Everyday Swaps to Save You Money Over Time

Tech guru Carley Knobloch shares everyday changes you can make at home to save money, without compromising comfort

Written by Carley Knobloch

For anyone examining their bank statement right now and trying to pinpoint ways to cut back, consider this reality: it’s not always the big purchases that break your budget, it’s the little ones that have the most impact over time. And while no one is advocating that you completely cut the areas of your life that bring you joy (hello, morning latte), there are ways to improve upon them — and that’s where these swaps come in. The changes to your bottom line may feel minor at first, but run the numbers at the end of each month and you’ll see a big difference.  

Carly Knobloch

Coffee Machines vs. Lattes on the Go

Your morning joe to-go runs you about $4 a day. So, what if instead of making a daily stop to get one, you upgraded your coffee routine at home? At-home coffee machines deliver a café-quality cup at home, whether you want a latte, macchiato, cappuccino, or a regular brew. Add an insulated travel mug that fits in your cup holder and keeps your beverage warm longer than a paper cup can, and you’ll be improving on your morning ritual and saving cash. A small investment up front will amount to hundreds of dollars saved per year — now all that’s left to do is tell your barista you’re breaking up. 

At-Home Workouts vs. Gym Membership

Accomplishing a daily workout is important for your health, and most of us think we can’t work out if we don’t have all the equipment a gym provides. That membership doesn’t come cheap — depending on where you live, you could be shelling out $150 per month for treadmill access. To prevent the dent to your bank account, it’s worth revisiting the vast range of workout classes available to stream from the comfort of your own home. The options are endless, whether you’re looking for a subscription setup (similar to your gym, but much more economical) or want to choose à la carte classes available on YouTube (you’ll just have to endure an ad or two while you work up a sweat). Most apps offer a free trial, so you can try before you buy — a yoga series one month, and a HIIT circuit the next. Bottom line: Your abs and your bank account will benefit.

Subscribe and Save vs. One-Time Purchases

Many major retailers offer this option at checkout: if you’re buying an item that’s routinely used in your household, should you buy it once or subscribe and save? Subscribe-and-save can shave several dollars off your monthly spend per item, so if it’s something you buy a number of times per year (think paper towels, dog food or shampoo), that adds up. Most retailers also give you the option to adjust the cadence of shipments so you can pause or skip a month as needed while still locking in a much better rate. Setting a calendar reminder helps to stay on top of it in the beginning, and once you adjust things to your schedule, products land on your doorstep right when you need them. Eno, Capital One’s intelligent assistant, can even provide proactive free trial reminders to alert you before your free trial ends and the paid subscription begins to help you avoid any unwanted charges.  

Movie Rentals vs. Movies in the Theater

There’s nothing like watching a movie on the silver screen, popcorn in your lap. But if you’re willing to wait a week or two, viewing new releases at home can offer major savings. As a result of the pandemic and steep competition among streaming services, many blockbusters are released on streaming platforms at the same time as their cinematic premieres, or shortly thereafter, and are included in the cost of your monthly subscription. The end cost pales in comparison to the cost of buying tickets and popcorn for the whole family. Yes, you’ll be watching on a smaller screen, but your wallet will feel a bit larger. 

Buying Books or Magazines vs. Using the Library 

If you think of your library as old, antiquated and full of dusty books, think again. You could save hundreds of dollars per year and get new-release books, as well as  download ebooks, magazines and audiobooks. Your library card will give you access to all of it, and it’s all free. If you’re a voracious reader, you’ll have a huge expense off your plate, not to mention more space in your home (those books pile up!) and less paper waste.

Keeping to a budget can feel tough sometimes, but it’s the little things that add up to big savings if you know where to look. A swap here or there each month can mean a big difference on your bank statement without impacting your quality of life. And once you see the savings, I bet you’ll be inspired to keep going!