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.
Saving Money Isn’t Always Easy
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, however, you too can find ways to cut back.
Here are a few practical ways that you save some extra money this year.
50 Easy Ways To Save Money Every Month
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 Philo or Sling, and then add in free streaming services to fill in the gaps.
Set up a cord cutting package like we have at our house, where you watch free broadcast TV using an antenna and DVR, use a cable TV alternative and free streaming services, while also using a media server to watch your own media like Plex.
Using a software like Media Mall’s Playon software, you can stream most of your favorite streaming services that you’re paying for and record them to watch later. The cost? A one time fee of $40 for Playon.
Take A Personal Day To Find Better Insurance Rates
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 occasion that you want to read it.
Buy Things 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!
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.
If you’re not sure you want to ask for a discount yourself, there are a ton of bill negotiation services that can get your rates lowered, for a percentage of the savings.
There Are Always More Ways To Save. Be Creative
There are 10 ways you can save money, just by making small changes to your lifestyle, or by making a few phone calls. It should be relatively quick and painless, and could lead to hundreds of dollars in savings.
So give it a try!
Do you have a quick and easy tip on how to save money? Let us know what it is in the comments!
Great list! Some experts think that 10% to 15% of the average income is wasted each month. There are probably many things we can do to save that money instead.
Number 8 is such a good one! When I was in college, used to make a lot of impulse buys and adopting this method has really helped me to reign in my spending. I saw another good list like this yesterday on GenX Finance with some other interesting tips, in a guest post by the authors of the Power of Small. Here’s a link: http://genxfinance.com/8-small-changes-you-can-make-to-save-an-extra-100-this-month. Thanks for the great advice!
Track your spending! If you track what you spend you may realize you’re buying lots of stuff you don’t need. You don’t realize all of the little things you pile up every day. I swear, every time we go to the mall our pockets get empty and we don’t even buy anything from the big stores. It’s little things like pretzels and drinks that do us in.
FFBs last blog post..Credit Cards Don’t Suck, You Suck!
Great post, it is good to hear a personal finance blogger talk about improving ones Net Worth. This is an important number to know if you plan on reaching your financial goals and being a good steward.
Brandons last blog post..#1 Worst Small City for Jobs…Jackson, Mi.
Ryan Loos says
Great Post! Remember that in your budget there is not usually one item that you will save a ton on a month but it is a combination of changing many items in your budget that you begin to see savings.
Increasing deductibles on insurance can also save a ton of money. It might seem like a lot to change a car deductible to $1000 but it helps reduce the yearly rate. The money saved can go to an emergency fund in case it is necessary to make claim.
Another one to add would be to get rid of gym memberships if you do not use them. Eating out is the worst. Brown bagging and cooking in can save a lot of money over time. Cutting cable costs are big if you don’t mind it. Otherwise, the entertainment value is worth the costs like it is for me.
Great ways to save. I actually just took a “going green” challenge, only spending cash for 14 days. I saved $700 dollars I normally would have blown through with my debit card. You could definitely add this tip to your frugality ways.
DMSmithbloggers last blog post..The Going Green Challenge
Credit Letter says
Thanks for the great post. On your point of “Buy Used” just last night I brought home a 81cm TV for $50 from a friend, instead of coughing up $1000 for a new LCD of the same size. Sure, the quality isn’t as good but it will do for now.
If I can conquer #5 (eating out) I’d be on my way! Seriously though, this is a great list full of stuff I’ve been meaning to implement. Time to DO!
I didn’t know about Playon though — I’ll be giving that some serious consideration.
We recently bought a 2nd vehicle and needed to insure it. Initially pricing seemed fair but I wanted to check other insurers; two others were coming in around $940/annual vs the $1452/annual I was quoted from my existing insurance company. So I kindly explained the situation to them and that I would likely pull my home policy if I switch my auto. As a result, I was re-rated which dropped auto to $908/annual and home to $582/annual (from $822/annual) for the exact same coverage. Total savings of $784 a year!
Suburban Dad says
Great advice. I’ve actually been working on 1-5 for a while now and was surprised at what a difference it has made in increasing the amount of money left over at the end of the month. Money that can now be applied to our debt snowball.
Additionally, in one area I have actually spent money in order to save money. I invested in an Ooma Hub so that I could do away with my monthly phone bill. The device itself will be paid for in about 6 months and after that, whatever I was paying each month for phone service will be savings. It’s gone a long way toward helping us save money on our monthly budget.
Suburban Dad´s last blog ..You Have Yellow Teeth (and other things your kids will tell you)
I love red box. 1 movie 1 night costs 1.08$ (included tax). It makes sense to use this service since I’m not going to watch a movie twice, why should I keep it for another 7 days and pay for it. It’s cheaper alternative to movie subscription and movie theater. This service is going to be popular since everyone’ budget is tightened these day. But you have to have entertainment. By the way, not sure what happen but the Red Box in my area become blue nowadays. May be we will have to start to call it the Blue Box soon enough. Hope they are not trying separate Democratic states from the Republican ones. Haha, this is going to be funny.
I appreciate your suggestions of ways to save money. However, I wouldn’t recommend the site Hulu.com as they provide pornography and r-rated programming as well. Thankfully, it was red flagged to us to protect our family.
This economy hit me and my family like a boulder. I still have a car (paid off) and a house (almost paid off). I have not missed a thing on this list. I would like to ad that any job is better than no job. I recently found a job that is part time and low paying, and I love it and I’m thankful. I have friends who are losing everything and still holding out for that high paying job. God won’t give me more if I’m not thankful for what I have.
Great post Pete. I am definitely with you on the whole redbox thing. I was surprised that they carry pretty new movies (with blu-ray as well). My Netflix subscription is now on the endangered list!
I get a much better value out of Netflix for the money. We only get 2-3 DVDs per month, but both my husband and myself watch Instant Watch movies and TV shows almost every night. (Okay, okay, every night!) So we definitely save money over Redbox, plus we have more options than Redbox could give us.
Everything else though, I agree completely! Great post!
Thanks for these tips. I actually save money last month because I have Hypertension. I did not eat from restaurant. I went to company hospital for free medicine. I only bought vegetables for salad without meat.
I realized that I had wasted big amount of money eating outside and even buying things that are not healthy.
Great list and great timing as I just cancelled my cable service!
If you eat breakfast at home, and pack your lunch, you not only save money but it can help you keep your weight under control. I still ate a lot, and lost 9 lbs. My coworkers were big time jealous.
Jonathan Craig says
Cutting the cable TV was a difficult one for me, as I grew up with it and it became one of the “norms” that felt almost like a necessity. I learned, after cutting the cable, how little I needed television and how little I was even watching! Did not miss it one bit!
1) Who has time for a lot of cable TV?? Concentrate on cleaning out clutter or increasing skills for more income each month instead…
2) Who has subscriptions?? Or gym memberships?? Or goes out to paying movies??
CHECK OUT YOUR PUBLIC LIBRARIES!!
They have speakers, free films or you can rent books, tapes, DVDs, or even games…
Check out any age related discounts — young children or seniors (55, 50, 62 or 65 depending upon the item)…
Great list! Some of these most definitely apply to the college student age group. One thing missing from the list I could think of is scholarships. These most certainly apply to the college age group.