In a world of instant gratification, it’s important to learn to save and manage money. Here are SMART ways to save and build your FUTURE. Doing things to cut cost will help you in the long run.
Whether you’re cutting costs because you need to or want to, the process should be manageable and positive. It’s important to have fun doing it.
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Just think of how much money you could save on electricity just by turning off the lights.
WAYS TO CUT SPENDING
Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else.
Consider downsizing your home. Particularly if the house is too large for your family, why not put it up for sale and move into a smaller place. You’ll also save money on utilities with a smaller house.
Move in with family. Just to save and put money towards debts and plan for the future . This should be a temporary situation unless they are okay with it.
Move to a less-expensive area. If a job or family isn’t keeping you in a certain locale, consider moving to cut expenses..
- Try carpooling. You’ll save on gas, garage fees and wear and tear on your car as you share driving responsibilities. The car pool doesn’t have to be made up of co-workers either. Many cities have carpool and share-a-ride programs to join.
- Comparison shop for food. Treat food shopping like you would any other shopping trip and hunt for bargains and the cheapest prices. Use coupons and buy in bulk if you have the room to store the food.
- Downsize your phone service. Unless you have a need for it, drop the land line and go completely cellular. Another option is to bundle the land line service with another service like cable TV and Internet. Look at different providers and get the most for the your money (frugal). Just cut cable completely you can watch TV online.
- Cut eating out. Sure it’s fun to go out to eat dinner, but restaurant bills can be a real drain on the monthly finances. However, if you are getting paid as a Mystery shopper you will be reimbursed.
- Pay in cash. Leave the credit and debit cards at home and use cash instead. The quickest way to avoid buying something is not to have the ability to pay for it. Using cash also helps you stick to a budget because once the cash is gone, you’re done spending.
- Buy in the off-season. Shop for expensive items when they’re cheaper — in the off-season. So, don’t buy an air conditioner during the hottest days of summer, if you can help it.
- Refinance your house and consolidate debt. Take advantage of interest rates hovering at historic lows to pay off high interest debt.
- Hang on to that car. If the car is paid off, runs and suits your needs, why saddle yourself with a new car and loan? Hold off buying a new car for a couple of years and save the money you would have spent on a car loan. The numbers show people are hanging on to their vehicles .
- Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
- Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
- Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
- Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
- Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
- Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get a reusable water bottle and refill it.
- Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
- Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
- Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
- Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well.
- Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
- Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
- Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
- Swap online. Use sites to trade books, music, and movies with others online.
- Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
- Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.
- Buy used: Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
- Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
- Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
- Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
- Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
- Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
- Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
- Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
- Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
- Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
- Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
- Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
- Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
- Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
- Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into getting a cheaper plan.