The little things add up, and I want to know just how much those little things are saving us. Sometimes, it’s difficult to quantify savings.
With this post, I will attempt to show quantifiable ways we are not spending money in certain areas.
Realistically, we will avoid spending about $620 this year, but if I wanted to be extreme, I could say that we’re choosing not to spend a few thousand this year by making a few simple lifestyle decisions.
The short list:
Air-drying laundry: $2.50 per week, or $130 per year
Cutting husband’s hair at home: $15 per month, or $180 per year
Using a medical flexible spending account: $152 per year
Using an employer-sponsored pre-tax commuter benefit to buy a monthly bus pass instead of paying per ride: $13.24 saved each month or $158.88 per year
These four things will save us $620.88 this year.
– I air-dry about two loads each week. When I can’t air-dry a load (jeans, towels) I use a coin-operated dryer in our apartment building, which costs $1.25 per load. Hanging clothes on my drying racks or on hangers isn’t difficult and doesn’t take much time. When I see how much I’m saving over the course of the year, not to mention adding moisture to the air and saving energy, it’s more than worthwhile.
I haven’t always air-dried laundry, so this is actual money we’re saving by not spending it.
– I cut my husband’s hair last night (post and pictures to come!). It went better than I expected, and we’re sure to save quite a bit of money over the years if I continue to cut it for him.
– The medical FSA and the commuter plans are the most painless things on this list. We just set up the accounts, and that’s it. The savings and benefits are automatic.
We use a medical flexible spending account to pay for our medical copays, vision and dental things, and prescriptions. We’re not fully funding the account (Max is $5,000, I think) but we’re still saving a lot of money with it.
I love the concept of the FSA–it’s a compulsory savings plan, if you will (the money is taken straight from your paycheck and deposited here–it can’t be spent for other needs), plus, the tax benefits are pretty cool.
– One way, a single bus fare would cost $2, or $4 per day. If he deposited quarters each day, that would cost $80 per month, roughly. Instead, he buys a monthly bus pass for $75.
He’s saving $5 per month, right? NO.
Thanks to an employer benefit, that is not equal to $75 after taxes are deducted. The $75 is spent pre-tax. He’d have to earn $88.23 before taxes to have that $75 out of pocket. So, $88.23 – $75 is $13.23 saved each month.
For even more that we’re not spending, consider this:
We’re not paying for cable TV: Saving $50 per month (cheapest published plan in our area; I will investigate cheaper options), or $600 per year.
We don’t have a landline. That saves us $20 per month, roughly, or $240 annually (let me know if my landline estimate is off, please).
My husband takes the bus to work each day, as I mentioned above. If he drove downtown and parked, it could cost $10 or more each day. That would be $200 per month if he drove daily, or $2,400 per year. Plus, we’d be spending extra on gas and upkeep for his car.
Granted, if he drove and parked, he wouldn’t have to buy a bus pass. But still! The bus is a way better option.
These last three things mark $3,240 we could have spent this year, if we wanted to.