Saving money is something everyone should be interested in regardless of his or her income level. If you’re not using the extra money to pay off debt, you can save it for retirement or put it toward a new business venture. It’s not hard to save money; you just have to be creative and be willing to sacrifice some of the amenities you’re used to.
Save money on your electricity bill. Many people needlessly spend extra money on the electricity bill. There are many little things that let you shave money off your electricity bill every month.
- Watch less television. Watching less tv also keeps you from watching advertisements that entice you to spend more money.
- Unplug items that aren’t being used. You can even turn off the breakers that control power outlets you don’t use everyday like those for your washer and dryer.
- Use a surge protector to plug in multiple items and turn off the surge protector when you’re not using any of those electronics.
- Wash clothes in cold water and letting them air dry.
- Make sure you turn off the lights before you leave home.
- Don’t run the dishwasher and washer at the same time – these two appliances together use more energy than each one does separately.
Plan your shopping trips by making a shopping list of the things you need. Be disciplined enough not to buy things that aren’t on your list. You should also shop with a budget. If you take just enough cash to the store with you, it’s impossible to overspend. You may suffer a slight embarrassment if you reach the checkout counter and have to put some items back, but it will encourage you to keep a tally of what you buy next time. You can use a calculator to make sure you’re not going over budget.
Buy groceries based on what’s on sale versus what you’d like to have. Pay attention to grocery store circulars each week so you know what’s going on sale. Use coupons if you can, especially at stores that double coupons.
Cook meals at home instead of eating out or getting takeout. Cooking your own meals saves a lot of money every month, especially if you eat leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. If you’re worried that you’ll get burned out on eating the same thing so meals in a row, make things you can freeze. Many delicious meals like lasagna and chicken casserole can be frozen, thawed, and consumed again. Or, you can turn leftovers
into an entirely different meal. For example, leftover roast beef, potatoes, and mixed vegetables can be made into a shepherd’s pie.
Grow your own vegetables. Many vegetables, like tomatoes, grow very well in containers so you can grow these even if you don’t have enough yard space for a small garden. You
can also grow herbs inside or outside your home.
Learn how to sew and you can get more wear out of your clothes. Instead of throwing away things with holes or stains, you can refashion them into something else.
Check your credit card statement for memberships and services you’re not using. You should always read your credit card statement to be sure the charges are accurate.
This time, check your next statement for memberships and subscriptions that have gone dormant. Cancel those unused services as long as they won’t charge an early cancellation fee. Even if there is a fee, weigh that fee compared to what you’d pay if you paid out your contract. The cancellation fee could be cheaper.
Get term life insurance instead of universal or whole life insurance. Whole and universal life insurance policies have a higher monthly premium because there’s an investment component built-in. These policies generally aren’t the best way to spend that money. You can get good coverage for a cheaper price by switching to term life insurance.
Make use of everything your local library has to offer. The library isn’t just for books anymore. You can find the latest editions of your favorite magazines (save on subscriptions) and DVDs (ditch the Redbox). Check your library for copies of the newest bestsellers. Some libraries even let you check out eBooks online for free.
Ditch cable. These days, there’s hardly any reason to have a cable subscription, unless your work requires you to see certain shows when they premiere. Otherwise, you can get along by watching your local tv stations and watching shows when networks put them online, which is usually within the next few days. Netflix, Blockbuster on Demand, and Hulu Plus are other subscription options that are cheaper than cable television. If you’re not ready to get rid of cable tv completely, cancel extra channels that you rarely watch,
and especially those you never watch.
Check online for recipes for household items and facial and body scrubs. It’s often cheaper to make your own cleaning products than it is to buy them from store. You may already have the ingredients in your cabinets. Facial products are easy to make at home. For example, you can make your own pore strips for just a few cents using gelatin power and milk. Over the counter strips cost between $8 and $25.
Don’t pay late fees or overdraft fees. Come up with a system for remembering your credit card payments, even if it means you set an automatic draft from your bank account. Set your calendar to remind you of the payment a few days ahead of time (or a week if you mail your payment). To avoid overdraft fees, get in the habit of checking your account balance before you make a transaction. Or, you can opt-out of overdraft fees and those charges would be declined.
Buy cheap. No matter what you’re shopping for, always compare prices among products. You’ll find that buying the cheaper version of certain products doesn’t sacrifice quality. For example, the $1 toothbrush removes just as much plaque and tarter as the $5 toothbrush.
Pay attention to the money you spend, especially unbudgeted money. Save all your receipts for a month and look at every single item you purchased. For each item you spent money on, ask yourself whether you could have purchased it cheaper or even gotten it for free. Some areas you won’t be able to cut back on, but if you keep watching what you spend, you could very well save hundreds of dollars each month.