Image from A Moment Please
Last year, Jake gave me a 1 month Netflix free trial, and it was all downhill from there. I love Netflix so much. (We're currently marathoning Lost and Parks & Rec.) After my free trial ended, I signed up for the 1 DVD out at a time program, which costs around $10.69 a month. The problem was, I would get a DVD and then hold onto it for like 5 months. (Literally. I have only ever gotten about 3 DVDs from Netflix and I had two of them for around 4-5 months each.) So recently I decided to downgrade my Netflix account from the $10.69 1 DVD at a time membership to the $7.99 Instant Only membership, which works just fine for me. Moral of this example: tailor your budget to fit your needs and what you're actually doing. There's no need to pay $3 extra for a service you aren't using, so cut it out.
My other example is something I haven't actually done yet but will do next month. I currently get a $9/month generic prescription from Kroger, but they have a 3 month version of this prescription for $24, which means my per-month cost would be $8/month. That would save me $1/month or $12/year. Doesn't sound like much, but combine it with my Netflix savings of $32.40/year and I will be saving $44.40/year just from making these two simple switches. Combine this with other savings, like eating out one fewer meal per week or walking instead of driving, and you can see your savings start to grow. Moral of the second story: buy "in bulk" when you (and your wallet) can, since many businesses offer discounts like this one.
Lastly, how do I turn this into actual savings? It's so easy to say "I'm now saving $5 a month!" and then turn around and spend that $5 at Subway. Luckily, it's even easier to actually put that $5 a month away. All you have to do is set up a transfer of funds at your bank; you can easily set up a transfer of $5 (or however much) per month from checking to savings to reflect the saving you are actually doing. And once it's in savings, don't touch it!