The first thing I suggested is that my husband pack a lunch for work. Every day he spends roughly $7.00 on lunch. He eats pretty much the same thing every day...a deli sandwich or salad. Making the same sandwich at home would cost under $3.00 per day. So cutting out the deli would result in roughly $86.00 per month saved (more than $1000 per year). If you are like me and spend even more when you have lunch out, then the savings can be even more. I am pickier about what I eat so my lunches out tend to run between $9.00 and $15.00 three days a week (that's roughly $156 per month, almost $1900 per year). If I can reduce my lunch expense by taking lunch from home or having lunch at home, I could probably also save about $117 per month. The reward of a relaxing beach vacation might be incentive enough to prepare lunches more often.
Another common expense is that trip to the coffee shop. My preferred drink, the grande non-fat latte, runs about $3.45. For those adding flavoring and going for the larger sizes, or more than one per day, that really adds up. I have already cut this expense out for the most part. My $3.45 latte (on average about 4 times per week) was running me about $59.00 per week. I still purchase an occasional coffee but have reduced it from four times per week to less than one time each week.
Going out for dinner and drinks is so tempting after work and happens several times each month for me. When I do, I spend about $15 on my entree and at least $8 - $16 on drinks, toss a 20% tip on top of that bill and I have spent at least $30. Having drinks or dinner at home, or at a friend's house, instead of going out, just one night a month can save me roughly $30 each month.
By taking my lunch to work, skipping Starbucks, and going out to dinner one night less each month, I can save roughly $245 each month, that's almost $3000 per year. Wow...tropical vacation, I will see you in a year!
When saving is not possible because payments on your debt and your basic living expenses exceed your income, bankruptcy may be the way to reverse that situation. For a free bankruptcy consultation, contact Greenwald & Hammond.
Mindy Greenwald, Esq.