Earlier this week I wrote about painless ways to cut cost and save money. Using those tactics, you could easily save or make hundreds of dollars over the course of a year, maybe even thousands if you did several at once.
But what if you want to save some real money? I’m talking several thousand dollars’ worth? Well, you’re going to have to do a little more than simply make your own coffee at home.
You’re going to have to take big action to see big results.
At first glance, these money-saving measures may seem like an automatic “no” to you. But take time to really consider each one. You might be surprised to find that one or more fits with your lifestyle, not to mention your wallet.
Cut “Necessities” That Are Actually Luxuries
We can get so used to living a certain way that we don’t even realize the things we take for granted are actually extras, not staples. Get used to the idea of paring down and you could see your bank balance go up.
Get rid of cable TV. Just like making your own coffee, this tidbit of money-saving advice is commonplace. However, not many people are actually cutting the cord. As of 2014, 85% of households with TV in the U.S. paid for cable, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, up from 61% in 1992, so its now pretty much standard.
But be honest. Of the zillions of cable channels you get, you watch a fraction of them. And you don’t even need cable to watch most of your favorite shows anymore, anyway; many can be seen online for free or for substantially less than the average cable fee, which has reached just under $100/month.
Even if you swear you could never do without cable, tell yourself you’ll try it for just 6 months. If you really can’t live without QVC, just sign up again. In the meantime, you will have saved yourself $600.
Quit smoking. With the price of cigarettes averaging between $6 and $8 per pack, smoking is a financial as well as a health burden. You know that you should stop smoking. Make this the year that you finally do it.
Over 20 years, a pack-a-day smoker will spend at least $38,000 (not adjusted for inflation), or enough for a new car or a down payment on a house. Even someone who smokes just half a pack every day will save over $1,000 in one year by not buying cigarettes. (And that’s if you live in a state with relatively low tobacco tax. If you live in New York, that number is closer to $2,400!)
Share to save money
Mom always said sharing was good. She was right! Here are three ways to make and save money by sharing what you have.
Rent out an extra room in your house. If you don’t mind having a new roommate roaming around, you can rent it out to someone and make some good money. Apply that to your own rent or mortgage, and you’ll save yourself a bundle.
How much you can make depends on your location, the size and condition of the room you’re renting out, and what the market will bear. Look on Craigslist to see what other rooms in your area are going for. Even at a modest $300 per month, that’s $3,600 a year in your pocket. (Just be sure to follow any applicable laws in your area to make sure you’re square with the taxman.)
Sign up for an exchange student program. Like renting out a room, this strategy is about sharing your home with a stranger. The difference is that with exchange student programs, you’re usually expected to host someone for a set period of time, from several weeks to several months, and you’re also expected to provide food.
Hosts are typically paid a few hundred dollars per week for the length of the stay, depending on the program. Learn more about hosting a student in your home here.
Get rid of your second car. If you’re in a two-car household, can you do with just one car? Think about whether your family members’ schedules are compatible enough to make sense in a one-car household.
Sharing a car cuts down on insurance, gas, and upkeep like oil changes. It will also save you a monthly payment if you’ve financed your car or give you an extra boost of cash if you can sell it outright.
Change How You Live
Okay, I’m not going to lie to you, some of these aren’t easy. But they can produce significant savings. If you’re looking to make big changes to your finances, consider these options.
Get rid of your only car. Can you do without your car? Even for a little while? This will work best if you live in a place with reliable public transportation, so it’s certainly not an option for everyone. You might also be able to swing it if you can arrange carpools and get regular rides from friends.
If you can’t get rid of your car entirely, consider swapping your current car, if it’s a newer, more expensive model, for something a little older. You’ll save money on insurance premiums, and you may save on upkeep. If you’re financing, you’ll definitely save on your monthly payment.
Move. Not for the faint of heart, this tactic makes sense only if you really need the money or were considering a move anyway. But since housing expenses are typically one of the largest recurring expenses people have, moving can end up saving a lot of money, even in the short term. And if you go for the new trend of tiny houses, you could save even more.
Besides simply moving to a cheaper house or apartment, you can also choose to move to an area that has lower cost of living. See how you can save money just by living in different area with this cost-of-living calculator.
Get married. I would never suggest you get married just to save money, but if you’re considering getting hitched, know that it can come with some nice financial perks depending on where you live. Most of those savings will come from tax breaks and better insurance rates when buying as a married couple.