Pay It Down: Five Ways to Cut Back and Save Big

CeCe Mitchell with Zion’s Bank Woman’s Financial Group shares five ways to cut back and save big.

1. Plan Ahead

• Include your family in planning for outings, meals, scheduling

• For example, some of us think spending Saturday at the mall is great family fund – but it can be expensive. Impulse shopping is costly. Think outside the box – camp in the back yard or have a Monopoly marathon!

• Rent a movie rather than going to the theater and save the big expense for a really special film – think about it – $8.00 per person for a ticket and the snacks are even more. A family of 4 could conceivably spend $50.00 in one evening!

2. Brown Bag It

$9 will generally cover a decent lunch most work days. If you or your spouse buys rather than packs a lunch five days a week for one year, you’re shelling out about $2,350 a year. So you’ll save $40 a week and $160 per month if you just bring your lunch.

• Taking your lunch also ensures that you’re using the food you buy from the grocery store.

• Plus, it’s healthier to eat what you bring and cook yourself instead of fast food or prepackaged frozen food.

• You can even buy great lunch and sandwich items, such as the highest-quality deli cuts and cheeses, hummus, and other ingredients and you’re still saving.

3. Interest charges on credit card bills

According to a recent survey, the median amount of credit card debt carried by Americans is $6,600. Making the minimum payment each month at a 13% interest rate, it will take 250 months (almost 21 years) to pay off the debt and cost $4,868 in interest. Ouch!

• Use the ladder – pay more each month on your smallest credit card until it is paid off. Then take that payment and apply it on the next card.

• Pay on time – being even one day late on a credit card payment can cost you $30-$40 – yikes!

4. Unused memberships reports that the monthly service fee at gyms averages between $35 and $40. At $40 per month, an unused gym membership runs $480 per year.

• Don’t forget about magazine subscriptions. Do you read them all?

5. Eliminate Extras

Paint your own fingernails and toes! The Day Spa Magazine Price Survey of found that the average cost of a manicure is $20.53. A weekly manicure sets you back about $1,068 per year. C’mon, this is something we can all do.

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