If you're looking to have a little extra money in your pocket on Black Friday for an impulse buy, there are better ways to do it than running up your credit cards, no matter how good the reward points are.
Many of us over look how small, daily purchases can add up to hundreds of dollars a month. Brown-bagging lunch to work, skipping trips to Starbucks, and avoiding vending machines are some simple ways to save a lot of cash that can be put towards a savings account — or toward a more exciting Black Friday shopping spree. We've considered some relatively painless ways to help you pinch pennies to save for the big day:
Skip the Starbucks
Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and the like serve up delicious drinks (mmm, Pumpkin Spice Latte!), but they don't come cheap. Consider the $5 you'd save each time you brewed your own cup of coffee. Richard Kelleher, a marketing sociologist, saves at least $20 a week by avoiding Starbucks, and making his espresso at home with a machine he bought on sale for just $25.
Cutting out a daily $5 latte, for example, could save you $90 or more. These saving habits can fatten your wallet, while actually slimming your waistline too, since cutting out calorie-rich drinks will make your daily routine healthier. Try buying this Starbucks Breakfast Blend Ground Coffee 12-oz. Bag ($8.88 with $1.97 s&h or free Site-to-Store, a low by $2) instead to get your daily Starbucks fix.
Don't Eat Out
Packing up a lunch from home can cost half as much as the cost of eating out. You can easily save $5 a day by bringing lunch with you to work. Saving at least $100 a month is pretty appealing, huh? You can save even more dough if you cut your restaurant expenses altogether, as Steve Sharp did. Sharp, an Internet consultant from San Antonio, Texas, saved more than $1,000 a month when he and his wife stopped dining out and started cooking at home.
The main road block for many people who aim to bring lunch to work is that usually the practice feels a tad boring and monotonous. You'll need to change your meals up to keep it exciting, and this Urara Blue Dragonfly 2-Tier Japanese Bento Box ($7.48 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $3) can help up the fun factor too — as well as keep foods separate.
No Vending Machines
Most things that come out of a vending machine are unhealthy and expensive. Like many small purchases, you're paying for the convenience of having a snack available at work and not needing to plan ahead by bringing a treat from home. Packing a snack can save you about $3 a day, which can amount to almost $50 in additional savings each month.
Get a Library Card
Not only does dining out become expensive, but entertainment can also be pricey as well. The latest best-seller costs about $20 at your local bookstore ... and even buying used books can add up. Instead of doling out for some fiction, head to the library for some quality reading material. While the newest books might not be available to check out as soon as you'd like, we're sure you'll find a title or two that'll interest you.
Already got a Kindle or other eBook reader on hand? We list a daily roundup of free eBooks for Kindle, as well as deals for other readers as well. It's as good as getting free books from the library, only now you won't have to worry about pesky late fees either.
A pack of cigarettes can cost up to $14, depending on where you live. Taking the hard step to quit smoking can save you at least $100 a month. If you're curious how much you can save by not smoking, crunch a few numbers with this handy cigarette savings calculator and make the decision to quit. Both your lungs and wallet will thank you later.
A helpful app to motivate you is the Smoke Out App for Apple iPhone / iPod touch (99 cents, $1 off), which not only calculates the money you've saved over the days that you've stopped smoking, but it also updates you on how your body is recovering from the damage you had inflicted upon it.
Yes, your mother was right — breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a bowl of cereal, or making eggs before work will keep you full until lunchtime, thereby avoiding the mid-morning Starbucks, and vending machine runs. And if you have your snack from home and pre-made lunch in hand, you'll be that much more ahead in savings for the upcoming Black Friday sales.
Oatmeal is an excellent breakfast option that keeps your hunger at bay for most of the morning. Walmart offers the Quaker Instant Oatmeal 6-Pack Box in several flavors ($2.88 with $1.97 s&h or free Site-to-Store, a low by $1) to keep things interesting.
If you start making these minor changes now to your spending habits, you'll have a fatter wallet come Black Friday. And then, you'll be able to make the most of the deep discounts we're sure to see.