Top 10 Ways to Save More Money
Setting a reasonable short-term and long-term goal is the first step to take when you want to start saving more money. You may want to purchase birthday or Christmas gifts, go on a vacation, or even purchase a new sofa. These would be considered short-term goals.
Long-term goals usually require a larger amount of savings such as a down payment for a new car or house or tuition for college. Having a goal in place makes it much easier to plan out your savings.
Once you have a goal set you can use one, a combination, or all 10 of the following tips to help you plan for more savings.
1. Make it automatic – If you have direct deposit set up with your employer then you can easily have it changed to deposit a small portion to your savings account at the same time. If you don’t have direct deposit then you can work with your bank to have them make automatic transfers to your savings account at a set time each week or month. Start with what you can afford, $5, $10, $20, $50 or more depending on your goals.
2. Avoid the ATM – As much as we would prefer to move to a completely digital currency, cash is still king. Looking at my last bank statement, I noticed I had used an out of network ATM 12 times in that billing period which cost me $3 each time. It may not seem like a lot of money but those ATM fees add up to over $400 per year. Now, when I just need to have cash in my pocket I use the cash-back option when I’m shopping with my debit card.
3. Collect that loose change – Have you noticed that at the end of each day you end up with a pocket full of change. Well, maybe not exactly a pocket full but enough that it can add up over time. Find a jug and start tossing in that loose change. Do the math, even at .50 cents a day saved can help pay off a bill.
4. Pay credit card balance each month – By paying off your credit card balances each month you can avoid the interest those cards would charge. Of course, the total savings depends on the APR of your accounts plus there is no real way to divert this savings into your savings account. Better yet, quit using credit cards altogether.
5. Go generic – Stop shopping for your favorite brands and give the off brands a try. Do your grocery shopping at stores like Aldi or Save-a Lot or if you don’t have access to those stores, try the Great Value brands at your local Walmart. You can easily cut 30% to 40% off your grocery bill.
6. Drop your cell phone carrier – When you sign up for cell phone contract with a major carrier you are probably financing a new cell phone which is then added to your bill. A better option is to purchase a prepaid plan. Bring your own phone and start saving each month. Compare the best-prepaid services here where you can find a plan starting at just $20 per month.
7. Go to your local library – Libraries offer more than just books. Many libraries across the nation offer movies in the form of DVD’s, music CD’s, board games, video games and even equipment such as tools or even sewing machines. Other than what is offered in their catalogue, you can find social activities such as book clubs and technology classes. Check with your library to see what they have to offer.
8. Learn to negotiate – Negotiate with everyone you owe money to include your credit card providers, your cable and internet provider, and even your doctor. Let them know you are on a limited budget and come right out and ask them for a better rate or how they can help you reduce your payments.
9. Invest in a deep freezer – Having a deep freezer opens many options for you. Sure there is an initial investment of less than $200 but that can be made up quickly by buying in bulk and by storing meals prepared in advance you can save tons of time. Check out this 5.0 cu ft. option that is perfect for a small apartment.
10. Eat less meat – I’m not suggesting giving up meat altogether because that would go against my own Paleo Diet lifestyle. What I suggest is skipping the meat twice a week. Meat is the most expensive portion of any meal so by skipping twice a week you’re looking at saving at least $10 per week and that will add up quickly.
Tell me what you’re already doing to save money. What works and what hasn’t worked so well?