Thankfully though, there are lots of great ways to save money if you are willing to sacrifice here and there. Although, to be honest, for millions of people living in other countries, these wouldn’t be considered “sacrificing”, to them its just a way of life. We, here in the west, have grown accustom to this consumerism that is just consuming our lives! But that’s anther topic for another time. Lets learn a few ways to be frugal and save money.
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1- Write a budget and stick to it
You won’t believe how much better you’ll do (financially) with a written budget in hand!
2- Prepare tomorrow’s lunch tonight!
With little time to spare in the morning, try to prepare your lunches the previous night and put it in the fridge. This will help you avoid eating out during lunch time due to not having time in the morning to make it.
3- Share restaurant meals
Have you noticed that the portions dished out especially at chain restaurants are enough to feed a small family? Well, instead of letting this accumulate at your waistline, take advantage of it and share the meal with a loved one. That way you will both be fed, at the price of one. In case you feel bad doing this, give the server a tip and you will soon be right with the world again. Why risk heart disease and obesity while you can save money and stay healthy while avoiding them?
4- Invest in a few more energy efficient windows
For long-term reduction in your heating bills, invest in window replacement in your home. For those living in older houses, you may have noticed that with time, air starts escaping through the windows. This translates to several dollars worth of heating bills. In as much as the cost of installation will be high, it will eventually have a positive effect on your bank balance.
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5- Get a texting plan
If you are addicted to texting, it would be important to include a texting plan for your cell phone. Since texting is currently very popular ( I can’t honestly understand why, I find it mind boggling!). At an average rate of 15 cents for every text sent and received, it makes financial sense.
6- Make a weekly dinner plan
Without having a prior idea of what you are going to prepare for dinner, and getting all necessary ingredients ready, you will end up spending more money eating out.
7- Avoid eating at the movie theater
How much more do you spend at the movie concession stand than for the movie ticket? To avoid this unnecessary expense, make sure you have a good meal at home before you go for a movie. Despite what you may think, it is not compulsory to buy something to eat before getting into the movie theater. You will not die of hunger in the two hours you spend in there!
8- Cancel your credit card’s ID theft protection
You can save on the cost of your monthly credit card payments by cancelling the ID theft protection option. This is an unnecessary expense and if you don’t pay for it, you will not be liable for it.
9- Change oil on your own
You can save on your car maintenance bill by doing your own oil change. This is not a time-wasting or complicated procedure, which when done, will save you the $10 you pay the mechanic to do it.
10- Use motion activated exterior lights
Save money on your utility bills by installing motion-sensor exterior lights.
11- Pay less when shopping
Visit consignment boutiques for barely worn branded clothes at lower cost. Try out Plato’s Closet for a variety of great skirts, tops and jeans. Such stores are great places to pay less when shopping.
12- Don’t fall for those extended warranties
The only reason retailers shove them down your throat with that vigour, is because they know that this is a cash cow for them. Don’t let their scare tactics win you over, just say no and look the other way.
13- Take advantage of free recreational/entertainment opportunities
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to have a good time. Save plenty on recreation by going to the park, attending a festival, play a sport, lounge at a beach or just read a book.
14- Try to combine different insurance policies into one
Instead of purchasing unnecessary insurance packages such as travel insurance, pet insurance and accident insurance, find ways to include them into your existing policies at a lower price. A good example is to add the rental car endorsement on your current auto policy for an extra dollar or two per month, instead of purchasing an entire policy for every time you use a rental car.
15- Get rid of that gym membership
In case you have a gym membership and have not set foot into the gym in a week for no apparent reason, then lose the card. It will end up saving you up to $50 per month per head. For some strange reason, we all tend to follow the same pattern: you get a gym membership, buy the appropriate gear, attend a couple of sessions, feel healthy and lo and behold, quit! Instead of feeling guilty about it, take up cycling, or go for a jog.
16- Use Red Box
For those who live in a neighborhood with a McDonald’s in its vicinity, find out if it has a Red box vending machine. You will be able to rent out some of the latest new movies at a reasonable fee of $1 per night.
