Try to make a budget and keep track of your monthly spending. If you keep good records such as your credit card statements, bank statement or checkbook this should not be hard or take too long. Everyone has certain items you must have and items you have to spend money on each month but then there are the extras that you don’t need and maybe you could cut back on.
If you were spending freely on all the items mentioned below you would be spending hundreds of dollars a month. If you take my advice and follow the tips below you could be saving thousands of dollars a year.
1. Make coffee at home instead buying that pricey, fancy named coffee at Starbucks. Save yourself $5 a day by not stopping off to get that specialty coffee. You can make a decent cup of coffee in your own home.
2. Try eating out less often, you can bake a pizza at home. If you have children go out on those kids eat free nights. Making food at home from scratch or from a box will save you a lot on your food bill.
3. Color your hair at home instead of going to a salon and having a hairdresser to do your die job. You can also wait a few more weeks in-between your appointments than usual.
4. Clip coupons from the Sunday paper. Yes it costs money to buy the paper but, if you use the coupons right you will make back your small investment. You must search all the flyers for the best deals, and use the coupons on items that are on sale. If you need help with using coupons try Couponmom.com.
5. Stop going to the theater to see every newly released movie. Instead visit your local library or try Blockbuster or some other video store in your town. You can still go to the theater but this is the time to cut back and go less often.
6. Stop taking your clothes to the drycleaners, unless they are truly soiled. All those chemicals are bad for the environment anyways. You can use the home dry-cleaning kit from Procter & Gamble called Dryel. Dryel successfully works in your dryer at home, and it even gets stains out.
7. If something breaks search Freecycle before you buy new. You would be amazed at what you can find on your local Freecycle group. The bigger the city you live in the more stuff you will find. Great for replacing small appliances, and finding weight loss machines.
8. Instead of having your own long commute, try finding others to share the ride and carpool. People in your carpool don’t even need to work with you; just near your building would be helpful. If its available and you don’t mind ride the bus. By not always driving you can double task, clip coupons, read a book, get extra work done.
9. Stop using credit cards unless you always pay off the monthly balance. If you don’t have enough self-control then cancel all credit cards except for one. Then if you still can control your credit spending put the card on ice, literally.
10. Ask your doctor for a free sample of the prescription drug that he just prescribed. Those pharmaceutical companies practically bribe doctor’s offices to use their drugs, and leave many free samples for them to give out. This is especially true of the allergy doctor’s offices.
11. Get a smaller used car that gets lower gas mileage than your current vehicle. We have done this ourselves we went from 2 minivans to one minivan and a smaller sedan that can fit all of us. You will notice that the fill ups are less often, which means more money in your pocket.
12. Shop around for car insurance; don’t go below what you need. As you have seen on the TV commercials you might be able to get a better deal elsewhere.
13. Go food shopping only once a week, this will help you stick to your list and cut down on impulse buying. If you normally make 3 trips to the grocery that is 3 times the cost for things you don’t need. With this idea you will save time and money.
14. When a light bulb burns out try switching it to florescent. The newer more energy efficient bulbs do cost more at purchase but they can last for many more years.
15. Pack your lunch, and you will save money. If you get bored when brown bagging then spurge once a week and buy or pack an extra special lunch for yourself.
16. Unplug any items that you are not using. Appliances that are plugged in can still suck up electricity so go around your house and unplug items you won’t be using daily.
17. Shop around and do research before buying anything that could be cheaper elsewhere. Or look for coupons and online codes to get your items at an even lower price.
18. Turn down your heater, by just turning the thermostat down by 1 degree or more you will be saving money on your heating bill. “One rule of thumb is for every degree you set back the thermostat, you save 3 percent on your heating bill. That’s assuming it’s 24 hours per day.” ~ Bill Prindle (Expert in energy efficiency!)
19. Wash your laundry in cold water. You will be saving electricity that would normally be used when warming up the water. I recommend using hot water occasionally for the soiled garments. But most items don’t need hot water. You could also shorten the wash time if that option is available on the washing machine.
