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Start Small to Save Big — Easy Savings Solutions

When looking for ways to save money, we often focus on the big things and completely overlook the small expenses that add up over time to eat away at potential savings. For example, paying a dollar and change for a bottle of water might seem insignificant. But doing it every day for a year can really make a dent in your savings plan. The key is to start thinking of the long-term impact of your choices rather than short-term gratification of buying something you want in the moment.

Here’s a breakdown of some everyday purchases and the long-term impact they can have on your financial health, along with alternative savings solutions . Calculations are based on U.S. national average prices and a five-day work week.

Bottle of Water Savings-Solution

Average Price: $1.45

Per week: $7.25

Per month: $36.25

Per year: $435

Savings Solution: Buy a case of bottled water from the warehouse club, which works out to a much cheaper per unit price. Better yet, get a refillable water bottle and fill it with filtered water as many times a day as you want. Many bottled waters are simply filtered municipal water anyway, so there’s really no reason to pay extra for it. It’s better for your wallet (and the environment, too).

Coffeehouse Coffee

Average Price: $3

Per week: $15

Per month: $60

Per year: $720

Savings Solution: Make your coffee at home and take it with you in an insulated travel mug. Even if you splurge on exotic beans  you’ll save a bundle over buying it from the coffeehouse. Better yet, embrace the free coffee offered at your office (if it’s available) and bring in your own flavored creamer.

Buying Lunch (Eat-in or Take-out)

Average Price: $10

Per Week: $50

Per Month: $200

Per Year: $2,600

Savings Solution: Yikes! Do you really want to spend more than $2 thousand dollars a year eating forgettable meals? Making your own lunch is not only cheaper, it’s likely healthier, too. Beat boredom by trying new and interesting recipes, or cooking dinners with the intent of taking the leftovers for lunch. Use the money you save on lunches to take a vacation instead.

Happy Hour

Average Price $20

Per Week: $20

Per Month: $80

Per Year: $960

Savings Solution: It’s always fun to let loose with coworkers after a hard week, but you don’t have to hit the bar to do it. Invite people over for a BYOB happy hour and ask everyone bring a snack or appetizer. Rotate houses to share the hosting duties.

Of course, there will be days you don’t feel like making lunch, or you leave your freshly made coffee sitting on the counter as you leave the house in a mad rush. Life happens. It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll never need or want to spend money on these purchases. The goal is to think before you spend, rather than getting to the end of the week and wondering why your wallet is empty and you have nothing tangible to show for it.