Skip these pricey items and services and watch your savings grow
8) Oil changes - Save up to $132 a year
You save money in the long run by keeping your car running efficiently, but don’t overspend to do it. Oil changes cost $35 on average.
INSTEAD: Change the car’s oil yourself at home (you can watch a how-to video on ehow.com). Also, try switching to synthetic oil, which can last up to 10,000 miles and cost about half as much as regular oil per year. Your vehicle’s manual lists the suggested oil and time span between changes.
9) Dry cleaning - Save up to $3,100 a year
If you or your spouse work outside the home, you probably make frequent trips to the cleaners. Those trips can wreak havoc on your budget, costing anywhere from $3 to $15 for each item of clothing.
INSTEAD: Dryel, an at-home dry-cleaning kit that gives you the same fresh results, costs about $10 and cleans approximately 24 items. Bonus: You save gas by running one fewer errand.
10) Treats at frozen-yogurt shops - Save $240 a year
Frozen-yogurt shops are on lots of street corners these days. Although they might be a treat for your taste buds, they’re not wallet-friendly—some charge as much as 49 cents an ounce.
INSTEAD: Enjoy the same treat for less by purchasing a carton at your local grocery or investing in a Yonanas machine ($50; yonanas.com), which makes healthful cold treats from frozen fruit.
11) Vending machine snacks and beverages- Save $197 a year
You fight the urge, but vending machines often prevail when you need a quick snack.
INSTEAD: Save the money you spend on pretzels or soft drinks by buying in bulk and keeping a stash at your desk.
12) Prepackaged lunches - Save $560 a year
Prepackaged lunches might contain sandwiches and snacks all in one place, but there is a high cost for convenience.
INSTEAD: Make your own snacks and lunches for a fraction of the cost by purchasing items like cheese, cold cuts and crackers in bulk.
13) Drive-through coffee drinks - Save $450 a year
If you make frequent visits to the coffee shop in the mornings, you could be spending as much as $750 a year.
INSTEAD: Brew it at home and pour it in a thermos to keep drinks from swallowing your budget.
14) Sliced or chopped veggies - Save $130 a year
It can be tempting to buy prechopped ingredients to throw into a quick meal, but what you save in time you lose in money.
INSTEAD: Slice your own vegetabes; if you spend just 10 minutes wielding a knife, you can save enough to enjoy a night out.
BONUS: More money-saving suggestions
- Commute for less: Cutting out two paid parking spots per week ($3 each) saves more than $300 per year. Better yet, try starting a car pool. If you now spend $5 daily on gas, you could save $250 a year by catching a ride once per week.
- Throw a Girls' Night In: Invite friends over for a spa party. Set up stations to take turns giving manicures, pedicures, even mini neck massages. The best part? You can spend a no-cost evening catching up with your pals.