If you ask most people, they’d say that saving money is tough. This isn’t necessarily so. Perhaps saving big chunks of money at a time is difficult, but saving a little here and there is easier than you think. On their own they won’t amount to much, but combine them and you’ll be surprised how much money you can accumulate. Continue reading for 11 tips on saving money that actually work.
1. Saving Money Starts by Establishing a Budget
Creating a budget and sticking to it is probably the most important thing you can do when it comes to saving money. It’s one of our most important tips on saving money. One good technique is to use a series of envelopes earmarked for various expenses. Place the appropriate amount of cash in the respective envelope and when the money is gone, you’ve exhausted your monthly allotment.
Keep in mind the 50/20/30 rule when establishing a budget:
- Allocate a maximum of 50 percent of your take-home for all expenses
- Allocate 20 percent of your take-home pay for savings
- Leave the remaining 30 percent or less as a weekly allowance
2. Shop at No-Frills Grocery Stores
Bagging your own groceries and buy as many store and generic brands can save you $5 per bag. You can either put the savings away in your bank account or use it to buy something you wouldn’t normally splurge on. There are 8 ways to save money on groceries you can start doing today.
3. Move Your Checking Account
Do an online search for banks that offer free checking accounts. You’d be amazed how many banks out there do so. And since most banking these days is done via direct deposit and online bill pay, you don’t have to worry about going into a local brick and mortar bank.
4. Negotiate Your Credit Card APRs
If you’ve been a loyal customer who has paid his bill on time, contact your credit card company and ask for a reduction in the amount you pay in interest on your unpaid balance. If you meet with some resistance, tell them that you’re thinking of transferring your balance to another card. Most credit card companies would rather make some money off you than none at all. You’ll be in a stronger bargaining position if you have a great credit score. If not, there are 8 steps to improve your credit score. If you’ve been facing overdraft fees, don’t delay since there are ways to stop overdraft fees now.
5. Increase Your Insurance Deductible
Upping your insurance deductible on your car and home policies can save you an average of 15 percent per year. As a back-up, create an emergency fund with say, $1,000 in it and don’t touch it unless you’re in an accident, etc. And remember, you’ll earn interest on that money making this plan that much more attractive.
6. Cancel Credit Card Theft Protection
This is a marketing ploy perpetrated by banks and credit card companies to make money off of you. Federal law states that if you didn’t buy an item, you’re not liable for it.
7. Use a Reasonable Mobile Plan to Reduce Your Monthly Bill
Since texting is all the rage, you might as well get the best deal on it you can. Without a specific plan, texts can run about 15 cents each. Better to spend the $5 a month to get unlimited texts through your cell phone provider.
8. Eliminate Your Gym Membership for Extra Savings
If you’re like most people, you’re spending about $50 a month for something you use infrequently or never at all. If you’re dedicated to working out, speed walk, run, do stomach crunches, pull-ups, etc. right in your own neighborhood. You might also consider checking community sites like Craigslist.com for a used workout machine. While these machines are pricey, once paid for, it’s all yours. Never rule out working on at home as an option. You can get a great, cheap workout as a way to save money from home.
9. Install a Programmable Thermostat
For less than $100 investment, you can save a substantial amount on your heating and cooling costs by reducing how much you spend on energy when you’re not home.
10. Forget Extended Warranties
Appliance and electronics stores push these hard because they’re almost pure profit for them. Stand your ground and just say no. By the time the item you’ve purchased needs service, technology will have advanced and you’ll probably want a new one.
11. Buy Motion-Sensor Lights
These will protect your home in the dark and save you in energy costs by not keeping your exterior lights on all night.
Putting these techniques into motion means nothing if you don’t bank the savings. The most important thing about saving money is to do it every day. You might want to consider referring back to tip #1 and create an envelope just for the money you save then deposit into a savings account every month.
Not fully convinced? Read about how you can start saving an additional $5,000 a year.