If you’d like to increase the amount you save each month, you’d either increase your income or reduce your expenses.
If there’s not an obvious way to increase your income, reducing your expenses typically isn’t hard.
Switching to LED bulbs can reduce your electricity expenses.
Soon, solar rooftop systems will be less expensive than grid power and there are companies like Sunpower and Solar City that will help finance zero down systems.
Grow your own food.
I didn’t realize, but a typical family can easily eat $200 of tomatoes per year.
Get some decent heirloom seeds, some decent soil, and maybe build a sub-irrigation container (like the earthtainer) – you’ll use less water and fertilizer.
For fertilizers, it may be best to go organic, but I’m a fan of simple and the slow-release fertilizers (like osmocote plus) would likely only need to be used once in a year.
As an alternative, Jack’s Classic has a good water soluble fertilizer and their own slow-release.
Or get some apple trees, which should provide fruit for years. My family has apples, oranges, lemons and more than typically don’t even get fertilized after established.
Typically I like food that other people have prepared.
But I do like food that I’ve grown, even if its typically a food I don’t care for (spinach).
Anything you can shave off your expenses helps, and growing your own food assures you’ll only be poisoned by the insecticides you use.
In the realm of safe investments, check out solar mosaic.
The yield isn’t much at 4.5%, but that’s a lot better than what you’d get having your money sit in a bank.
I think the yield ends up being closer to 3.5%, actually, after the site’s fee.
Plus, your money would help fight pollution.