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We Do the Math – How Much Could You Save?

It’s the fundamental backbone of many a personal finance blog: Spend less – Save more. For some it’s common practice. Maybe you switched to store brand cereal, or started brewing your coffee at home every day. For others, maybe you don’t see the value in such things. You might think, “It’s not really going to save me enough money for me to change my ways.”  But have you done the math? What if you changed several of your buying habits to save money? The savings could add up to be pretty significant – we did some math. It could be great for staying on budget.

If you're paying off debt, any ways to save money can help.

If you’re paying off debt, any ways to save money can help.

Here are just a few samples of changes you might be able to make. Any way to save money is good. If you add them all together, you could realize significant savings and extra money to apply toward debt management, savings, or other financial goals.


  • Avg. price of a medium regular takeout = $1.50
  • Home brewer & travel mug = $30.00
  • Avg. price for 1 lb. ground coffee = $12.00
  • 2 lbs. of sugar = $1.89
  • 1 pint of half & half = $1.39

*(1 lb. of ground coffee will yield anywhere from 20-32 cups depending on how strong you brew it, and how large of a serving you prefer.  Let’s say that 1 lb would last a person 1 month.  We’ll also factor in cream and sugar)

Takeout Coffee

$1.50 x 5 days a week = $7.50/week ($390.00/year)

Home Brewed Coffee

($30.00/3) + $120.00 (year’s supply of grounds) = $130.00/year*

…cream and sugar: $1.39/week ($72.28/year) + $1.89 = $74.17/year

*(consider that the coffee maker and mug will last for several years.  If we spread out the initial cost over three years, call it $10 per year)

If you brew your coffee at home…

****Savings of $186.00****


  • 14 oz. Name brand “honey nut o’s” cereal = $3.59
  • 14 oz. Store brand “honey nut o’s” cereal = $2.50

*(Say you go through a box a week)

Name Brand Cereal

$3.59 x 52 weeks = $186.68/year

Store Brand Cereal

$2.50 x 52 weeks =  $130.00/year

If you buy store brand cereal…

****Savings of $56.00****

Cable Television:

  • Avg. monthly cost of premium cable package = $50.00
  • Avg. monthly basic cable package = $20.00
  • Avg. monthly cost of DVD/online movie service = Starts at $7.99


$50.00/month = $600/year


$20.00/month = $240/year

DVD-by-mail or Online

$7.99/month = $95.88/year

If you opt for basic cable and a DVD/online service…

****Savings of $264.00****

With just those three changes to your spending, you could be saving $506.00 per year.

Is that significant for you?  Maybe you can take a look at other areas to cut back and watch that number grow even more. What about your cell phone plan? Transportation? Entertainment?  Groceries? Health/Beauty services?

So, when you’re walking through a store, or picking out a service plan, you may think to yourself, “The difference in price doesn’t add up to that much.” But remember that your combined efforts to save money can add up fast.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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