20 Ways You Can Save Money Starting Now

Simple Changes Can Add Up To Big Savings

There are simple things you can do every month that can help you save money and increase your savings. By eliminating a lot of little expenditures for products and services you don’t need, you can begin reducing your total debt, watch your savings grow, and learn to be a smart consumer. It’s definitely a win-win situation.

Here are some suggestions for cutting back on unnecessary items in your budget and learning to live a more financially responsible lifestyle.

  1. Impulse buying can destroy your budget. Before making a purchase, ask yourself “Do I really need this?” Better yet, give yourself at least 24 hours to think it over. Most people find when given some time, the initial excitement to buy cools off.
  2. If you still have a house phone (landline), get rid of all the extra features such as call waiting, call forwarding, and voicemail. If you have a cellular phone, the odds are the house phone is rarely used, so consider cancelling it altogether.
  3. Use curtains or shades to reduce your energy bills. In the summer, leave the curtains closed to keep out the sun and darken your rooms. Ceiling fans also can cool rooms at very little cost. In the winter, leave your curtains open to allow the sun to warm up the interior of your home.
  4. The price of gasoline is continuing to rise so it makes sense to plan out your daily trips. Try to arrange carpooling with co-workers. Some companies are allowing their employees to telecommute at least one day a week so find out if this is a possibility. Also consider public transportation. This can add up to substantial savings.
  5. Another tip as far as saving gas is to combine your errands. Plan your schedule so that you can go to the grocery, dry cleaners, bank etc. in one outing. Three or four trips combined into one can really pays off in fuel savings, not to mention wear and tear on your car.
  6. Bring your lunch to work a few times a week instead of going out. By eliminating just 2 restaurants meals per week, you can save on average $20 a week. Multiply that over a month or a year and you can see how quickly the savings add up.
  7. Make your coffee at home in the morning and take it with you. Gourmet coffees are expensive.
  8. Plan your dinner meals. Learn to use leftovers in creative ways so that nothing is wasted. Remember that eating at home always costs less than eating out and usually is more healthy for you.
  9. Instead of committing to that expensive gym membership, exercise at home. Walking or running at the park or in your neighborhood costs you nothing. Try using the stairs where available, rather than the elevator. All types of workouts are offered on DVDs.
  10. Are you really watching the 300 channels you pay your cable company for? Most likely, the answer is no. Get rid of the premium movie channels which cost a bundle. There are many places to rent movies inexpensively. Pay for what you are using, not what you think you need.
  11. If you love going to the movies, try to go in the afternoons. Ticket prices are normally discounted, plus there are fewer crowds. Most theatre chains offer “frequent customer” cards. You can earn free movie tickets and either free or discounted refreshments.
  12. Don’t try to keep up with your neighbors and friends in terms of possessions and lifestyle. Living within your means is one of the smartest and most gratifying things you can do for yourself. Many people have a lot of “things” but no savings and no long-term goals or plans. Learn to be smart with your money.
  13. Entertaining at home is not only enjoyable but can cut your restaurant spending enormously. Plan a simple meal with friends and watch movies or play games. If everyone brings a specific dish (appetizer, salad, or dessert) and you provide the main course, it reduces the expense and the work. Remember you don’t have to “go out” to have a great time.
  14. Take time to visit your public library. Rather than buying books, borrow them for free. Many libraries today offer movie rentals. Newspapers and magazines are free to browse, also.
  15. Most cities offer a wide variety of free entertainment. Check your local newspapers or online for information about concerts, museums, art festivals, and other events.
  16. The best way to not spend money at the mall is not to go there. If window shopping is difficult for you, it makes sense to avoid the temptation. Recognizing your spending habits and where you need to make improvements can really help you make positive changes with your finances.
  17. You can significantly cut your grocery bills by using coupons, checking store specials, and looking for rebates. Plan your grocery trip after a meal, if possible. The most dangerous time to shop, at least for your wallet, is when you are hungry. Try store brands in place of the more expensive national brands.
  18. Try using cash when you go shopping. You may even want to leave the credit cards at home. Studies have shown that consumers are more careful about what they purchase when they spend cash. The important thing is to consider what you are buying and think before making a decision. Cash helps you do this.
  19. Go over your phone plan and see what you are really using in terms of services. If you’re using a third of your text message allotment, choose a lower plan. If you have 500 rollover minutes each month, opt for a plan with less minutes. The point is to stop paying for services you don’t need or use. It may seem like a small amount of money, but it adds up.
  20. Always be aware of your bank account balance. With everyone using debit cards to pay for even the smallest purchases, the chances are you use your checking account often. It’s important to know what your balance is so that you don’t overdraw the account. Banks make billions of dollars in revenue every year simply from fees they charge their customers. Get in the habit of checking your account every day and remember when automatic payments are scheduled to be deducted. With the average overdraft fee now being $35, this should be incentive enough to keep a close watch on your account.

No one becomes a financial expert overnight. It takes determination and patience to change old spending habits and embrace a more economical lifestyle. But it can be done. By slowing incorporating these money-saving ideas into your daily routine, you will be rewarded with less debt and more savings. And that’s a sound investment any way you look at!