Saving Money Isn't Always Easy
Our economy has been through the wringer lately, and most people are looking for ways to cut back on their budgets. Making sure that you have a little extra money saved in the bank is more important than ever.
For many of us our budgets already seem pretty tight, and it's hard to imagine where we'll be able to find more areas to cut. If you look, you too can find ways to cut back. Here are a few practical ways that you save some extra money this year.
10 Practical Ways To Save Money
- Cut the cable TV: Cutting your cable TV can save you a lot of money, and not just once, but every month. The average cable bill can run anywhere from $40-$120 every month. Add that up over a year and you've saved from $480-$1440! Instead of watching cable, watch your favorite shows from most networks on a service like Hulu.com. Not only is watching shows on Hulu free, but there are less commercials! If you still want to watch the shows on your TV and not your computer, you can easily set it up so you can stream Hulu to your TVthrough an Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or other set top box. Using a software like Media Mall's Playon software, you can stream Hulu, comedy central and a ton of other networks streaming TV feeds directly to your TV. Cost? One time fee of $40 for Playon.
- Take a personal day to find better rates on insurance: One thing that I'll do every couple years is take a personal day from work so that I can take an entire day just to focus on our insurance coverages, shop around and find better rates. For example, last time I did this I was able to find better coverage on our auto and homeowner's insurance, for about $1100 less per year!
- Cancel Subscription Services and Use Cheaper Alternatives: One thing we've done in the past at our house is cancel our netflix subscription, and move to a cheaper alternative, renting movies at a Redbox. For Netflix we were paying close to $15/month, and only getting 2-3 movies a month. In comparison for the same amount of movies rented at the redbox less than a mile from our house, it cost us just over $3. If you can find a redbox free rental code (which are readily available), it can be even cheaper! Use this tactic for other subscription services like newspapers or magazines. Instead of paying subscription fees, just buy it on the newstand for the rare ocassion that you want to read it.
- Buy Used: Instead of buying that new car for 20 grand, buy a 2-3 year old car with low mileage of the same make and model for about half price. I did this when buying my car recently, and we saved probably about 12-14 thousand dollars! The tip works for other things as well. Try it when buying clothing, books, electronics or other high ticket purchases.
- Pack your lunches, and limit eating out: I used to think this tip was silly until we tried it at our house. After doing our budget we realized just how much we were actually spending on lunches and dining out together. Let's just say it was a lot more than we thought it was. Even cut this spending in half and you've probably saved a couple hundred/month.
- Save money at the movies: If you're a movie buff like my wife and I, you can find a lot of ways to save money when you go to the movies. Go to a matinee, see the movie at a second run theater, buy packages of tickets at a reduced rate, bring your own snacks, seek out free family movie days in the summer or join movie watcher loyalty clubs. Wow, that was a mouthful. Check out the link for more!
- Maintain things: Keep up on the regular scheduled maintenance for your car (oil changes, tire inflation, check fluid levels), as well as regular maintenance on your home. Keeping up on the maintenance may not feel like you're saving money (in fact you may be spending some), but it can mean that you'll save hundreds or thousands of dollars down the line because your things will last longer.
- Give yourself a waiting period: Are you prone to going out and buying things on a whim? Give yourself a waiting period within which you can't make a purchase. The more susceptible you are to spontaneous purchases, the longer your waiting period should be. I like to wait at least 24 hours before making a decision to buy something, longer if the price tag is higher. Saving up and paying cash is an even better idea, often you'll find by the time you've saved up for the item, you don't really want it anymore.
- Don't shop when you're hungry, and make a list: One mistake that I make all the time is that I tend to go grocery shopping when I'm ravenously hungry. When I do that I often end up buying a bunch of groceries that we don't need, and that sometimes spoil before we can even eat them. Go shopping after eating a meal, and only shop with a list. Don't buy anything that isn't on your list. For more ways to save on your groceries, check out this post.
- Save by asking for a discount: Often you can get a discount on the services you use, and the things you buy just by asking. For example, call up your internet company and ask for a discount on your monthly bill. Often they'll give you a reduced promotional rate for a limited time, or a reduced rate to not jump ship to another provider. Another one we've used is to ask for a discount on medical bills. Often if you call up the hospital billing department you can save 10-20% off of your bill just by asking, and paying cash. We did this last year for some of my wife's medical bills.
There are 10 ways you can save money, just by making small changes to your lifestyle, or by making a few phone calls. Quick painless, and hundreds of dollars in savings.
Do you have a quick and easy tip on how to save money? Let us know what it is in the comments!