Normally, I spend my time writing about minimalism and sustainability. However, one awesome thing about minimalism, being based on reducing overall consumption, is that if you reduce your spending in a few key areas, you will save so much money throughout the year that you will have more cash on hand for things that really matter.
Nobody would turn down an extra $200 per month, and I have compiled a short list of money-saving suggestions that can give you at least that much extra money per month with very minimal effort on most of them.
Here are some financial tips to make 2019 the year that you have plenty of money for festival tickets, organic beer, and Uber 😀
1. Shop cell providers
Many companies are competitive running specials for cell phone service contracts this time of year. I personally stay away from contracts and payment plans- opting instead for purchasing an inexpensive smartphone outright and paying $30 per month with Walmart Family Mobile for unlimited talk, text, and 1 GB of 4G LTE data. That much data works great for me since I don’t use social media, and the only reason I need data when I’m out is to check my bank balance.
Consider getting quotes for your current amount of coverage from 2 or 3 other providers, and you could save hundreds of dollars in 2019.
2. Get auto insurance quotes
Car insurance premiums are something you should be evaluating at least once per year. Many times you can save 10-50% by simply comparing quotes. Even though I don’t own a car anymore, I still manage my husband’s car insurance and saved just a hair less than 50% monthly earlier this year. We usually purchase his insurance for 6 months at a time, as that can save a total of around $50 to $100 dollars per 6-month premium.
Here is Forbes list of highest-rated insurance companies. I’ve had great experiences with both AAA and Geico.
Get quotes from at least two other car insurance companies, and consider a 6 month paid-in-full insurance plan.
3. Meal plan
The average millennial spends $163 monthly on eating out. That’s great and all, but I don’t like when eating out goes from being a treat to being a desperate search for vegan food at 10 p.m. in a fast-food-ridden Mid-western city because I don’t have enough food at home.
This is a huge one for Gabe and I. My meal planning means the difference between $300 monthly spending on food, and $600. If I don’t plan the meals, he defaults to Arby’s and Burger King everyday, and I end up not eating enough because I’m already a picky eater (haha).
Spend 30 minutes per week making a list of meals to eat for the week that don’t require much cooking. I spend the most on ingredients for lunch because it is my favorite meal of the day, and I spend less and use more basic ingredients for breakfasts and dinners.
4. Adjust your thermostat
This is your biggest household energy expense, accounting for at least 40% of the average American’s energy bill. In my apartment, located in an historical 100-year-old bank building with poorly-sealed windows, heating actually accounts for 56% of our energy bill- according to our energy provider.
Adjust your home thermostat at least 2 degrees closer to the outdoor temperature.
5. Make your coffee at home
My soy latte usually costs around $5.50 at any local coffee shop, which is quite a millennial trait- as most millennials don’t bat an eye at overpriced coffee. Sixty percent of us are willing to pay over $4 for a single cup of coffee. It isn’t really the cost that I have a problem with- it’s the flavor. Most local shops in my area the same *burnt* coffee beans from a pretentious local roaster. I prefer my $5 organic fair-trade Aldi coffee, thank you.
Just head over to Target or Walmart and grab a $20 pour-over or french press, and pick up a bag of organic fair-trade coffee beans at Aldi.