I’m into saving with the least amount of work. I just don’t have the patience for coupon clipping or other time-consuming money-saving habits.
Still, as we transition into a new stage of life, what is important to us evolves; our spending patterns should evolve as well. Take the time to review spending to make sure that money isn’t leaking out of the budget unnoticed. The way I look at it, if we take the time to do this, we increase our chances of securing what we need and of having the resources to do what we most value with our time.
For example, like many other baby boomers, my husband and I decided to buy a vacation home on the west coast of Florida in 2009. I know, I know, I can already hear the jokes. Florida–God’s waiting room. But anyway, it’s been fun and a great place to stay active in the cold weather months.
But it’s not cheap supporting a second home and we need to save more for our retirement years. So we had to be creative. We rent out the house part-time. We combed through our routine expenses to see if we could shave a bit off each one. Pruning expenses helps with saving now, but also helps us to get used to living on less. Looking at credit card and bank statements for bills enrolled in automatic payment plans was a good place to start. They have a way of getting more expensive, and it’s easy not to notice the increases when we have them on “set it and forget it.” Here are a few of the items we were able to cut:
- The cable bill. Like some lucky pre-retirees our kids are out on their own and self-sufficient now. (Whew!) But we were still paying for premium channels that we rarely watched. I dropped the channels and now every month we save a bit.
- You may be enrolled in a Web or print subscription that you no longer read. Cancelling those is an easy way to cut spending.
- Call your wireless carrier. They may have a cheaper plan that fits your current calling patterns. The company is not going to call you up to suggest that.
If you manage to save $75 a month, that adds up to $900 a year. After five years, that’s $4,500—serious savings without a lot of work.