As Americans we like to work hard and play hard, and play time is always best enjoyed by taking an exciting or relaxing vacation. Sometimes finding the money for a trip to Hawaii or Bermuda can be challenging, especially if we have kids or we are still paying off those student loans. But did you know that by making three simple adjustments to your lifestyle you can save approximately $5000 a year?
Before we delve right into the topic, you need to know how much money you are saving, and you need to put those funds to one side. This article is going to focus on saving money in these three areas: ink cartridge expenses, food waste, and your coffee budget. In order to determine exactly how much cash you should put to one side, you will need to go through last year’s bank statement and highlight all charges made on ink cartridges, groceries, and trips to Starbucks or your local spot. Then record the monthly expense for each category, and do a calculated yearly average. Then divide the sum by 12 (for each month) for each category. These are your magic numbers. Your next step is to follow these tips, and then compare your new expenses to the average from last year, and withdraw the difference into your vacation fund.
Save Money with Discount Printer Ink
Almost everyone in America owns a printer and therefore has a yearly printing expense. Whether you run your own business from home, engage in general use like printing your kid’s homework or letters to your aunt, or you print lots of photos, the cost of ink cartridges adds up.
Here is something the manufacturers don’t want you to know: the majority of the printers they made are designed to generate repeat buyers for their ink cartridges—the real bread and butter of their business. Have you ever strolled down the aisle at your local large office supply store to notice that some inkjet printers cost about the same as the ink cartridges themselves? This should be your first clue that you are spending too much money on ink. Should a full tank of gasoline cost as much as the car it goes into?
When you buy remanufactured ink cartridges from a reputable company you can save a significant amount of money every year. In fact, the average family of four with children in school can save $400 a year while the average medium-sized business saves $1600.
Where can I Get the Best Prices on Ink Cartridges?
First, you need to make sure the cartridges are high quality. Companies like 1ink.com not only remanufactures ink cartridges for all printers through a rigorous eight-step process monitored by a quality control team, they offer a 100 percent money-back guarantee if the customer isn’t satisfied with the cartridge’s quality or performance. Second, you need to make sure the price is an absolute bargain. 1ink.com has great deals on printer ink every day. They offer replacements the HP 934XL ink cartridges at 60 percent off the big brand price. They even offer free shipping on orders over $60. When you make the switch to remanufactured ink cartridges not only are you preventing landfill waste, you are also saving money without sacrificing on print quality.
Saving Money on Your Grocery Bill
According to a 2015 report by CNBC, the average American throws away $2000 worth of food every year, and doesn’t even know it. The Environmental Protection Agency calculates that 35 million tons of food is wasted in America every year—a figure that has doubled since 1990. If you want to save money so you can take a vacation every year, learning to save money on your grocery bill should pay for half the expense or more! The key is to only buy what you will eat, prepare your meals ahead of time, and shop smart.
Save Money with Portion Control
Have you ever bought the ingredients to make a delicious beef stew, but you wind up throwing part of it out? Instead of storing the entire thing in a large refrigerator dish, separate the stew into individually sized portions and freeze them for future meals. This way no food will go to waste, and you can stretch you will be making less trips to the grocery store.
Learn to Shop Smart
In addition to portion control, learning to shop smart can save you hundreds more a year. Here are some extra steps you can take to save money when grocery shopping:
- Plan your meals according to the weekly specials
- Shop once a week
- Download coupons (you can print them with your discount ink)
- Use a smaller shopping cart
- Shop for groceries alone
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach
- Grow your own herbs and vegetables
- Buy your milk from the drug store
- Buy in-season produce
- Make your own cleaning products
When you buy the ingredients for your meals according to what the specials are, you can save an average of $400 a year, and by shopping once a week you will cut down on additional expenses. You can save an additional $400 on average each year by printing grocery coupons from a number of free coupon sites that are out there, as well as coupon pages on Pinterest. According to studies shoppers buy 14 percent less food when using a smaller cart, and avoid shopping with your partner and kids, otherwise you will have to deal with additional items being thrown into the cart. Also, don’t shop for your weekly groceries when hungry, as you will be inclined to over-spend. You can also save $200 a year by growing your own herbs and vegetables, and when you do buy from the store make sure the produce is in season. Finally, get your milk at the drug store. Moo juice from drug stores generally costs about 50 cents less per gallon at drug stores than at grocery stores. If you go through 2 gallons a month. Finally, make your own cleaning products. You can save approximately $300 a year by mixing baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice to clean your kitchen and bathroom. All of these money-saving tips add up, and before you know it you will have enough money to vacation in Spain at the end of the year!
Drink Affordable High-Quality Coffee
According to Yahoo Business, the average Starbucks customer spends about $120 each month on coffee, if they buy a $4 latte every morning on their way to work—a yearly expense of $1460. Did you know you can still enjoy high-end coffee (in fact coffee that tastes significantly better than Starbucks) every day for a fraction of the cost?
High Quality Coffee that won’t Rip You Off
Nespresso is a luxury coffee company from Switzerland that makes espresso and coffee pods that offer premium barista-made quality coffee. It has destroyed Starbucks in taste tests, and as a stuck-up coffee snob who lived in Europe for 12 years, it is the only coffee I will drink in America on a regular basis. Nespresso pods cost an average of 80 cents each. They also take less than a minute to make, and the Nespresso machines come with an automatic milk frother that takes less than a minute to offer foamy goodness. If you make a latte with a Nespresso pod (I recommend the Arpegio or Ristretto) every morning on your way out the door to work, you spend $16 a month versus $120.
Are you ready for this? You can save even more money on coffee using your Nespresso machine with high-quality compatible pods made by other roasters (just make sure their coffee is high quality). Based in New York, HiLine coffee is roasted fresh to order and offers a number of flavors that are robust and complex. A bag of 20 pods costs about $12.00 meaning you pay 60 cents per latte—a monthly java expense of $12.00 which is the cost of 3 lattes at Starbucks!
Nespresso machines cost around $200, and are definitely a smart investment. However, you can get people at work to pitch in for a machine at the office, and then your investment will be slim! Spending $144 per year on daily high-end lattes is sure better than flushing away $1460, and the savings will get you that much closer to Tahiti!
Paying for Your Vacation
Just because you have saved enough money to take your vacation at the end of the year doesn’t mean you have to take it right then and there. To really get the most out of your holiday plan your trip after the tourist season has ended. February is always a great time to travel to get the best deals. You can also go to a local travel agent who knows how to get all the best fares and package deals, and have him hook you up. Once I went to Greece for 2 weeks and only spent $1800, and that price included hotel, flight, car, food, and drinks! I was even able to traipse about the Parthenon amidst the Doric columns and study the ancient vases in the National Archaeological Museum all because I buy remanufactured ink cartridges, shop smart, and drink affordable delicious coffee!