Do you want to save $25,000 a year? Money-saving ideas!

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When my husband and I got married a few years ago, it was not only a marriage of love and respect; but also a marriage of two minds hell bent on saving money. We have, in essence, become the He-Man and She-Ra of our financial world. We’re so savvy, that we sat down recently to figure out how much we saved – and we were bowled over!

I am sharing this with you, because I believe everyone can benefit from this list. I recently read a magazine article that stated that couples with $50,000 or more in CREDIT CARD debt is now the NORM! We calculated that the average American couple probably wastes about $30,000 a year on unnecessary items and spending sprees. Scroll down to “YOUR NEW TRICK” to see the break-down for saving this much money every year.

OUR TRICK NUMBER ONE:
We both max out on our 401K retirement plans. For some reason, so many of our friends and family members are afraid to do this. It’s okay to get your toes wet and start out low, maybe at 3% and make a commitment to increase it every 6 months.

OUR TRICK NUMBER TWO:
Because we max out on our 401K plans, we get more back on our taxes every year. Ask your employer’s accountant to explain how this works. You will be amazed to hear that by contributing to your retirement plan, you are lowering your income bracket.

OUR TRICK NUMBER THREE:
Because we do trick 1 and 2, we have learned to adjust to the cash that we bring home every month. If the money is not there, we can’t spend it and we adjust our spending habits accordingly.

YOUR NEW TRICK:
You don’t have to open up a 401K plan to save money (although I recommend some type of money market or other saving fund). See the list below for a comparison on how to KEEP YOUR hard-earned money. This is based on how much my husband and I estimate that we saved last year.

The “Norm”: Drinking coffee five days a week
Annual Cost: 1560.00
How to Save: Buy disposable to-go cups (20 oz size) from Costco and make your own coffee at home.
Annual Savings: 1360.00

The “Norm”: Buying birthday gifts for family members
Annual Cost: 850.00
How to Save: Buy birthday cards from the the dollar store
Annual Savings: 800.00

The “Norm”: Manicures and pedicures
Annual Cost: 560.00
How to Save: Go natural or do it yourself
Annual Savings: 560.00

The “Norm”: Professional haircuts and styles
Annual Cost: 450.00
How to Save: Get bargain haircuts or go to beauty schools
Annual Savings: 350.00

The “Norm”: Full Wardrobe / Designer clothes
Annual Cost: 5500.00
How to Save: Look for sales / Thrift stores
Annual Savings: 4500.00

The “Norm”: Dining out or ordering in 3 times a week
Annual Cost: 5460.00
How to Save: Eat at home more / Eat out only once a week
Annual Savings: 3640.00

The “Norm”: Two vacations a year
Annual Cost: 10,000.00
How to Save: One vacation a year
Annual Savings: 5,000.00

The “Norm”: Special occasion jewelry & flowers
Annual Cost: 1500.00
How to Save: Have a romantic, no-gift dinner at home
Annual Savings: 1500.00

The “Norm”: Buying lunches at work
Annual Cost: 1560.00
How to Save: Bring lunches from home
Annual Savings: 1005.00

The “Norm”: Stamps and envelopes for bills
Annual Cost: 300.00
How to Save: Use free on-line banking
Annual Savings: 300.00

The “Norm”: Bookstores, the average couple buys 15 books a year.
Annual Cost: 240.00
How to Save: Go to the library and borrow up to 75 books annually.
Annual Savings: 1120.00

The “Norm”: Hired maid for house-keeping
Annual Cost: 1100.00
How to Save: Schedule a once a week cleaning spree to bond
Annual Savings: 1100.00

The “Norm”: Magazines and newspaper subscriptions
Annual Cost: 288.00
How to Save: Use your on-line access instead
Annual Savings: 288.00

The “Norm”: Recreational activities such as skiing
Annual Cost: 2050.00
How to Save: Have a free day at the beach, farmer’s market, the park, etc.
Annual Savings: 2050.00

The “Norm”: Gym memberships for two people
Annual Cost: 800.00 (includes clothing)
How to Save: Walk, jog, hike or bike together
Annual Savings: 800.00

Total Savings: $24,373.00 

PLEASE
Feel free to share any other money-saving ideas with me. This something that is very much a hobby for me.

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