Living paycheck to paycheck is not an exciting feeling. There are so many challenges and day-to-day expenses that quickly add up over the course of each week and month, making it difficult to save, invest, or plan anything for the financial long-term. It doesn’t take an insanely high IQ or a master in financial economics degree to understand how this can impact your life in big ways.

We all are guilty of some splurging, or at the very least, unnecessary spending. There is always room for improvement in the world of financial budgeting: we’ll talk about four changes you can make, starting right now, that can save (or earn) you a combined amount each month in the hundreds of dollars.

Inquire About Employer Investment Benefits

It is crucial to plan for the long-term. A little bit today can add up to a whole lot years or even decades from now. Your average online master of financial economics program explains why it is a good deal for businesses to offer matching 401k plans, investment advice, and more: it provides incentives for employees to remain with the company.

While investing in your retirement and/or potential savings can be tough in the here and now, even small amounts add up over time. In the long run, you can generate tens of thousands in retirement savings by contributing as little as 2% of your income to these programs (see how much you can earn here).

Cook in Bulk

The cost of food continues to increase. Multiple reports by those with master of financial economics degrees working for major financial companies have outlined how the cost of food will continue to increase faster than general inflation. This means that food will only get more expensive over time!

Right now is the perfect time to invest in a variety of cheap kitchen solutions: crock pots, rice cookers, and other large-pot cooking options can help you passively prepare meals at home for a fraction of the price. When you combine this effort with purchasing affordable food ingredients like rice, beans, and other vegetables, you can shave off an incredible amount of money on groceries.

Shop with a Used Mindset

We have been conditioned to expect new items and goods whenever we go shopping. Yet in many cases, there are perfectly good used alternatives available to those who are savvy enough. Whether you are in the market for a new car or back to school clothing, there are many high-quality options you can consider when shopping.

Everything from farmers markets to consignment shops provides great deals – usually at a fraction of the price of new, comparable items – and the savings over time can be astounding.

Pursue Advanced Education

The biggest impact on our current finances may be our spending habits, but long-term, earning potential is the biggest influencer over whether you’ll have enough to survive, spend, and save. The average college graduate earns more than $500,000 more over their working years than somebody without a degree. Even those with advanced technical or vocational training earn more than those who don’t possess that level of education.

Ultimately, college or technical school isn’t cheap, but there are loans that can be used to fully cover the costs associated with it. The end result is a more prosperous future where – even when factoring in loan interest – you’ll earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more potentially than you would otherwise.

Not all of these changes can produce immediate benefits, but their effect on your ability to spend, save, and thrive is profound. By shopping with a frugal eye for great deals, cooking your own meals, pursuing advanced education/training and taking advantage of employee benefits, you can generate the equivalent of hundreds of dollars in savings each month for the foreseeable future.