17- Be smart when using coupons
After organizing them, opt to clip those for items that you utilize more frequently. That way you can save more on groceries.
18- (Maybe) stop smoking!
Want to save a cool $100 a month for doing something sacrificial but wonderful for your health? Quit Smoking! (Optional, as I myself am a smoker, so I know its hard!)
19- Find banks that offer checking accounts that do not require you to pay for maintenance and annual fees
An example of such a bank is the Washington Mutual Compass Bank. Open an account with such a bank, and save for a rainy day.
20- Don’t waste money on lottery tickets
The reason why the lottery keeps growing is because many believe that they actually have a chance of winning it. Well, the truth is, you are not going to win it, so stop playing it! If saving is important to you, you should stop buying lottery tickets.
21- Increase your insurance deductibles
You can save hundreds of dollars in annual insurance premium payments by increasing your insurance deductibles for vehicle and homeowner insurance premiums to $1000 and build up an emergency fund.
22- Don’t use car wash
As much as a car wash may seem like a good idea, you can cumulatively spend hundreds of dollars at $10 per wash. The challenge is that the machines wash out the dirt in all visible areas, but leaves dirt in areas where you may have to go back and clean out yourself (including the entire interior). I once had a bad experience at a car wash where the high pressure from the hoses chipped the paint off my car. Needless to say, washing your car yourself will help you save money.
23- Instead of buying your electronics and computer accessories at the local tech shop, try finding a good deal online
Several sites exist where you can purchase what you need at a lower price. Try TigerDirect.com, Buy.com, NewEgg.com and Ben’s Bargains which happens to be my favorite deal aggregator. For used items such as cars, furniture, household equipment or electronics, check out Craigslist.com
24- Avoid the barber shop
You can save quite a bit of money spent on the barber’s chair by purchasing a set of clippers and asking your spouse to cut your hair for you. Expect a few crazy cuts initially, but with a little practice, she will get the hang of it.
25- Do it yourself
Keep the handyman bill at bay by buying a book on minor repairs. Do not try repairing the plumbing or fixing the light fixtures. Leave that for the real professionals
26- Schedule your vacations during the off-peak period
Schedule your vacations during the off-peak period to take advantage of the lowered fares and prices. Find out when different locations have their off-peak periods and travel there at that time. You will inevitably save hundreds of dollars.
27- Negotiate for better rates on your cards
When dealing with a product in a competitive market such as the credit card industry, you have the luxury of negotiating for a lower comparative interest rate on your credit, especially in situations where you have been a consistent and faithful client. Your loyalty should find a way to be rewarded monetarily. If your provider does not see the logic in this, inform him that you are then opting to balance transfer to another card. He will likely review his position on rewarding your loyalty.
28- Make fewer trips to the dry-cleaning
You can get away with wearing your clothes more than once before washing with a few tricks I have perfected over the years. This will work for your dress shirts, khakis and jeans. Wear an undershirt with your dress shirt to reduce its contact with your sweat. In as much as this may gross some of you out, less washing will reduce the level of its fading. You will also save on detergents and dry cleaning costs.
29- Spend time with loved ones instead of spending money
Instead of spending an incredible sum of money on gifts that are of little or no value to the recipient, try spending time with them instead. Hang out with a friend, spouse or child on their special day and pamper them as much as you can possibly get away with.
30- Use programmable thermostat
To save on costs incurred through your energy consumption, purchase and install a programmable thermostat. This will come in handy especially during the summer when you spend time out of your home. During these times, set your thermostat warmer during the day, since you are not in the house thus will not be affected by the higher temperatures. Set it on cool when you do get home, and enjoy the cooler temperatures.
These suggestions are aimed to inspire you to start saving money by changing your current lifestyle. there are may more ways to save money at home and out side of your home. You just have to find and get rid of to wasteful habits.
Keep a journal of just how much you are saving at the end of each month, and it will motivate you to keep doing it. Please feel free to leave a comment if you know any other ways on how to be frugal and save money.