It hit me hard one evening driving home from work. I realized how much I had spent that day. I had purchased a large coffee and breakfast in the morning, filled my tank with gas, charged my parking fee, and then grabbed a pack of gum and water. Then I spent money on lunch with a coworker and an afternoon coffee.

I made a promise to myself that I would start planning better in the morning to prevent this unnecessary spending. Here are 13 things you can do every morning before you walk out the door to school or work to save you money all day:

Photo source: Kristen

How to Save Money in the Morning

  1. Eat breakfast at home. When you’re rushing to get dressed and go in the morning, sometimes making breakfast doesn’t make the cut, and you probably settle on grabbing something on the way to work. The price of your breakfast on the go can cost double or triple what you’d be spending if you made it yourself. For a hot breakfast, make it the night before. You can make eggs, bacon, sausage, or any other of your favorite breakfast foods, and simply warm them up the next morning. Whether it’s warm foods or something like cereal, yogurt, and fruit, if you don’t have time to eat, bring it with you.
  2. Brew your own coffee. Chances are you’ve heard the tip of making your own coffee a thousand times on lists to save money. But it’s true. Stopping for coffee every morning, and if you’re like me also every afternoon, it will quickly add up.
  3. Take a shorter, cooler shower. It may not be much, but lowering the temperature on your shower and keeping it shorter, can improve your gas bill by lessening the amount of hot water you’re using. Better yet, if you’re headed to the gym before work, shower there.
  4. Use less toiletries. I realized I had been wasting a lot when I heard that you only need a dime size amount of shampoo to properly wash your hair. Evaluate how much you’re using on all of your toiletries – shampoo, conditioner, hair products, make up, lotion, shaving cream, and even toothpaste (you only need the size of a pea). It may seem like a small thing, but it can add up.
  5. Make your own lunch. The same way that making your own breakfast and coffee will add up, the same is true with lunch. Eating lunch out of the office is a huge budget buster. If you spent an average of $7 per day on lunch, you could be spending $150 a month on eating lunch.
  6. Pack incidentals. When I started working at an office, I thought I was ahead of the game by packing my own lunch and coffee. But then there always seemed to be something else that I wanted or needed during the day. Sometimes you need an afternoon snack so pack fruit or nuts instead of heading to the vending machine. It’s also a good idea to carry Tylenol, Tums, and cough drops with you in case you start to not feel well at work.
  7. Lower the thermostat. During summer, I always have a bad habit of leaving my air conditioner running even when no one’s home. Before you walk out, turn off your heat or air conditioning or at least turn them to a more reasonable setting.
  8. Turn all the lights off. Turning off your lights, television, and other electronics will keep your electric bill low.
  9. Unplug electronics. Besides turning off the lights and electronics, take it one step further and unplug all of your electronics. Anything that is plugged in is still using electricity. Lamps, coffee pot, toaster, phone charger, radio, and everything else that is plugged in are included.
  10. Grab your train or bus pass. Opting for public transportation instead of driving is a huge savings. With the price of gas and parking, it’s often a better idea to take public transportation. Driving less will also be better for your car. Besides saving on gas, parking, and wear and tear on your car, you may also be able to lower your car insurance rate. If you’re driving under a certain amount of miles, you may be able to get a better rate.
  11. Check the traffic report. If you don’t have the option to take public transportation, walk, or bike to work, you should always check the traffic report before you leave. If there is an accident or road work and a huge traffic delay, you can find an alternative route. Sitting in traffic is a waste of gas. Flip on the news in the morning to hear the updates. Also, most news stations and newspapers will have a link on their website where you can see the traffic times from your home to your work. You can download the free Beat the Traffic App. Research different routes to find which one will save you the most on gas.
  12. Pack walking shoes. I had to take a train and then a bus while getting my journalism degree. Instead, I decided to just start walking after I got off the train. With the traffic, it actually took me about the same amount of time to walk. Skipping that bus to and from the train home saved me almost $100 every month. Also pack an umbrella and the proper coat so you’re able to walk. Plus, walking will give you more energy throughout the day and is great for your health.
  13. Have cash with you. A few months back, my coworker was collecting money for my boss to buy a birthday present. I didn’t have any cash so I had to go find an ATM and ended up also getting a charge on top of it. For one reason or another, you may need to use cash throughout your day. Avoid the ATM fee by having cash on hand.

What do you take with you everyday to help you save money? What do you pack for lunch to save money?

