Mortgage
Mortgage rates have been at historic lows for several years now. Compare current rates with your mortgage to see if refinancing is worth it. If you can reduce your mortgage rate by 1% or more you would probably do well to refinance. We refinanced our home a few years ago. Just by reducing our mortgage 2% we have saved approximately $400 per month!
Free Activities and Entertainment
Instead of spending money on going to movies, dinner with friends, or sporting events, find free activities. Go hiking, biking, or have a picnic in the park. Also, most cities have free activities available. Just search for free activities for your town online and you will find a plethora of free entertainment that you didn’t know was available.
Do a Budget
Didn’t think you’d get away without me mentioning this one did you? Most people I’ve seen that start doing a written budget every month discover they have more money than they thought. Inevitably, when you start making a plan for your money you use it more efficiently. Because of this, you can free up a couple of hundred dollars a month that you didn’t know you had until you started keeping track.
Do Some Bartering
You probably have physical items or skills that are worth something. Instead of paying cash for things you need, you can always use what you have to barter with someone else. It’s easy to find people willing to barter with you through sites such as U-Exchange or Craigslist’s bartering page. Just be careful to research the possible drawbacks to bartering before jumping in head first.
Get Out of Debt
Another one of my mainstays that makes any financial situation better! When you get out of debt you no longer have to pay interest and fees on all those consumer debts. When you get out of debt, the results are huge savings and a cheaper, easier to maintain financial life. Angie and I have had no consumer debt for close to 10 years. I can tell you from personal experience that not having to pay extra for our stuff every month has saved us a ton of money!
Eat Out Less Often
On average, eating out costs 4 times more than eating a simple meal at home. It can be a real budget killer. Many people are totally shocked when they add up how much they spend on restaurant food every month. Instead of making excuses as to why you can’t fix dinner 2-3 times a week, fix meals ahead of time, freeze them and cook later as needed. You will be surprised at how much you can save with this tip!
Save By Shopping For New Insurance
Insurance can be very expensive. Health insurance, car insurance, and homeowner’s insurance are all major expenses that you can easily save money on when you shop around. Sometimes it can take a lot of research to find a better price. But it has gotten much easier to find a better deal with some of the online tools available now.
Saving Isn’t Hard, It Just Has to Be a Priority
For most people, even those on a limited budget, saving $200 per month is a goal that can be achieved. However, it’s not just going to appear out of thin air. You have to make saving money a priority and take the steps necessary to use your money as efficiently as possible.
Once you do that, then you have to be diligent enough to bank those savings and make them work for you to grow your bank account and investments. This is where the real benefit of saving money happens. When you can grow that saved money by placing it into investments, that $200 a month will get you that much closer to financial freedom the more it grows!
Question: Do you have any other suggestions for how to save $200 per month? Leave a comment and tell me your favorite one.
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