Five ways to save $500 in a month
CUT COFFEE SPENDING
The average American drinks 1,132 cups annually–or about 3.1 cups of coffee per day–and spends $1,562 a year on brewed coffee or $2,773 on espresso drinks at stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. The cost to brew the same number of cups of coffee at home is just $147 ($.13 per cup) or $294 ($.26 per cup with a K cup). That means that by making your coffee at home, you can save between $1,415 and $2,626 per year or between $118 and $219 per month. Even if you have upgraded to a Keurig machine, you could invest $18 in a reusable K-cup and slash your per-cup cost at home from $.26 per cup to $.13.
Monthly Savings: Between $118 and $219
SWITCH TO REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE
Did you know that bottled water is more expensive than gas? If you were buying bottled water by the gallon, you would pay about $10 per gallon. As it is Americans spend about $1,400 a year on bottled water, or about $117 a month. If you got a refillable, reusable water bottle and filled it from the tap, you would save a ton.
Monthly Savings: $117
PACK YOUR LUNCH
Americans who eat out for lunch every weekday spend, on average, about $7 per meal. I’m sure those living in big cities spend way more. Nonetheless, one survey showed that by eating out lunch five days a week, you spend $1,820 a year on lunch, or about $152 per month. If you started to pack your lunch, you would incur some grocery costs in buying what you need to make lunch, but by bringing your lunch, you would save nearly $2,000 a year.
Monthly Savings: $152
SWITCH HOW YOU MAKE TELEPHONE CALLS
Leah’s family used to spend about $750 a year on phone service from the phone company; now they are making calls for free. As you know a landline phone is quickly becoming a duplicative expense. If you are already paying for high-speed Internet, you should consider a VOIP system like the Ooma Telo. This VOIP device can be hooked up to the internet instantly, allowing you to make unlimited long distance calls within the U.S. for free. You can also reduce cell phone expenses by switching to a prepaid plan and using your home phone more, once the VOIP system is up and running.
Monthly Savings: $40-$50
GET CASH BACK FOR RECYCLING INK CARTRIDGES
Nearly every home in the United States has some sort of computer printer, and those printers go through a lot of ink cartridges. Rather than toss them in your recycling bin, bring them to an office supply store that will not only recycle them for you but also will give you cash back for your good, green deed. At Staples, for example, you can earn up to $20 per month–you get $5 per recycled ink cartridge–for recycling those cartridges. That adds up to $240 back in your pocket each year.
Monthly Savings: $20