This post is part of the TaxACT How I Save blog tour which teaches you ways to keep more money in your pocket. Last year, TaxACT saved America over $240 million on tax preparation. How much can you save? To learn more about tips and strategies on saving, click here.
Cooking at Home
One of the fastest ways to blow through your budget is with regular trips to restaurants. Even inexpensive restaurant costs add up fast, and cooking at home helps me save money on my food budget.
At my house, we limit restaurant trips and delivery to only once or twice a week, and we cook our meals at home the rest of the time. According to the USDA, a typical couple can get by with a food budget just below $400 per month, but bigger spenders often reach towards $800 per month. By cooking at home with fresh ingredients, we save a lot over going out to eat, and our waste lines are a little slimmer too.
I called Comcast to shut of my cable in January, 2011. Based on the rate I was paying at the time, I’ve saved $3,360 over the the four years I’ve been living without pay TV at home. I kept the high speed internet service I was already paying for, along with the Netflix account I was already paying for, and I get by just fine with those two services for my movie and TV needs.
For those who want to save the big money but don’t want to give up the shows you love, consider looking at online TV packages from companies like Hulu, HBO, WWE, and now even ESPN. The new ESPN online subscription will cost $20 per month, so now even the biggest sports fans can cut the cord without missing their favorite shows.
Ride Your Bike
Cars are expensive. Between gas, insurance, and regular repairs, we often spend hundreds of dollars each month on a fancy machine that is designed to get us from point A to point B. If you can live without that car, and can get from A to B through other means, you can save big money.
In my old hometown Denver, a monthly RTD pass for buses and light rail costs $79 or $140 per month depending on what routes you regularly ride. Here in Portland, a monthly pass costs $100 per month for unlimited rides. In New York, a monthly 30-day MTA pass costs $112. As you can see, in almost any big city you can save money with public transit.
But even better, ride your bike. Once you buy your bike, you can get anywhere for free. And if you ride regularly, you can skip that expensive gym membership too!
Do It Yourself
The cost to have a plumber come to your house and replace your toilet: $125-$250. The price to do it yourself: $0.
Last year, I decided it was time to replace my old, inefficient toilets with two brand new, high efficiency toilets with a powerful flush. When you want to do home maintenance, it can be an intimidating thought. But once you’ve read a tutorial and watched a few people do it on YouTube, few home improvement projects are out of reach. I replaced two toilets myself and saved about $300.
Manage Your Finances Yourself
In the past, I paid an accountant to do my taxes because I thought they were too complicated to handle myself. This year I am going to do it myself online, and will save about $500 in the process.
Whether you want to manage your personal or business finances or taxes, you can do almost anything yourself and save big. TaxACT is the leader of low-cost tax preparation, and if you enter the contest through the easy entry form below, you can do your taxes this year for free!