3 Easy Ways to Save an Extra $40 a Month

friends poorI’ve always done a good job of saving money.

When my husband returned to school, we slashed our expenses and downsized to a studio apartment to make it through financially. We also did all the basics when it comes to saving money, like packing our lunch, cutting cable, and eliminating restaurants from our budget. When it comes to saving money, I don’t joke around.

And our hard work pays off, because recently, we were finally able to save half our income.

But what if you haven’t been saving money your whole life and you need to figure out a place to start?

If you find a way to eliminate three things that are costing you at least $40 a month, that could help you save $120 a month total, or $3600 a year! That money could go toward paying down debt, saving up for a new car, or even help pay for a vacation.

Here are three easy ways to save an extra $100 a month.

Meal Plan

If you aren’t already meal planning, you should. It is by far the easiest and most effective way to slash money from your budget.

Don’t think that meal planning is as time intensive as some have made it sound. You don’t have to spend hours couponing to make it worth your while.

Start small by simply deciding in advance what you’re going to have for dinner each night. This will help you put together a grocery budget and eliminate all those last-minute “What’s for dinner?” evenings which result in either expensive take-out or runs to the grocery store which almost always involves impulse buys.

When you start to feel comfortable with planning out dinners, try checking the weekly grocery adverts and plan your meals based on food sales. If you have even more time, you can always check around for coupons for items on your list.

Reduce Your Bills

Every year, I make it a point to call my cell phone carrier, car insurance, and internet carrier to make sure I’m getting the lowest price possible. And every few months, I call my cable provider to take advantage of any offers.

In fact, just last month, I reduced our phone service by $60 by eliminating our home phone, which we never use anyway, and getting rid of the insurance on our phones.

Last week, I called our cable provider and told them my bill was too high and if there was any way they could help me reduce it. I was automatically offered $10 off my bill every month, and three free months of Showtime.

And this is in addition to the $10/month savings I received three months ago for bundling my internet and cable.

Reducing Your Beauty Routine

I didn’t realize how much my beauty routine cost until I added it up. Getting my hair done every 6-8 weeks ($150), monthly mani-pedi ($30), waxing ($60)… I was able to slash a lot of these expenses by simply taking care of everything at home.

Even if you’re not willing to dye your own hair, extending your visits from 6-8 weeks to every three months, can result in two to four less visits a year, resulting in a $600 annual savings.