Many Americans today live above and beyond their means. Learning how to save money is a can be a challenging lesson to learn. You have to ask yourself why you need the latest tech gadget, biggest sports utility vehicle (SUV) and the latest high-end fashion accessories – especially when it puts you in debt. Instead, investigate ways to save money on a tight budget!
Maintain the Vehicle You Have
This is the usual course of action for the average American consumer: pay monthly for an auto loan for five to seven years only to then purchase another automobile, pay for another five to seven years and basically continue a never ending cycle of payments. If you’re paying for a $15,000 car with an average car loan length of 60 months (five years) with about 7 percent interest, you’re giving up about $18,000 during that period of time, which includes interest. Instead of committing to plunking down another $18,000, maintain the vehicle you’ve already paid for instead.
Ask yourself three questions to decide if you need a new vehicle:
1) Is the current vehicle safe and reliable?
2) Is the current vehicle good on gas?
3) Were you happy and excited when you initially purchased you vehicle?
If you answered yes to all three questions, re-evaluate the desire for a new vehicle. Maybe it’s not necessary. Maybe you can invest just $2,000 or $3,000 in your car during that next five years to keep it in tip-top shape and looking like it’s brand new.
Make Your Home a Constant Vacation Spot
The average American expects to spend an average of $1,200 per person while on vacation, according to a 2012 American Express survey. Does spending that amount make sense when you already spend hundreds or thousands per month on your home? Why not make your home your vacation paradise since that is where you invest a large portion of your salary every month?
For the cost of a week-long vacation for the family, you can purchase an indoor pool for your yard to enjoy for years to come. Besides the enjoyment, it may also enhance your property value—that means that your luxurious vacation pool could be making you money while providing you with a getaway. You could also have a deck or a screened-in porch, Jacuzzi or game room built in your home for your continual pleasure that may cost less than a vacation for a family of four. Once again, these improvements might add to the value of your property.
Get Your Cable and Entertainment Costs Under Control
According to a study by the NPD Group, the average monthly cable television bill was around $86 as of 2012, and could rise to as much as $200 per month. This is a compelling argument for subscribing to a less expensive option such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant Video starting today. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video cost significantly less (around $8 to $10 per month as of 2014) and provide just as must entertainment value as cable. Even if you were to opt for all three services it would cost under $25 per month, which is a savings of over $60 per month.
Make Your Own Detergent
It may seem like a small issue at first, but if you look at the cost of the leading brands of laundry detergent, it is clear that an alternative could save you a lot of money each year. There have even been stories of people stealing laundry detergent and trying to resell it due to its high value. Luckily, you can make your own laundry detergent to save yourself some money.
According to the EPA, the average American family washes about 400 loads of laundry per year, which works out to about 7.5 loads per week. An average 50 ounce, $15 bottle of leading brand detergent covers about 30 loads.
If instead you make your own detergent you can yield enough laundry detergent to take care of as much as three years of laundry for around $10 by buying Borax Natural Laundry Booster, Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, a bar of Ivory Soap and combining it with three gallons of water. Experiment with a bit of each to find the right mixture for your clothes.
The idea of making even small changes to your daily routine can be difficult to grasp at first, but once you see the amount of weekly, monthly and yearly dollars you can keep in your pocket on average by making minor changes to your household habits, you will probably want to learn about even more ways to save.
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