8 Simple Strategies to Save $500+ in 2018
Now that it’s 2018, we’ve all made New Years resolutions to save some extra cash this year! We’re all a little different, but these are all things we can do right now to save more in 2018. So, here are my top 8 tricks and strategies to help you save at least $500!
1. Shop Around for Car Insurance
Estimated savings: $500+
It’s good to shop around every year or so, and compare how competitive your car insurance rates are. There is almost always a significant difference in premium prices between insurers, plus you can always evaluate your coverage.
For example, when I purchased my current car in 2014 (Golf GTI), I got three different quotes for the same insurance. The cheapest option was $1,200 per year, and the most expensive was $3,600 per year. Can you imagine that? Obviously I went for the cheaper one. Make sure to call up a few insurance companies and get a quote.
The next thing to do is evaluate your current coverage. What happens to the premium if you increase your deductible from $500 to $1,000? You may find that this will net you an extra $30 or $40 per month! And if you do both, you might save $50-100 per month!
2. Get a Cheaper Phone Plan
Estimated savings: $1,000
Admit it, most of us overpay for our phone plans. Right now, I contribute to my mom’s phone bill. The total bill is $200 per month. We could cut down our data usage or go with a low cost carrier. We could even switch to Google Fi, and get international calls, texts and data! In fact, I just ran the numbers. We would get about the same amount of data, and pay $165 per month instead of $200. And if we went with a budget plan, that figure is closer to $120 per month.
If you want to save even more money, you can use a pay-as-you-go carrier. Most of us have Wi-Fi anyway, so we really don’t need that much data.
3. Ditch Cable for Internet Only
Estimated savings: $600
Cable and Internet plans are stupidly expensive, and costs vary wildly. If you’ve been using the same company for the past 2+ years, its time to call in and get a better deal, or switch companies. My dad has been using Cablevision for about 20 years. His monthly bill was $180 for TV and Internet. He saw an advertisement for Verizon and made the switch, decreasing his plan to $145 per month.
Unfortunately, he hated Verizon’s customer service, so he called Cablevision back up again. They gave him his old plan back, but at $135 per month!
You can even go the route of canceling cable entirely. With the advent of Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Instant Video, you probably don’t need cable, anyway. My mom got rid of Cable and added Hulu’s most expensive live TV package, and still saves $50+ per month!
4. Contribute $2,000 to a Traditional IRA
Estimated savings: $500
Wait a second… how will contributing $2,000 to a Traditional IRA save $500? When you contribute to this type of retirement plan, you decrease your taxable income. If your combined Federal and State taxes are 25%, then by cutting your income by $2,000, you’ll save an extra $500 in taxes, plus have the added bonus of an additional $2,000 in your retirement account!
Plus, depending on your income, you may even qualify for the Saver’s Credit, which could decrease your taxes by an additional $250! The same goes for contributing to your company’s 401(k). If you contribute $4,000, you’ll cut your taxes by an extra $1,000!
5. Try out Meal Prep Sunday
Estimated savings: $2,400
One of the biggest parts of our budget is food. All it takes is eating out a few nights a week, and you’ve spent $200 on a few meals. Meal Prep Sunday is a subreddit that teaches you how to plan out and cook cheap, healthy, and tasty meals.
Using their strategy, you can plan out 21 healthy meals for your family per week, all while saving a ton of money. You may even save more than $2,400 per year, depending on how much your grocery and eating out budget really is. I’ve seen people go from $1,000 per month in food to no more than $300. Just imagine what you can do with an extra $700 per month!
6. Bring Lunch to Work 1x per Week
Estimated savings: $500
Eating out for lunch at work gets expensive, very quickly. With 250 work days a year, if we assume a $10 per lunch cost, that is $2,500 lost to poor planning. This expense can be completely eliminated if you try out Meal Prep Sunday. However, if you want to start slow, bring in 1 meal for lunch every week. You’ll eliminate that $10 meal, and save $500 this year!
Plus, if you bring your own food to work, it is typically healthier. Many work healthcare plans include a $250 bonus for being healthy. So if you can save money on food and get healthier, you might save even more money, a double whammy!
7. Ditch that Starbucks Habit
Estimated Savings: $1,250
I do my best not to separate people from their coffee or avocado toast. I believe people should eat and drink whatever they want. I also believe that we can more efficiently do things, and stay happy. So instead of going to Starbucks 5x a week, why not just bring your own coffee?
My mom really likes iced coffee. So every night before work, she brews some and throws it in the fridge, and takes it into the office the next day. This would easily cost $1,250+ per year if she had to go to Starbucks everyday to get her caffeine fix.
You could always just cut down on going to Starbucks. Every day per week that you eliminate, that is $250 saved.
8. Empty out that Closet
Estimated Savings: $500+
If you’re like me, your closet is busting at the seams with old clothes and jackets that rarely get worn. I’m talking things I haven’t worn in a decade. If the clothes are in good shape, you can easily sell them on eBay or other used clothes platforms. And if you don’t want to go through the hassle, just donate them. You’ll help out those in need, and get a tax deduction (if you itemize).
Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of a clean closet! Just don’t go out to the store and replace everything with new clothes 😉
9. (BONUS!) Downsize your Apartment
Estimated Savings: $3,000+
This is something I did a great job of in 2017, and I’m doing for 2018 as well. Normally, it is ridiculous to tell somebody to cut spending by moving to a smaller apartment. It’s hard to find a new apartment, and you already have a lease!
In 2017, I decided to pay a $2,000 penalty and cancel my lease early. Then, I moved in with my fiancee… into her mom’s house! We ended up living with her mom rent free for 4 months, which saved us a grand total of $10,000 between rent and utilities.
For 2018, we are looking for an apartment that costs about $1,650. Very cheap for our area. A “normal” apartment where we live is closer to $2,000 per month, so we’re saving more than $4,000 a year just by downsizing, plus we can sell all of our unnecessary stuff for even more money!
Well, that’s it. What are you doing this year to save money? I’m doing the Zero Day Challenge, which helped save me an average of $1,700 per month in 2017!