Today’s economy is better than it was ten years ago, but many people struggle to put money into a savings account. According to stats published by CNBC, 29% of households have less than $1,000 in savings
If your savings account is low, here’s how you can save $15,000 over the next five years:
- Start tracking your expenses
Saving $15,000 over five years is easy when you know exactly where your money goes. Saving money always begins with tracking your expenses. After you pay your basic bills like electricity, car insurance, and internet, you need to create a budget for things like food, entertainment, and other expenses that might come up.
Once you know how much extra money you have to play around with, the next thing to do is figure out how to allocate that money to maximize the amount you save.
- Get a handle on mindless purchases
The purchases that drain your wallet are usually mindless. For example, say you’ve taken a trip to the post office and you see Taco Bell. You start to feel hungry, so you pop into the drive-thru and order some tacos. A meal only costs you ten bucks, but how often do you do that? And how many other places do you go where you drop ten bucks or more on a whim?
Train yourself out of making mindless purchases. One way is to pull out a set amount of cash that can be used for those types of purchases. When it’s gone, it’s gone. For instance, you could set aside $100/month for fast food and coffee runs. Although, $100/month probably won’t last long, and will highlight how often you’re making mindless purchases.
If you cook your meals at home and eat nutritious food, you won’t be hungry when you’re driving around. If you buy a $10 fast food meal five days a week, that’s $200/month, which amounts to $6,000 over five years.
- Shave with a safety razor to save $1,000 in 5 years
Disposable razors seem cheap in the moment, but when you do the math compared to traditional shaving options, they turn out to be expensive.
For example, while some people shave with lower quality razors that come in bulk packages, many people prefer the higher quality disposable razors.
For $13 at Walmart, you can get three Gillette sensitive disposable razors – either the Mach 3 for men, or the Venus for women. If each razor lasts one week, you’ll need 52 razors per year. That’s 18 packages at $13 each, which comes to $234 per year. After five years, that’s $1,170 spent on razors.
Switching to a safety razor requires a one-time purchase for the razor ($25-$50) and blades cost anywhere from a dime to fifty cents each. Since you can use both sides of the blade, one blade should last about a week. A year’s supply of safety razor blades will cost between $5.20-$26. In five years, you’ll spend $130 on blades at most. Switching to a safety razor will save you $1,000 over the course of five years. You’ll get a better shave, too!
- Make your coffee at home
It’s convenient to drive through a coffee shop and order a $5 coffee, but do you really need it? Say you visit the local coffee shop every day for your morning cup of joe. If you buy brewed coffee, you’ll pay an average of $2 per drink. If you buy a milk-based beverage, you’ll pay an average of $5 per drink – and that’s on the low end.
With these numbers, your daily coffee habit is costing you between $60-$150 per month. Over the course of 5 years, that amounts to $3,650-$9,125.
By making your coffee at home, you’ll save thousands of dollars. You can get a high-quality programmable coffee maker for $50, and a good home espresso machine will cost you $300 new. Good coffee is generally $15 for a 12oz bag, which should last a couple of weeks.
It’s not hard to make a good cup of coffee. Just search for tutorials online and experiment until you get it right. If you really want to perfect your skills, take Blue Bottle’s Skillshare class on brewing.
Curbing impulsive and unnecessary expenses will grow your savings account
When you can’t increase your salary, the only thing you can do is cut back spending. Pay attention to where your money is going, and instead of throwing extra cash at baristas and fast food restaurants, stash it away in your savings account. You’ll be surprised to see how much cash you can accumulate this way.