Do you have some debts to pay off or maybe just want to save more toward your retirement in 2016? 

These 5 little luxuries can add up over time -- and cutting them out entirely or reducing them won’t hurt one bit! (Okay it might hurt a little, but you won’t miss them as long as you have alternatives in place!) 

5 ways you can save over $5,000 (and 5 great alternatives that won't cost as much)

Read more: How to invest your first $1,000 to $5,000 wisely

1. Wireless service: $840 a year

The average cell phone bill is around $70 these days -- and with some providers the average bill is over $100! 

Switch from a $70 a month provider to a $15 a month provider, and you can save over $680 per year. Compare providers here to see how much you can save.

2. Cable: $1,200 a year 

Cut that cord! Cable monsters are eating up your monthly budget - but you don't have to let them! 

The average cable bill is $99.10, according to Liechtman Research Group. But, instead of having cable, why not cut the cord and opt for cheaper alternatives, or do something else other than watch TV, such as develop a hobby or skill? 

3. Dinner out every week: $2,668 a year

In April, Bloomberg discovered that Americans' spending on dining out overtook grocery purchases for the first time ever. On average, Americans spend 2,668 per year on eating out. 

But let's face it -- we don't have to eat out every single week - cutting down in this area can save you a ton! 

4. Twice a week coffee trips: $520 a year

America loves her coffee. ABC News reported that Americans workers spend around $1,100 annually on coffee, and according to the US Small Business Development Center, 66% of Americans go out for coffee. But, if you go out for coffee instead of drinking it at home, this can cost you a lot more. 

Say someone goes out for coffee twice a week, and spends $5 on their favorite latte. This extra jolt of java can add up to about $520 a year! 

5. Movies out twice a month: $480 a year

There is no doubt movie ticket prices have increased over time. At an average of $8.61 per ticket in the second half of 2015, it's certainly a jump from the $.34 it used to cost in 1948.  Add in popcorn and snacks, and you might just be spending $40 for two! But to keep it simple, we made it $20 per night out at the movies, twice a month. This is equal to about $480 per year.

Grand total = $5,708

All of the above add up to a grand total of $5,708. But, the good news is, if you can change your spending habits by making different choices, you can still save $5,000 or more a year! 

 

Alternative options 

With so many alternatives to mobile providers, cable providers, and simple choices we can make on our own, there are many ways to spend less. 

1. Choose a different wireless service provider.

If you chose Republic Wireless, for example, instead of one of the big 4 carriers, you’ll save $674, and spend just $165.84. 

Read more: Best cell phone plans & deals for 2016

2. Pick a cable alternative.

Netflix costs just $95.88/year instead of having cable. Hulu, Sling, and Amazon Prime are other great options. 

Read more: 10 ways to watch awesome TV without a cable bill

3. Eat out less.

Let’s say you opt to eat dinner out once a month instead of once a week, and spend $30 instead of $50 by sharing an entree or choosing a less expensive restaurant. You could also go out for lunch instead of dinner to save money, or splurge a little on something at the grocery store instead of a full meal out. Whatever you choose, making changes to food spending makes a big difference! Spending $30 on food out once a month is $360 per year. 

Read more: 8 ways to save while dining out 

4. Drink coffee at home.

Coffee at home costs about $.28 a cup. If you have opt to drink those two cups a week at home that you would have gotten out, you'd spend $29.12 instead of $520 for the same amount of Joe.

Read more: How much is your coffee habit costing you?

5. Opt for movies at Redbox.

Instead of going to the movies, try to wait until the films come out on DVD. I know, I know -- Star Wars looks better on the big screen. But choosing Redbox twice a month over a movie out costs just $24 a year! 

The net savings

These 5 alternatives all together cost about $675 for the year, which means you’d still save $5,033 a year by making some simple adjustments to your routine.

Just because you want to save money doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying life -- it just means you may want to make a few adjustments to help you reach your financial goals. Making small changes can save you big over time! 

Read more: 16 ways to save more money in 2016

 

About the author: Charis Rebecca Brown

Charis Brown is the Deals Editor for ClarkHoward.com. She enjoys saving money wherever possible and never pays full price for anything. Her favorite discount store is Nordstrom Rack, where she once bought something for $.01! Charis is also the author of TGIF Next Gen daily devotional and lives with her husband and cat near Atlanta, GA. View More Articles

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