20. Try renting movies from Redbox, the Red Kiosks out in the front entrance of your grocery. They also have Redbox machines in the following locations: Walgreen’s, McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and several grocery stores. If you rent a movie and return the next day it only costs $1 even for new releases. Sounds much better than renting videos from Blockbuster for several more dollars for that new release.
21. Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees. If you have kids you should have already lowered it so they don’t get accidentally scalded. You will still have hot water don’t worry.
22. Air-dry your dishes and clothes. Instead of using heat, which costs electricity, try air-drying to save on your utility bills. The only difference is that it will take a little longer to dry. Most of the time you are not in that big of a hurry that you can’t let them air dry.
23. Try eating out at lunchtime instead of dinnertime. This will save you money because most restaurants have deep discounts for lunch customers, some up to 50 percent off.
24. Consider dropping your cable or satellite services. You more than likely only watch a few of the same channels and so you are paying for many that you don’t watch or even want. If you kick the cable company to the curb you can save a lot of dough. What would you do with out TV; rent movies, watch all the movies you already own, or borrow movies. Now you can even watch shows online for free at http://www.hulu.com/.
25. Try a low flow showerhead; you only need a little water to wash the shampoo out of your hair. If you install this you will be saving gallons of water from being wasted each time you shower.
26. Quit the gym or the YMCA. If you pay a monthly membership fee to a gym you can save a ton of money by working-out at home. Try an exercise video or taking a walk around the block. If you never make it to the gym anyways you are just throwing money down the drain.
27. Stop smoking, not that this one would be easy, but it sure would save you quite a bit of money. If you smoke a pack a day the cost would be close to $1,000.00 for one year.
28. Use a water filter instead of buying all of that bottled water. Research has been done that says bottled and tap water are basically the same thing. So save the earth and use a water filter pitcher or a facet mount filter. They both work equally well, just depends on what works better for you.
29. Try to keep yourself and family as healthy as possible. This will lower your health care costs. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. So remember to eat healthy, get enough rest and exercise.
30. Don’t even think about going window-shopping, unless you have super hero self control. Just walking by something can create a want that might not be satisfied until you purchase the item. So don’t even bother looking at those storefronts.
31. Save your change when you pay with cash. You can even collect coins that are lying on the ground. If you use the coin counting machines (Coinstar) you can turn the money into gift cards and not get charged a fee. The resulting gift cards would make great birthday gifts.
32. Utilize your local library, instead of racing out to buy a new book. You can borrow movies and books for free, as long as you return them on time. And if you drop your cable service the library will be looking mighty inviting. Most libraries also have free activities that you can attend. Free books and a few hours of entertainment, sounds like a bargain.
33. Unless your cell phone is required for your job or it is your only phone, consider using a prepaid plan. Average cell phone plans seem to be in the $60 range per month. With a prepaid plan you could cut that in half or less.
34. Don’t pay for magazine subscriptions that you can get for free or that you don’t even read. If you subscribe to magazines that you only have time to read the front cover when they arrive in the mail you are wasting money. Most magazines are available at the library. If you can’t find it at the library you could read it in the store, you might get a few looks. It would look like you are previewing to see if you wanted to buy.
35. Fire your baby sitter and have a kid swap co-op and take turns watching your friend’s kids while they go out. If you have friends who have kids and you can stand to watch them bring up this suggestion. If you have several families in the group it makes it even better. When it is your turn to go out while they watch your kids for free enjoy, it’s worth it and you earned it by taking your turn.
If you think you have already saved all that you can and have cut back in every possible way put your credit cards on ice. Then tell yourself and your family no, you might have to tell yourself no several times while in a store so that you don’t overspend or buy things that weren’t on your list.
You may not be fond of the idea of scaling back on spending habits. You think after all the work you do you deserve to spend, well you do deserve many great things, but you must ask yourself can you really afford it?