More on Saving Each Day






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Comments to 13 Ways to Save Money Before Walking Out the Door

  1. great tips. have you mentioned the rite aid wellness card? after a certain amount of spending, you get 20% off most purchases.

    randy

  2. Here are a few others. About the hot water, you can turn the temperature of the hot water heater down to a lower temperature so it is not as hot as well. You can also put a timer on it. I have a timer on mine which runs for 3 hours a day, and I never run out of hot water (7-8 am, 12-12:30pm, 5-5:30pm, and 8-8:30pm).

    The other thing you mentioned collecting money for a boss, office mate, etc. I don’t participate in those things and I intentionally tell the staff busybody not to celebrate my birthday. Saves a lot of money and if it is business function, the company should be picking up the tab.

    Just a note, lots of electronic that have vampire loads, do such for a reason (like being able to turn them on quicker). Unplugging them, while stopping power, saving 10 cents a year for a small vampire load does not justify the 365 times a year you have to plug it in and unplug it. You can use a power strip instead (which I use on my charging station, and other known vampire loads).

    Big-D

  3. With all due respect, I feel obligated to correct you on a couple of points that you made in this article:

    First, please do not advise people to turn off their heat pumps while they are away from home! My husband is an HVAC specialist and I work for an electric cooperative (not-for-profit, so this isn’t about “selling” people more electricity). It is a GREAT idea to get a programmable thermostat for your heat pump, but turning it completely off or adjusting it more than 2-3 degrees in either direction not only will cost you more $ in the long run, but it will also cause more wear and tear on your HVAC system, thereby shortening its lifespan. For example, you might leave for work at 7 a.m. and not return until 5 p.m., leaving your house empty for 10 hours. During the winter time, when you get home, your house will be cool/cold, and you’re going to turn your heat on. Depending on the temp differential (outside vs inside), your heat strips (auxillary/”emergency” electric heat) will probably kick in. That’s the equivalent of turning on your electric oven and opening the door. This uses a tremendous amount of electricity! Similarly in the summer months, while electric heat strips don’t factor in, your HVAC unit will sometimes run for hours before it can cool your house down to the desired temperature. (We live in South Georgia, so our unit runs a LOT, especially when it’s very humid…which is all of the time.) Remember this: it is easier for your unit to maintain a set temperature than to adjust to a drastically different temperature.

    It’s also a good idea to have a service contract with an HVAC contractor. They’ll service your unit, usually in the spring and in the fall BEFORE you face very hot/very cold temps. That’s when you want to find problems – NOT after you’ve received a tremndous electric bill and realize that something’s wrong…AFTER you’ve used all of that electricity.

    Yes, turn lights off in your house when you’re not in the room. Turning lights off when you’re not there is a great practice to get into, but don’t expect it to save you a lot of money. If you have a 100-watt bulb, it has to burn for 10 hours to use one killowat hour. Energy costs do vary throughout the US, but to put it in a nutshell, during that time, that one bulb will cost about 10 cents. I’m not discouraging people from turning lights off and, yes, those pennies do add up, but setting unrealistic expectations of savings only creates distrust among the public and nightmares for customer service reps who try their hardest to educate consumers. That can be challenging when people say, “Well, I don’t believe you because I read this on the internet…”

    Same goes for the “unplug everything” idea. You’re saving very, very few nickles and dimes that are more easily saved by skipping a candy bar from the snack machine.

    About 80% of your electric bill comes from “silent” users – those appliances that are there, but you don’t really think about them. Electromechanical (motor-driven) devices are the big users – HVAC systems, freezers, refrigerators. You don’t think about them, but they’re there. Electric water heaters are also big users, because all they do is use coils to heat up the water in the tank. Whether you’re home or not, washing clothes, taking a shower…24/7, that water heater is doing its job: keeping the water in the tank hot. It’s a 50/50 split on whether or not turning your water heater off during the day and only turning it on about an hour prior to use really saves you any money or not. Studies have supported both sides of the argument. What does help is using an insulated wrap. Hopefully, your water heater is in a conditioned environment, too, not up in a cold attic or out in your cold garage. If it is, you’re better off during the summer months!

    Finally, check out your power company’s website. Most have a page full of tips about energy efficient living.

    Ce

  4. Wow I never believed of a lot of these and I’ve been to Disney plenty of periods. I’ve always done the water factor but the dual hamburger and not getting the snacks which I Never eat anyway is Great guidance.

    Bookkeeping Arlington


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