Having trouble finding ways to cut back to save for retirement or even to fill the gas tank?
It's true that Florida ranks dead last among the 50 states for only 43.7 percent of workers' participating in employer retirement plans. Meanwhile, South Florida's cost of living is expected to keep rising with gas topping $4 a gallon this summer.
But there is good news: Families living in Miami-Dade and Broward are spending less about $3,000 less a year than their counterparts in the rest of the southern United States, according to the most recent data released last fall by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And you can save even more -- an extra $4,000 or so by year's end.
You just need to spend half of what the average family in Miami-Dade and Broward splurges for non-essentials in a year, according to the BLS:
Just limit yourself to about $895 or half of the $1,790 the average South Florida family splurges on food away from home, according to the BLS. You can save an extra $117 a year by cutting your alcohol expenses into half of what South Florida households spend.
Keep your clothes longer and shave off nearly $750 from your clothing budget, half of what the average family in Miami-Dade and Broward spends, the BLS found.
Hold off on buying some appliances and equipment -- spend only about $500 for 2012, not the $1,012 the average South Florida household will pay.
Watch more movies, listen to more music at home so you spend half of the $1,562 the average household spends for entertainment.
Save another $600 a year by getting less expensive haircuts, manicures and spending half of what the average South Florida spends on personal care products and other miscellaneous expenses.
Stash another $370 a year by limiting your charitable gifts to half of the $745 that the average South Florida family contributes.
You can promise yourself that this cost-cutting won't last.
Your reward will be having that extra money to save for a rainy day or your Golden Years.
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