10 Easy Ways to Save Money

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save money

The cost of living has increased dramatically over the last several years.  Just 10 years ago, we balked when the price of gas hit a record high of $1.73 per gallon.  Let’s face it, we will never see gas below $2.50 again. As a matter of fact, on the very rare occasions it dips below $3.00, even by a penny, drivers line up at the pumps. Unfortunately, gas is not the only thing we’re paying more for. Higher prices at the pump, the grocery store, the pharmacy and on our monthly bills makes saving money seem nearly impossible.

There are some easy steps you can take to save money and boost your budget.  Saving money on things like gas, groceries, and monthly bills can make a huge difference! Saving just $100 a month will add over $1,000 to your wallet in a year.  Whether you’re saving for Christmas, a vacation, or a lifetime supply of bubble bath, implementing just a few of these strategies will help you on your way!

  1. Use Less:  One of the easiest ways to save money is simply to use less.  From detergent to vitamins to water and electricity, every bit you cut back will save you money.  Try using 1/3 to even 1/2 less laundry detergent on regular loads. Your clothes will be just as clean and that jumbo bottle of detergent can last twice as long! You can also use less shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste and mouthwash in the same way. Unless prescribed, most people can take vitamins or other supplements every other day and get the same benefit. We all know that cutting our electricity and water consumption is a good way to save and it’s really not as hard as it sounds.  Turn the lights off when you leave the room.  Adjust your thermostat by 2 degrees.  Cut 2 minutes off your shower. STOP pre-rinsing your dishes. Turn the water off when you brush your teeth or shave. You get it. Use less, save more.
  2. Eat at home:  Keep track of your food spending for one month. Keep every single receipt for every soda from the convenience store, every snack out of the machine (you’ll probably have to write your own receipt for that one), every coffee or coffee-like-drink in that super fancy paper cup, and every meal you get from somewhere other than your own kitchen.  It can be shocking. Make breakfast and dinner at home and pack your lunch. Save restaurant meals for special treats.  And, please, stop paying $5 for a cup of fancy coffee!
  3. Avoid convenience foods:  Just like eating at home, avoiding the convenience food trap can save you a ton…. okay, maybe a few bucks, but still. A package of 20 single serve bags of chips will cost you about $7.00 on average.  A larger bag of chips and a reusable container will go just as far and will cost less than half that. Frozen breakfast sandwiches? Make them yourself for a fraction of the price.  Don’t buy a package of 8 brownies packed with chemicals and preservatives when you can make 2 dozen yourself for less! Try making your own marshmallow crispy treats, frozen waffles, ready to eat bacon, tuna salad (or chicken, egg or potato salad). It’s easy, healthier and a lot cheaper!
  4. Ditch Cable:  This can be a hard one, but once you do it, you’ll be amazed at how much you love it! If you already have a device, like a game system or internet ready blu-ray player, check out streaming services like hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.  If you need a device, get a Roku playerand stream live shows and thousands of movies from free and low-priced streaming services.
  5. Shop around:  If you’re not quite ready to ditch cable, check out your options.  Call your own cable or satellite provider and let them know they’re about to be dumped. They’ll most likely offer discounts to keep you on the hook…just don’t sign any new contracts to get them.  Comparison shopping works for more than just cable.  Compare prices on everything! Whether you’re shopping for groceries, a cell phone, clothes or a new (to you) car, don’t accept the first price you see until you check it out somewhere else.
  6. Ditch the disposables:  We throw away thousands of dollars per year in disposable items….water bottles, paper towels, sandwich bags, paper cups….it goes on and on. Replace some of those things with reusables! You’ll save money and do a small part to help the environment.
  7. Make it yourself:  We’ve already covered meals at home, but think about how much money you spend on things like laundry detergent and other household cleaners.  Cut that in half or less when you make it yourself from common household items.  The best glass cleaner on the planet is vinegar (use crumpled newspaper to wipe…the results are incredible!). With the entire population of Pinterest jumping on the homemade bandwagon, you’ll find a recipe for anything you can think of! Try using conditioner to shave your legs….fabulous!
  8. Buy Used:   Most people know the value of buying cars and houses used, but this strategy can be applied to many more aspects of our daily lives. One of my favorite lunch break activities is to go to the local thrift store and browse the bookshelves.  I’ve found some real treasures there and never paid more than $2.  If you’re into labels, find a local resale or consignment shop.  You’ll find the labels you’re looking for with a price that makes much more cents (see what I did there? hehe).  Try looking for used furniture, appliances, clothes, tools and more!
  9. Freebies:   Companies really want you to try their products. Grab free samples anytime they’re available. Most samples come with high-value coupons, too! Be sure to like your favorite brands and companies on Facebook and follow on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Promotions, giveaways, exclusive coupons and freebies are almost always posted on social media first. And check out the list of freebies I’ve compiled! I’ve included a special section for Birthday Freebies that will blow your mind! Free food and gifts galore!
  10. Be a Quitter:  Addictions like smoking, drinking (whether alcohol or soda), recreational drugs, excess sugar and shopping can be expensive in addition to their obviously unhealthy affects.  I know this one is easier said than done, but you can do it! Find a support group, see a doctor, whatever it takes….just quit. Now.
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