How to Save $50 a Week
Saving money is one of the first steps you can take to get your personal finances into a healthy state. If you are able to save $50 per week and invest that money over a 40 year career, then you will have nearly $350,000 (based upon an assumed 6% return). Over 50 years that’s $650,000! I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money in my opinion!
Finding ways to save $7.15 per day (that’s $50 divided by 7 days in a week) can be tough but I’ve outlined some easy ways to make that happen below.
Also, give yourself some grace! Saving money is hard and you won’t hit your goal every time you try. Just remember to put the bad days behind you and focus on the next one. Each day is a new opportunity to try and save where you can.
Make coffee at home
Make lunch at home
Make a cheap lunch and all meals for that matter
Get a roommate
Trim your cell phone plan
Walk more and drive less
Cut your gym membership
Use more coupons
Just don’t buy anything for a week
Delay that haircut another week (or three)
Make Coffee at Home
Making coffee at home can save you anywhere from $1 to $7 depending on your typical order. If you like a really fancy coffee drinker and are willing to take that burden on yourself you can really save a lot of money each year. Even if you spend $200+ on a fancy coffeemaker, that money will be made up and saved in the long run (and that is what we really care about).
So, on the low end we are saving $1 of the $7.15 we need each day in order to save $50 per week. This is a great start for anyone with a coffee/mocha/latte addiction. There is no shame in enjoying them we just need to find a way to make it slightly cheaper over time.
Make Lunch at Home
This is where real money can be saved! As inflation takes hold across the globe our daily lunch is costing more and more. Making good choices about what you eat and where that food is prepared can have a HUGE impact on your annual budget. Our family of four was able to save an additional $100 per week just by focusing on this area of our budget.
That is one little piece of advice I’ll slip into this article. If you really want to save more money take the time to really evaluate the larger parts of your spending (rent, cell phone, food, entertainment, etc). If you spend the time to break them down and evaluate where you can save, then you can have a major impact with some deep focus.
When I say ”focus”, at least for the food portion of our budget, I mean understanding if we can buy more generic brands, or eat out less, or even eat out cheaper by ordering something different on the menu, or drinking water instead of a beer or soda. A families food budget is one of the key places you can make an impact because it is so variable and offered so many chances to have an impact, 21 total meals in a week is a lot of chances for improvement. If you have a family of four, like I do, then we have 84 chances to save money each week (21 meals times 4 people). That’s a lot of opportunities to save.
Get a Roommate
This isn’t an option for everyone but for those that can add a roommate you can really save a ton!
If you have an extra room in your house, or are open to renting with other people you can cut your costs in half. If you own a home, pay $2,500 on your mortgage per month and can offer a decent sized bedroom and their own bathroom, then you can charge $750-$1,000 per month! That is a huge savings per month and far more than $50 per week.
There are many potential downsides to having a roommate. They can be loud, eat you food, be messy, and hard to get along with. The person you select to live with can have a tremendous impact on your happiness so choose them wisely and with significant consideration. In some cases the cost savings simply isn’t worth the headache.
Trim your Cell Phone Plan
This is one critical area that many folks just don’t evaluate for cost savings. Do you need the unlimited plan? Maybe, but maybe not. Sure it allows you to upgrade your phone all the time, but is your phone critical to your business? Your side hustle? If not, then consider trimming back.
Do you have rollover minutes every month? Are you connected to Wi-Fi as often as possible? These are all things to think about when evaluating your cell plan. If you aren’t optimizing opportunities to use Wi-Fi and save data, then lean in there and see if you can trim your plan. Many of you will find a $25, or more, monthly saving if you focus your saving eye upon your cell plan. And $25 per month is $6.25 per week and $0.83 per day. That’s a good start toward $50 per week.
Walk More and Drive Less
Walking more has so many benefits. It is good for your health, the environment, and your pocketbook. Some folks reading this right now, are saying, but I don't have a car so how does this work for me? Walking more and reducing your transportation cost, is what this header really should say, but that is pretty long winded.
The net/et of all this is to simply find a way to reduce the cost of transportation. Fewer Ubers/Lyfts, fewer trips to the store, bike to the office, walk to the gym. However you want to tackle this area of expenses it can have a wide array of impacts for you.
Cut your Gym Membership
Gyms have been in a pretty tough spot the last 2 years during the pandemic. Many of them struggled as folks turned their homes into a gym. While many have found their way back, gyms are still trying hard to retain and increase their membership numbers.
This puts you in a great position to negotiate your gym cost. Or, like many others, you can create your own home gym and save some money over time. Do what works for you because keeping yourself healthy is critical!
On another note, many retailers thought the pandemic was going to last longer and they purchases a ton of home gym equipment to support that notion. What this means is there are a ton of great deals on gym equipment right now.
Use more coupons
There is absolutely no shame in looking for a deal, and coupons are the oldest method for doing so. Things like Groupon still exist AND ARE THRIVING!! You can also provide your email to get a one-time deal (we did this with my children's furniture and saved $150). Or you can download an app and get free food, or free delivery with Grubhub/Door Dash/etc.
Our local grocery store sends an email each week with their flyer and a few coupons. We almost always take advantage of any non-perishables we would otherwise buy at a later date. Alternatively, we will plan dinners around the coupons that are supplied. If we want to eat out, we always have a drawer full of fast food coupons and we won't go to a fast-food joint unless we have one of their coupons handy. Coupons are an unheralded way to save money during inflationary times (or anytime!).
Just don't buy anything for a Week
Easier said than done! I know, you are right, sometimes you just need something, but hear me out. Our family will ensure we don't make plans for a week, we have all the food we need, our cars have plenty of gas, our entertainment is planned and free (Netflix counts as free in this scenario because it is a sunk cost), and we spend the entire week without swiping a card.
While many will say this isn't "saving" I would say its a grey area. Technically you aren't spending, and it might actually cause you to reconsider a purchase you would have otherwise made. In that case, I would consider this a way to save. If you spend most weeks not spending money, then this is just an exercise in planning you may not regularly conduct.
Delay that Haircut
This is where my vanity has me saying NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Truth be told, I like getting my haircut, I like to look fresh and if I go a day or two over and that mop begins to look shaggy I can't really handle it. I'm saying/writing this to let you know that I need to get over it and if you are looking to save some money, you should too.
A typical haircut can run $20-$50 and generally you get one every 6 weeks. If you stretch that out to 8 or 10 weeks, then you are saving $40-$200 per year, or $1-$3 per week.
There are so many places in our budgets that can use a little attention in order to cut costs. I've outlined 10 above and would challenge each of you to find one or two that you believe will be easy and impactful for you and/or your family.
If you want more ways to save money or make money, check out the rest of the blog.