If you take care of money, it’ll take care of you. But if you refuse to get your financial house in order, it may eventually come crashing down. Just think about people who were once wealthy, but then lost it all.
Many people complain about not having enough money to make ends meet, yet refuse to cut back on variable expenses. We’re talking about those quick runs to the fast-food joint, frequent movie nights, daily trips to Starbucks or cable upgrades
Dropping Gym Membership
The average gym membership costs somewhere between $40 and $60 per month, depending on the source. Let’s say it’s $50 per month on average, just for ease of calculations. Cutting out your $50 a month gym membership results in $600 in annual savings.
Now, cutting out your gym membership doesn’t mean eliminating exercise from your life. You’ll have to come up with your own exercise routines at home. There may be equipment costs, depending on what you decide to do.
A best-case scenario, for example, involves someone who does running, short exercise routines, and exercise videos that can be checked out from the library, which maintains that zero cost. That’s a $600 annual savings.
On the other hand, a person may be into weightlifting and buying the appropriate weights and equipment might cost well above $1,000 (along with the space needed to do this at home), but after that initial cost, there’s still a $600 annual savings.
(Regardless of which avenue you choose, it’s worth noting that regular exercise has a great positive impact on long-term health costs.
Downsizing a Home For Financial House
One change that can save an incredible amount of money annually is downsizing your home if you’re a homeowner. Rather than living in a home that has excess space, a person might consider moving to a smaller home.
Doing so comes with a ton of financial advantages. The smaller home comes with lower utilities, (usually) lower property taxes, lower maintenance costs, (usually) lower insurance costs, (usually) lower association fees, and so on and so forth.
The exact dollar amount of the savings varies widely here, but it’s largely a given that a significant downsizing will save you thousands of dollars a year while freeing up some of that home equity you built in your larger home.
Of course, there are costs associated with moving and with closing the purchase of a new home and the sale of your current home, and there may be costs involved with your new location (such as costs associated with change in commute). Still, downsizing one’s home can easily generate thousands in annual savings with a single move.
Giving Up Soda For financial House
The average American consumes 44 gallons of soda per year. That’s a lot of soda. Simply replacing that with water would not only have some great health outcomes, it’d directly save a lot of money as well.
You can often find a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans of soda for $2.50 – that’s 144 ounces. There are 128 fluid ounces per gallon, so for $2.50, you can buy 1.125 gallons of soda. You’d have to buy 39 12-packs of soda to reach the average annual consumption of soda, so the total cost of soda for the average person for a year is $97.78 – let’s round that to $100.
So, yes, the average American spends $100 a year on soda (without even factoring in that some soda purchases – at restaurants and vending machines – will likely be more expensive). If you reduce that immediately to zero by drinking tap water instead of soda, that’s $100 in annual savings directly from making the switch to water instead of soda (assuming you’re an average drinker).
Beyond that, though, there will be health benefits from making this switch. Eliminating soda usually results in lower weight, lower obesity rates, and lower risk of illnesses like diabetes, all of which will save you additional
Snowball Debt Payments
Rather than tackling all your debts at once and getting frustrated because you are not getting close to the end, start with the smallest one and watch the progress you will make.
If you are unfamiliar with Dave Ramsey, this is one of his key concepts and one of his best concepts, Basically, the snowball debt payment system has you list all your debts from smallest to largest. Then, you start by finding any and all extra money you can and paying off the smallest debt payment as quickly as you can. When that is paid off, you use that momentum and put any extra money towards the next debt payment. You are still paying the minimum payments on everything else but this gives you a good sense of accomplishment as debts start disappearing.
And where is this extra money you ask? Challenge yourself to skip all eating out expenses or cut cable. Can you spend $20 less at the grocery store this month and apply it to your debt payments? Maybe you can sell some things on Craigslist to make some extra money. Be creative and use those small extra sources of income to make big progress paying down your debt and go a long way to settle your financial home