Bagged lunch

Brown-bagging lunch, instead of eating out each day, can save hundreds of dollars per year. Photo courtesy of Metro Creative.

Saving money on everyday expenses is a worthy goal for many. Certain expenses, such as loan payments, may be more difficult to pare down than others, but there are ways to save without drastically overhauling your daily routines. 

Transportation

Transportation is a significant expense for many drivers.

The Federal Highway Administration notes that the average American family devotes 19 percent of its monthly budget to transportation costs. A 2011 report from the American Public Transportation Association found individuals who ride public transportation could save more than $10,000 annually. That figure is closely tied to fuel costs, but even when fuel costs are low, people can still save substantial amounts of money by utilizing pubic transportation instead of driving themselves to work every day.

Even those who live in auto-dependent exurbs, where families devote 25 percent of their monthly budgets to transportation costs, can save by carpooling to work, which allows commuters to split fuel and toll costs, while also reducing wear and tear on their vehicles. That reduced wear and tear will add years to a vehicle’s life, saving drivers money as a result.

Food

Food is another daily expense where money can likely be saved.

A 2013 survey from Visa found that the average person goes out for lunch twice a week, spending $10 each time. That adds up to more than $1,000 annually. By bringing their own lunches to work, working professionals can save hundreds of dollars per year.

In addition to the financial benefits of brown-bagging lunches, people can reap nutritional rewards by packing healthy meals for themselves. Men and women who eat out for lunch each day will have to eat whatever is offered near their offices, whether it’s healthy or not.

Individuals also can save money by bringing their own coffee to work each day, rather than relying on coffee shops to satisfy their morning java fix.

Entertainment

Entertainment is another area where many people can likely save money.

NBC News reported in 2015 that the average cable bill was $99 per month, and that was before 2016 rate increases were announced by a host of providers, including DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable. Streaming services such as Netflix ($9.99 per month), Amazon Prime ($99 per year) and Hulu Plus ($7.99) combine to cost a fraction of that figure, and such services continue to increase their offerings. Adults interested in trimming their daily expenses can access all three services for less than $320 per year or a little more than three months’ worth of cable bills.

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