Part of making a difference with your money is ensuring that you save enough to put it into the saving and investing vehicles that can do the most good. By making a “shift to thrift,” you’ll spend less and save more, avoiding extra debt and shoring up your retirement accounts to secure your golden years. You’ll be buying less and wasting less, using up fewer of the planet’s precious resources. And, more money in savings and investments means more available to do good work in the world.
Start with these five simple, money-saving steps, and you could save $8,326 a year.
1. Join a carpool rather that commuting solo.
The average American commutes 25 miles to work each way. If you drive a small sedan to and from work 252 days a year (21 days each month), spending 52.2 cents a mile, you’ll spend $6,577 a year. Share your drive with just one other person, and you’ll save $3,289 a year.
Source: US Census Bureau, AAA
2. Make your own coffee and tea instead of hitting the coffee shop.
Buying a $3 latte five days a week before work adds up. Make your own fair trade and organic coffee or tea for 25 cents a cup instead and save $688 a year.
Source: DollarTimes.com Coffee Savings Calculator
3. Cut your clothing purchases in half.
Cut down on the $1,604 the average person in the US spends each year on clothes by declaring a moratorium on buying new clothes (other than perhaps socks and undies). Scour consignment and thrift shops, frequent rummage sales, and hold clothing swaps to get what you need. Conservatively, if you do enough to cut your clothing expenditures in half, you’ll save $802/year.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
4. Take steps to be more energy efficient at home.
The average US household spends $5,550 a year on energy costs. But the average American homeowner could cut his/her energy use in half using existing technologies—including plugging air leaks and installing ceiling fans. Use Green America’s “Ten Easiest Ways to Cut Your Energy Use in Half” to get started. Savings: $2,225.
Source: Alliance to Save Energy, Green American magazine
5. Eat out less and make meals at home.
The average American eats out four times a week, and the average restaurant meal costs $12.72. That adds up to $2,784 a year spent on dining out. Make just two of those four meals at home, and you save $1,322 annually.