How to cut your expenses by $550 a month

TAMPA, Fla.  (WFLA) – When it comes to saving money, most of us want to do it, but the trouble is many of us simply can’t.

Some feel they’d have to make drastic changes in their lives, like downsize to a smaller house or buy a cheaper car.

But that’s not necessarily so.  You can actually save hundreds of dollars a month without making a huge sacrifice. Here’s how you can do it.

First, we stop at your local coffee shop.

At Buddy Brew in Tampa, a cup of joe can really set you back.

Anna Maddamma comes here four times a week.

“Coffee I need. so I just buy it,” Maddamma said.  When asked if she kept track of her spending when it comes to coffee, her answer was, “No.”

That means passing on the coffee could save Maddamma about $100 a month.

How about eating out?  Those lunches and dinners sure can add up, too.

“I just can’t believe what things cost sometimes,” said Janet Ricket, as she sat outside a restaurant on Davis Islands.

She eats lunch out once a week and dinner twice a month.

That might not sound like a lot to you, but with two kids, ages 10 and 11, she has more mouths to take into consideration.

“It’s just family expense, I suppose,” Ricket said.

By staying home, Ricket could say about $200.

As far as staying in shape, that, too, comes with a price.  How about running for free on the Riverwalk in Tampa instead of paying a monthly gym membership?

Laurie Mintzer doesn’t need to shell out a penny.  She runs on the Riverwalk and has a free membership to her gym at work.

Possible savings here?  About $50.

We asked Mintzer if she thought she could be saving money.  “No, I don’t,” she said.  “I probably could but not interested.”

One option that’s harder to do but not impossible, is leaving the car at home and renting bikes.

When we reminded Michael Abjner and Mark Micklow of Tampa that that’s not the norm, Micklow told us, “Oh well!”

They bike to work and save on gas, maintenance, and every day wear and tear on their car.

Possible savings here?  About $200.

But for some people, this has nothing at all to do with money.  So we wanted to know, why some people are living beyond their means?

Doctor Scott Anderson, clinical director of Addiction Recovery in Tampa, says it’s all about peoples’ judgments about others, especially when it comes to material things.

“A lot of people, they’re judge is based upon what they have and how they look and what they have, Dr. Anderson said.  “You know, everybody’s’ keeping up with the Joneses.”

Financial planners will tell you to make a budget and stick to it.

“If they’re not tracking exactly where they’re spending their money, they really don’t know where it’s going,” said Kevin Arquette, a chief financial planner at Harwood Financial Group in Tampa.

That means all those little things could turn into one big chunk of change.

“They’re out-spending their income and they’ll end up in debt ultimately,” Arquette told News Channel 8.

So let’s add it all up-

  • Coffee: $100
  • Eating out: $200
  • Gym membership: $50
  • Transportation: $200

All of these simple changes add up to about $550 every month that you can save.

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