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If you have some lingering debts that need to be paid off — or just want to start the new year with better spending habits, making small changes to your routine can have a big impact.
In fact, the cost of just five little luxuries can add up over time — and cutting them out entirely or reducing them won’t hurt one bit! (OK, it might hurt a little, but you won’t miss them as long as you have alternatives in place!)
RELATED: 35 easy ways to make extra cash
5 ways you can save more than $5,000 per year
1. Wireless service: $840 a year
The average cell phone bill is around $70 these days — and with some providers the average bill is over $100!
Switch from a $70 a month provider to a $15 a month provider, and you can save over $680 per year.
Check out our guide to the best cell phone plans and deals to see how much you can save.
2. Cable: $1,200 a year
If your cable bills are eating up your monthly budget, there are a lot of other options available these days!
The average cable bill is $99.10, according to Liechtman Research Group. But, instead of having cable, why not opt for cheaper alternatives? Streaming TV services such as Sling start at $20 per month. Spending $240 instead of $1,189 per year can save you $949 per year.
3. Dinner out every week: $2,668 a year
Bloomberg discovered that Americans’ spending on dining out overtook grocery purchases last year for the first time ever. On average, Americans spend 2,668 per year on eating out.
But let’s face it — we don’t have to eat out every single week — cutting down in this area can save you a ton!
4. Twice-a-week coffee trips: $520 a year
America loves her coffee. ABC News reported that American workers spend around $1,100 annually on coffee, and according to the US Small Business Development Center, 66% of Americans go out for coffee.
So basically, venturing out to a coffee shop on a regular basis, instead of drinking it at home, is costing you a lot more than you think.
For example, someone who goes out for coffee twice a week and each time spends roughly $5 on a fancy latte — that extra jolt of java can add up to about $520 a year!
So if you want to save some cash, check out these 7 cheap brands of coffee you can brew at home and that people really love!
5. Movies out twice a month: $480 a year
There is no doubt movie ticket prices have increased over time. At an average of $8.73 per ticket in the second quarter of 2016, it’s certainly a jump from the $.34 it used to cost in 1948. Add in popcorn and snacks, and you might just be spending $40 for two! But to keep it simple, we made it $20 per night out at the movies, twice a month. This is equal to about $480 per year.
If you want to save on movie tickets, you can get them (plus many other things) on discount at Costco!
Grand total = $5,708
All of the above add up to a grand total of $5,708. But, the good news is, if you can change your spending habits by making different choices, you can still save $5,000 or more a year!
With so many alternatives to mobile providers, cable providers, and simple choices we can make on our own, there are many ways to spend less.
1. Choose a different wireless service provider.
If you chose Republic Wireless, for example, instead of one of the big 4 carriers, you’ll save $674, and spend just $165.84.
2. Pick a cable alternative.
Netflix costs roughly $100 to $120 a year (depending on your plan) — while having cable would run you upwards of $949 per year. Hulu, Sling, DirecTV Now and Amazon Prime are some other great options.
3. Eat out less.
Let’s say you opt to eat dinner out once a month instead of once a week, and spend $30 instead of $50 by sharing an entrée or choosing a less expensive restaurant. You could also go out for lunch instead of dinner to save money, or splurge a little on something at the grocery store instead of a full meal out. Whatever you choose, making changes to food spending makes a big difference! Spending $30 on food out once a month is $360 per year.
RELATED: 8 ways to save while dining out
4. Drink coffee at home.
Coffee at home costs about $.28 a cup. If you have opt to drink those two cups a week at home that you would have gotten out, you’d spend $29.12 per year instead of $520 for the same amount of Joe.
5. Opt for movies at Redbox.
Instead of going to the movies, try to wait until the films come out on DVD. I know, I know — Star Wars looks way better on the big screen. But choosing Redbox twice a month over a movie out costs just $24 a year!
The net savings
These 5 alternatives all together cost about $675 for the year, which means you’d still save $5,033 a year by making some simple adjustments to your routine.
Just because you want to save money doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying life — it just means you may want to make a few adjustments to help you reach your financial goals. Making small changes can save you big over time!
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