What’s the one thing you love the most? Is it your favorite pair of shoes that you dream about on your way home from work? Or maybe it’s your grande Starbucks one pump vanilla caramel macchiato? No matter what you’re passionate about, these things can be expensive.
Including your favorite items and subscriptions in your budget can become very challenging if you aren’t careful.
For example, a daily trip to Starbucks for your one pump vanilla caramel macchiato and an occasional gluten-free ham and egg sandwich will cost you an average of $5 – $10 per day, $25 – $30 per week and approximately $1,560 per year, just on your favorite morning treat. Instead, you could use your latte money toward a down payment on a house or an investment property.
So, how do you save on your favorite things and focus more on your other financial priorities?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends about $7,000 on food annually, and $3,000 of that is from eating out. We need food to survive and nourish our bodies, but there are plenty of ways to cut back on the expenses.
Try only purchasing store-brand items for a week to decide which ones you like. Store brands tend to be more economical, and you may not be able to tell the difference between your fancy brand and a generic brand.
Enjoy chicken tikka masala? Who doesn’t? Try making it in the slow cooker at home. You can save plenty of money and even have leftovers to spare by simply trying your favorite dishes at home.
Meal prepping can be extremely cost-effective yet time-consuming and cumbersome. But what if you could do it with your friends as a group activity? Invite your friends to prep meals one day during the week and have everyone bring a different ingredient.
Taking an Uber or a taxi here and there can add up over time. Even driving your car around the city can be costly. If you use a little creativity, you may be able to save yourself some money and maybe even time.
Try taking public transportation. Depending on how large your city is, it may be a little bit more challenging to figure out. Take some time and map out the best journey to your destination. Think of it as an adventure, if nothing else. Utah offers some of the best public transportations options available anywhere.
Apps like Uber and Lyft often let you ride-share with someone else to save trips and money. If this isn’t an option, you can either combine your own trips and plan out your day strategically or ask a friend to carpool with you to an event.
If you own a car, washing it can be costly. Try washing it yourself. Not only will you be saving money, but you may work up a sweat in the process.
If you use coffee to ignite your mornings, you may be spending more than you think.
Most large coffee companies have their own app or reward program. Download the app or sign up for their program. Even if you cut down your weekly visit to once a month, you may be surprised when you receive a free treat from time to time.
Attempt to make your favorite coffee drink at home. You may even like it better! This will still give you your morning jolt, and it’ll save you money and give you extra time back in your day that would have been used making your coffee run.
Make coffee cubes with leftover coffee for iced coffee in the afternoon. This will keep your iced coffee from ending up diluted by melted ice cubes.
The cost of hair and makeup products can add up. And getting your hair cut can cost you upward of $40 a pop.
Most beauty products are made with the same ingredients. Branch out and try a less expensive brand. Do a little research before purchasing the product so you can see if the average consumer was satisfied. There are thousands of beauty blogs to help you.
Be careful when selecting the type of product you’re using, and even paying attention to the packaging can help. For example, if you use a jar instead of a squeeze tube, you could be wasting product.
Go to a beauty school to get your hair colored or cut. You may be taking a bit of a chance and you may not get the same person every time, but it could save you a lot of money.
Try buying in bulk. Grocery stores and stores like Walmart slash the prices of items like razors from time to time. When you see prices drop, you may want to stock up. The good news is, razors are small, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a place to store them.
You need clothes! They keep you warm or cool and protect you from the elements. But sometimes it’s challenging to find what you need or want in your price range.
Look for discounted gift cards to your favorite store. Sites like Gift Card Granny and Cardpool can save you up to 35% on gift cards.
Stick to simple, classic garments. Trends go in and out of style, but the classics are always fashionable.
Shop out of season. In the winter, purchase summer essentials, and in the summer, purchase winter essentials. This way, you’ll be more likely to get a fair price.
There’s nothing like coming home from work, ordering a pizza and watching your favorite show. Depending on your cable provider, this service could cost you a couple hundred dollars a month.
Investigate purchasing a subscription service instead of cable. There are plenty of options that have great movies, shows and exclusive series. Another option to consider is sharing the subscription with family members.
If you want to get out and try new things, you may want to volunteer. When you volunteer, you have the opportunity not only to attend new events but also to meet new people who could introduce you to other opportunities. You’re giving back while saving money.
Research your city’s free events. The majority of larger cities will have a local events calendar – check out the free events.
There are plenty of ways to save money on the things you love. It may just take a little bit of research. Saving money on the everyday essentials can free up more funds to save, invest or even purchase a new home.