- Name brand vs. Generic: Let’s face it, almost all products now have a generic brand that are typically made with the same or similar ingredients. Try switching to generic products such as paper products, cereal, baking ingredients, cleaning products etc. to see if you are able to notice a difference.
- Shop in season groceries: Buying in season fruits and vegetables can save you money and also benefit from fresher produce.
- Bottle your water: Instead of buying cases of water each week, buy a reusable water bottle and fill up your water whenever possible. If you prefer not to drink tap water, invest in a Brita or water filter system to purify water before drinking.
If there are certain items
that you use frequently, try buying in bulk to save money.
- Pack your lunch: Although the majority of restaurants typically have lunch specials, eating out every day can have a big impact on your wallet. Imagine saving up to $1,000 packing your lunch a few days a week.
- Skip that morning Starbucks: Stopping for coffee every morning can quickly add up. For example, if you stop at Starbucks and get a $4 latte 5 days a week, you can save up to $80/month or $960/year.
- Buy online: Amazon sells almost everything, not just books. Amazon typically has very competitive pricing and offers free shipping.
- Sign up for reward programs: Many stores, restaurants and hotels have email reward clubs that often send you coupons and discounts. Even if you don’t frequently visit those stores or restaurants there are typically coupons that make it worth your visit. One tip about this though is to create a generic email address that you can use to store all your reward mailings.
- Use coupons: Try buying the Sunday paper and cut out coupons for items such as groceries. Not only does this save you money but you can also try new items that you would not frequently buy.
- Take advantage of deals: Sites such as
Groupon and LivingSocial always offer deals on restaurants, vacations, doctors,
and more. For example, many restaurants may offer a $15 Groupon which is worth
$30 worth of food!
- Stop impulse buying: This is one of my biggest weaknesses. If I see something I want, I have to have it. Instead of impulse buying, try setting goals and reward yourself with that item whenever you achieve a goal. For example, if you are looking to drop a few pounds, for every 5 pounds you lose, reward yourself with a small gift.
- Don’t splurge on an expensive item: When you are in the market for something that is rather pricey, do not buy the first one you see. Instead try waiting a couple days and see if you are able to locate a cheaper item online or in a different store.
- Do Holiday shopping after the holidays: Many stores have sales after the holiday season, not only can you save gifts for next Christmas, you can also stock up gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter, etc.
- Go through your closet: I’m sure many of you have piles of clothes in your closet that you never wear…try going through the clothes and taking them to a consignment shop for a few extra dollars.
- Carpool: If you live close to a coworker or friend, try carpooling a couple days a week to save on gas as well as costs for your car.
- Quit unnecessary habits: If you are a frequent drinker or smoker, try to limit your intake for a week and see how much money you are able to save. This may then persuade you to quit your habits.
- Unplug appliances when not in use: You may not think leaving appliances plugged in all day will really add up, several energy studies have shown that unplugging appliances when not in use can save approximately $100 per year.
- Buy refurbished: When searching for a new electronic such as a computer or laptop, try researching refurbished items first. A refurbished product can be anything from an unopened item a customer had second thoughts about, to an item that was missing an accessory which was sent back to the manufacturer for missing parts which was then replaced, tested and repackaged.
- Use Red Box or Netflix: If you tend to watch a lot of movies, buying a movie directly through your cable provider can cost up to $5 for a new release, try using Red Box for $1 rentals or invest in Netflix for unlimited rentals of movies and television shows for $8/month.
- Start a change jar: Add any leftover change or dollar bills that may be leftover in the bottom of your purse or in your wallet into a change jar. You’d be surprised how fast the money will add up.
- Consider if you really need a pet: I am a dog lover, but your furry friends can definitely damper your finances with food, veterinarian, and grooming costs. If you are in need of extra money or are not financially stable at the moment, skip on buying a pet until you are fully able to take on the extra costs.
- Skip the gym membership: Gym memberships add up over the year and can be an expensive (but also good) habit. Before paying for a gym membership try working out at home or going for walks.
cruise control: If you have a long highway commute, try using cruise
control to save on gas.
- Hide your credit cards: I very rarely use my credit card for purchases unless it’s an emergency. Try removing your credit card from your wallet so it is not easily accessible.
- Pay credit cards: Always pay the full/max balance on your credit cards, the interest charge is equivalent to giving away free money.
- Skip banking fees!: Some banks penalize customers if they overdraw from their accounts. One way you can get around this is having overdraft protection from your savings account, or some banks eliminate fees if you transfer a certain amount to your savings account each month.
- Always ask for fees to be waived: Any time you sign up for a service or installation, it never hurts to ask if the fees can be waived. Many companies will work with potential customers to provide them with a competitive price.
- Consolidate your student loans: Looking at my 9.5% interest rates makes me cringe, speak with your loan provider to consolidate loans into a lower interest rate package. Even reducing the interest rate 1% on a $10,000 loan can save you $100 a year.
- Use automatic debit for school loans: The majority of loan providers offer automatic debit options that can lower your interest rates, also you won't have to worry about missing a payment.
- Bundle Cable and Internet: Many cable and internet providers offer a more competitive rate if you bundle services rather than purchasing separately. If you have a land line phone, you can also look into bundling all 3 services.
While some of these tips will provide instant money, other suggestions may offer year round strategies for greater savings potential. Although it may be hard to adapt all the above tips into your everyday lifestyle, try to focus on a select few tips and see how much you are able to save in a week. After that week you will be able to see how much you are actually able to save and will encourage you to continue to be a master at savings!