Money 101: Potential Areas to Save on in 2018

A lot of people are familiar with the frustration of not being able to afford an item they’ve been eyeing for so long. Whether it’s a car, a luxurious spa weekend, or a simple pair of boots—you can only dream of it from outside the window whenever you pass by the store. And it’s not like you haven’t been trying. You don’t want to live like a recluse so you put in extra hours at work, but somehow the overtime pay always seems to get sucked in by a money-eating machine. So what else can you do?

 📸:  Unsplash

📸: Unsplash

Well, you have to reconsider your budget. The more money you make, the more you have to spend, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Bills are bills but there is always an expense that you can squeeze a little bit tighter. The Fiscal Femme says that what you first need is a change in perspective when it comes to budgeting. Instead of thinking of it as a budget, she advised the fine women of Ladies Get Paid to think of it as ‘happiness allocation’ which might make it feel like less of a chore.

Moving on, you can look at the specifics. Here are some of the average expenses that you might want to re-assess.

 📸:  Pexels

📸: Pexels

Food

Did you know that groceries are expected to suffer a continuous decline in the near future? In a 2017 study, Harvard Business Review reported that only 10% of Americans are eating home-cooked meals and the rest are dining out in restaurants and fast-food chains. You can save a few hundred bucks a month by getting your own groceries and cooking for yourself or inviting your friends over for a potluck. That also means skipping a coffee run. Meal prep is also a thing now for those who don’t have the time to make daily meals. Just pick a day when you’re most free and prepare your meals for the next few days while catching up on your shows—et voilà! Healthy, time-saving, and most of all, cheap.

 📸:  Pixabay

📸: Pixabay

Transportation

Take advantage of your city’s public transportation, bike lanes, and sidewalks. J.D. Roth shared in a Forbes article that he was able to save roughly around $990 in one year of cycling instead of taking his car everywhere. If you must use a car, consider trading in your current model for a more fuel-efficient one, or carpooling with your workmates. Time is money and if you absolutely can’t beat traffic, having someone to share your misery on the road with will keep you from going insane.

Healthcare

In 2015, it was reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation that up to 1 million adults declared bankruptcy due to the rising costs of healthcare and 40% of the US population are in debt due to it. A sensible healthcare plan can save you from a lifetime of debt. Health IQ states that a good measure of knowing when to buy is when you start a family, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until then because life insurance policies get more expensive with age.

Fashion and Leisure

Retail therapy is understandable but actual therapy might be less expensive. Business Insider reports that the average American spends
$1,800
per year on clothes. This is one of those things where you have to take a moment and ask yourself, do I really need this? Keep that number in mind next time you go to a mall.

Additional data states that around three grand is spent on entertainment. Try sharing a Netflix account with your siblings or roommate. Cancel your cable if you don't watch TV anyway.

 📸:  Pexels

📸: Pexels

Others

There are other areas where you can reduce your budget. Like, replacing your gym membership with a class pass subscription because your career doesn’t permit you to go regularly; becoming more mindful of your electricity usage; or cutting off your vices because that bottle of vino is just too expensive but tastes like its $8 version. 

Of course, don't think you can't spend anything at all. It's your money and you work hard for it. The important thing is knowing your worth so you don't deprive yourself too much. It is happiness allocation, after all.