Small expenses add up when saving for retirement

Woman shopping in grocery store

The best retirement plan can be restraint, according to Joan Fradella, a former purchasing agent for a consumer electronics company.

"There are reasons we don't give credit cards to toddlers," Fradella told Daily Finance [1]. "We shouldn't treat our hard-earned money as if it is Monopoly money."

Many Americans make frivolous purchases way too often and don't expect any ramifications when it comes to their financial standing. This is a problem that can be avoided. Purchases should be pondered before people dish out for another item that they aren't going to use.

Here are a few tips to cut down on regular expenses in order to pad your retirement funds:

Plan your meals
Eating out might not seem like a big-ticket item, but a few dinners here and a few brunches there and you might be spending several hundred dollars a week at your favorite restaurants.

CNBC recommended planning your meals a week in advance by taking a few hours every weekend to shop for groceries [2]. Dining out is the top expense for most households, so eating more meals at home can be a great way to allow a savings account to grow.

Not only is eating at home cost efficient, but most people agree that when they prepare their own meal, they tend to be healthier. Healthy bodies mean less trips to the doctor's office later in life, which can also save people plenty of money.

Save money on the car
With a high level of impending depreciation, buying a brand new car typically doesn't make much sense for those making middling wages.

Dak Hartsock, an investment officer with a financial advisory firm, told Daily Finance buying a used or certified-used automobile tends to be a better bet for those looking to save some extra money. Hartsock recommended looking at cars with fewer than 100,000 miles on them because you avoid "the huge depreciation that occurs as soon as you buy it off the lot."

Slash the cable TV
Steve Belk, an entrepreneur based in Houston, told Daily Finance there's one big monthly bill millions of Americans continue to waste money on: cable television packages.

"People spend well over $1,000 a year just so they can watch five to 10 of the 200-plus channels they're paying for, and the cable companies keep luring them back into long-term contracts with promo deals that expire after a few months, then the rates go through the roof again," Belk said.

People who are sick and tired of paying exorbitantly high cable bills might want to consider cutting their television package altogether. With streaming services offering much lower monthly fees, a consumer could save a large portion of money by canceling his or her cable subscription and going the streaming route.

But what about sports fans? While most streaming services aren't offering live game feeds, Americans with an Internet connection can often stream live sporting events over the Web.

CNN reported more than 1.3 million people streamed the Super Bowl in 2015, which topped the previous mark of 1.1 million set the year prior [3]. And the NFL isn't alone in garnering some serious Web hits for its sporting content.

The NCAA basketball tournament has turned into a streaming mainstay, as have other sporting events that take place during the work week. The 2014 World Cup match between the U.S. and Germany garnered 1.7 million streaming viewers.

Instead, consumers should consider more affordable TV options, such as streaming services. For instance, the cost of Netflix is currently $7.99 per month. Hartsock added he's never met a person paying less than $80 per month or $960 per year for cable services.

[1]. 5 Ways You're Wasting Money

[2]. Here are 20 easy ways to save some money every day

[3]. Another new record for Super Bowl streaming

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