Finding funds to put aside for college can be tough. With so many expenses pulling at your pocket book, it’s hard to determine which of them can most easily be eliminated. But, like loose change in the proverbial couch cushion of life, if you look hard enough, you’ll find tons of ways to save money on a day-to-day basis. Take these small steps to cut back on unnecessary costs, and you and your family will be saving cash in no time.
One of the easiest ways to save energy (and reduce your energy bills) is to adjust your thermostat when you're sleeping or away from home to minimize heating and cooling costs. Even better, programmable thermostats can do the work for you so you don't have to remember to adjust it each time you leave. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, committing to this simple act alone can save you up to 10 percent on your household heating and cooling costs1.
Instead of springing for more expensive drinks like a cappuccino or a latte, order regular coffee to get your caffeine fix. Saving $2 here and there might not seem like a lot, but if you're in the habit of drinking one cup a day, making the switch could save you up to $500 over the course of a year.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, basic cable service has increased an average of 6.1 percent annually since 19953. Luckily, it's 2015 and streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime exist. Consider dropping cable in favor of one or two streaming services to keep up with current TV shows, browse movies, or binge watch your favorite Shonda Rhimes' drama in its entirety (again) while cutting down on your overall entertainment expenses.
Wednesday is reportedly the best day of the week to go grocery shopping. Why? Most stores start their new set of weekly discounts, giving you early access to the best deals. Some stores also honor the previous week's ad on Wednesdays, too, meaning double the discounts. And keeping track of what's on sale is easier than ever; many major grocery stores now have free mobile apps to give you instant access to coupons.
Instead of buying your lunch at school or work, pack your own lunch at home everyday. The same goes for your spouse and/or kiddos too. Eating just two lunches out a week costs about $15-25, which can add up to $750-$1,250 a year. Packing lunches for the whole family is a cheaper, and often healthier, alternative.
The average consumer pays about $600 per year on their cellphone bill. Be a smart shopper – review your plan regularly to make sure you are using the minutes and data you're paying for, and do research on other carriers to make sure you are getting the best deal for your budget.
It's important to remember that while the decision to give up your daily latte won't fund your entire education, committing to several small changes in how you budget your money will start to add up. When it comes to saving, every cent counts.