This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Varo. The opinions and text are all mine.
When you create your budget each month, you've likely noticed that you have large fixed expenses like your rent/mortgage in addition to large variable expenses (like food and fuel expenses). Lowering your rent/mortgage bill would likely require drastic changes (like moving to another part of town), but you can easily lower your variable expenses (and give your savings a jump start!) without a ton of work or sacrifice.
Cancel Unused Monthly and Annual Subscriptions/Memberships
Have you cut the cord on your TV, but then you replaced your TV service with multiple subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and more? Or perhaps you pay money every month for a gym membership you don't use anymore? As you add more and more “small” subscriptions to your budget, they can really start to add up.
Simply check your bank statements for subscriptions and evaluate each of your memberships to ensure that you still use each of them and that they still fit into your budget. You don't have to cut everything…just the things that are no longer worth it to you. It can be easy to just continue to auto-pay month after month because it takes effort to cancel the subscriptions!
Check Gas Prices Before You Pump
I'm not saying that you need to drive miles out of your way to find a gas station that's a few cents cheaper per gallon. But rather than just filling up at your usual gas station without looking at the price, check the gas stations along your route for the best prices. You can use an app like Gas Buddy or just be aware of the signs while you're driving.
I have a favorite gas station myself (because I earn loyalty points and it usually has one of the best gas prices in my area), but I do still check out the prices of other gas stations along the route to pick up my kids to make sure I'm getting the lowest gas prices. It may only seem like a few cents, but the money adds up over time!
Return Redbox and Library Books
Do you ever rent Redbox movies or check out library books or movies with the intention of saving money? We use our library A LOT! But, if you don't remember to return your books or movies when they are due, the late fees can really add up. Figure out a system for remembering to either renew or return the items before the late fees kick in.
Make Coffee or Stock Soft Drinks at Home
Do you have a favorite indulgence like coffee at the coffee shop, a fountain drink from the convenience store, a pastry from your favorite sweet shop, or even a vending machine habit?
I'm not saying that you have to give them up, but perhaps there's a way that you can save money on them. Could you purchase a machine to make amazing coffee at home that would be cheaper than your coffee shop over time? Or perhaps you could buy a 12-pack of soft drink cans to store in the fridge at home for about the same amount as a fountain drink or two. And maybe you could learn how to make a copycat version of your favorite treats at home instead of buying them at a restaurant.
Reduce Grocery Costs
Groceries can be a huge part of any family's budget. But luckily, there are many easy ways to save money on food. First, you can match coupons with store sales to save the most amounts of money, but this can take both time and effort to really save money.
However, you can still save money on groceries without using a single coupon! You can buy groceries on sale, compare prices on name brand vs. the store brand, create a list and avoid impulse purchases. And, most importantly, make a meal plan to use up all the food you just purchased so that you don't waste food.
Eat Out Less
You don't need to avoid all restaurants, but do you need to eat out as often as you do? Take a look at how much money you're spending on restaurants and evaluate if you can reduce that amount. If you eat out for lunch every single day, could you reduce it to 3 times a week or even 1 day a week? Try calculating how much you're spending weekly, monthly, and even annually. It may motivate you to cut back and apply that money towards paying off debt or a savings goal.
Cut Banking Fees
Does your bank charge you fees for banking each month? Perhaps you have to keep a huge minimum balance in order to avoid paying monthly fees? Or you have to pay every time you use the ATM? Those fees can really add up! Think about how much extra money you'd have in your account if you didn't have to pay banking fees.
Maybe you've looked for a bank that doesn't charge fees and you haven't been able to find one? You can kickstart your financial future with a Varo Savings Account. No fees, early direct deposit, auto savings tools with high interest rates help you see all your money in one place. Check out www.varomoney.com for more information.
With Varo Bank, you can have your paychecks direct deposited, use the iOS app to deposit any additional checks, and pull cash out from over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs – all for free. Plus, you can have a free high-yield savings account with no minimum balance and automatic savings tools to help you save even more money.
About Varo (which rhymes with borrow):
- Completely fee-free (meaning no monthly fees, no ATM fees, no foreign transaction fees)
- Get paid up to two days earlier with Early Direct Deposit
- Varo EMV-chip debit card with the Visa Zero Liability guarantee in case of unauthorized charges
- The Varo app is available on iOS and Android
- Deposit checks via the iOS app
- Fee-free High Yield Savings Accounts with no minimum balance and automatic transfer tools and one of the highest Annual Percentage Yields (APY) of any other bank in the country
- FDIC insured
- Utah-based customer service
What about you? How do you save money on the small things?