5 Budgeting Tips to Better Your Finances

Revamp the way you spend your pennies with these easy ways to save money.

conceptual depiction of a watering can using coins to grow a paper money plant. Various stages of the plants growth are shown.

Although there’s no magic wand that can whip your budget into shape, making some seemingly small tweaks can have a big impact over time. Here are five changes you can make that could save you hundreds—even thousands—of dollars every year.

1. B.Y.O.L. (Bring Your Own Lunch)

In the hurry of an average workday, what you eat for lunch can seem like an insignificant decision. However, the humble midday meal can add up to a serious expense. If dining out for lunch costs you $11 each time, that means that eating out three days a week can cost you more than $1,700 a year. By preparing lunch at home, you can save nearly $1,000 every year.

2. Tweak your thermostat

Thermostat preferences are a common point of contention for many families, but putting it in terms of dollars and cents might bring about an agreement. Setting the thermostat a few degrees higher in summer and lower in winter can cut your energy bills. You could save up to 1 percent on your yearly heating bill for every degree change you make, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

3. Don’t miss discounts

You don’t have to resort to extreme couponing to take advantage of discounts. Stores offer easy ways to save money with coupons and discount apps in addition to regular specials, with many occasionally offering additional promotions like double-coupon days. And with digital discounts through AAA at your fingertips in the AAA Mobile app, you can save every day—AAA offers discounts at nearly 120,000 locations around the world.

4. Bundle insurance for big savings

When shopping for the best prices on home and auto insurance, you may have missed a simple way to save on those necessities. Most insurance companies give discounts if you have both home and auto coverage with them—on average more than 15 percent. So simplify your life and save money.

5. Caffeinate on the cheap

For a majority of us, it’s hard to imagine a day without a cup of coffee. But don’t let the jolt from a cup of joe keep you from meeting your budget goals. Buying a $4 latte five days a week adds up to more than $1,000 a year. Instead, you could make coffee at home for less than a dollar a day.

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