What are some ways you can save money today?
Ways to save money are all around us. Almost everywhere there is an opportunity to spend money, there is an opportunity to save. Sometimes, saving money takes careful planning and can be tricky or difficult. This post is all about EASY ways that you can save money TODAY!
1) Do you really need that? This can be viewed as the 30-day rule too. If you see something that you are thinking about buying (obviously groceries and essentials are excluded from this), wait a couple of weeks, or 30 days and see if you still cannot live without it. A lot of times, if you really do wait that certain amount of time, the want or need for that item will pass. You will have found a cheaper substitute or you will have figured out how to get along without it. Also, if it is an article of clothing, waiting will usually put you ahead, for almost everything will go on sale eventually! If at the end of your 30 days (or whatever set time you have) you still can't live without the item, then get serious about buying it and look for a deal!
2) Create a budget. This is something else that you can literally do right now. Creating a budget creates accountability. Hopefully with a budget, you will think about every purchase you make and how it affects your budget. Should you really be buying that case of beer when it will blow half of your weekly grocery budget? Creating a system of checks and balances for yourself will hopefully prevent frivolous spending.
3) Call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate. This will save you money right away if they oblige and you are carrying a balance. The best part here, you can't lose! The worst that happens is nothing. You cannot lose money by making this 2 minute phone call! See our post about how we got a lower credit card interest rate <-----here with just a phone call! 4) When cooking, save your scraps! This is one that we are starting to do. In the winter, we love to make soups from scratch. An important ingredient in soups is stock. Make your own stock from cooking scraps! Save veggie ends and peels for vegetable stock, save chicken trimmings for chicken stock and seafood shells for a great seafood stock. Store them in the freezer and toss them in a pot with an appropriate amount of water. Boil and you've got home made stock from ingredients that you would have thrown away! Stock costs about a buck for 12 oz. in stores and that can add up fast!
5) Open your coupon eyes. Using coupons is one of the easiest ways to save money. If your total is $20 at the grocery store, would you rather pay with a $20 bill or hand over $15 cash and $5 in clipped coupons? If you said the $20 bill, you should probably stop reading here, since you clearly don't need to save money. :) If not, go to this page for hundreds of online printable coupons.
6) Cook at home! This one also seems very obvious, but I know a lot of people who eat out way more than they can afford. The average casual dining experience with tax and tip is $10-$12. Even if you score a deal, you're most likely paying at least $5 per person. It's easy to keep it under $2 per serving when cooking at home! Even if you're getting a bargain when eating out, you're probably paying double or more of what it would cost to eat at home. Plus, we won't even get into how much healthier it can be to prepare your own meals.
7) Optimize your food storage. Are you storing your bread on the counter top? Do you have cookies in an opened package in the cupboard? Put the bread in the fridge to keep it fresh for over twice as long as the counter tops and transfer those cookies into an air tight jar to keep them fresh for longer. Grab a nice Rubbermaid set here from Amazon.
8) Finish what you started. This is a major problem in our household. Check your pantry. How many 85% empty bags of snacks do you have? Is there a half eaten apple next to a half eaten pear in your fridge? I know, variety is the spice of life, but you should try and finish one "like" item before moving onto the next. No need to have opened bags of Fritos, Doritos, Funions and Tostitos all at once. Chances are if you do, at least one of those will not stay fresh long enough for you to finish it.
9) Auto-renew? Check up on your subscription to the Jelly of the Month club. Is it set to auto-renew and charge your card monthly? It is important for you to know what you are being charged for and when. Companies make it way to easy (on purpose) for you to forget about the $20 or $30 they are taking each month/year for their service.
10) Optimize your MPGs. Are you a fuel conscious driver? Well, being one can save you money! Don't ignore those basic tips you always hear like coast to a stop, don't accelerate like Jeff Gordon and keep your car maintained. Those all lead to better miles per gallon and more money back in your pocket!
11) DIY as much as you can! We just saved $10 by having Katie cut my hair instead of Supercuts. Mow your own lawn, clean your own gutters, wash your own car. Build stuff instead of buying it. I know not everyone's DIY (Do It Yourself) skills reach very far (God knows mine don't), but think about what you can do for yourself. You'd be surprised at what you can do and how much money it can save you!
12) Check for unused services. Do you pay for HBO and never watch it? Do you pay for 1600 cellular minutes per month and use 200? Bring the monthly cost of those services down by switching to a plan that allows you to pay only for what you use. On the flipside, if upgrading to an unlimited data plan (avoid overage penalties), subscribing to Netflix (avoid renting as often) or another service upgrade will honestly help you save money (and is not an unnecessary luxury) then do it! This is where you've really got to be honest with yourself though.
13) Check your vents. In your car and home, if you close unused central cooling and heating vents, more power will go to the vents that are open. My brother has a spare room in his house and keeps the vent closed unless someone is staying there. That is 175 less square feet that he has to heat and cool. In a 1200 square foot house, that's 15%! That means he saves 15% on cooling and heating by closing just ONE vent. If you are really motivated, open and close the vents all over your house as you enter and leave the room. No need to cool the family room when everyone is trying to sleep in their bedrooms.
14) Eat more potatoes! Seriously though, incorporate cheaper ingredients into your cooking. Research recipes for potatoes, rice and other very cheap ingredients. Find ones you like and incorporate them into your meal planning. At non-sale prices of rice hovering around 20 cents and potatoes around a quarter, these items and ones in that price point are staples to any money saving menu plan. Disclaimer: make sure you eat your vegetables too.
15) Check your water heater. Do you really need it to hold water at a temperature that is so hot you can't even touch it? You can set your hot water heater to hold water at a lower temperature, that way it doesn't have to work as hard to maintain that temperature.
16) Check your water flow. While we're on water, try this one. Get low flow shower heads and faucets and even low water toilets! You'll save water, which is good not only for your wallet but for the environment too. Plus, if you're in an area where you are charged by the amount of water you use, this can be a very large financial saving idea.
17) Check your tech. Unplug whatever electronic devices you can when not in use. Also, get your computers and other expensive electronics on a surge protector to save yourself from damage during a power outage.
18) Drink water. A lot. For the most part, water is free. Drinking water instead of soda or juice that you pay for is a clear money saver. There are also health benefits to drinking water. Many people will get a headache when they lack water, thus causing them to take medicine that they pay for. Also, being in good general health can keep you away from the doctor and paying co-pays.