Saving money is a great first step to turning your finances around.
Some people claim they just can’t find any ways to save money. That changes today. This massive guide shows you 125 ways you could accomplish the goal of saving money.
For this resource, saving money is considered any one of the following:
- Depositing more money in a bank or investment account,
- Spending less money on things you already pay for and
- Increasing efficiency to spend less money over time
Make sure you stick around until the end. I’ve saved one of the most important money saving tips for last.
Table of Contents
- 15 Ways To Better Manage Your Money
- 6 Mental Money Saving Tricks To Help You Save
- 4 Life Skills Everyone Should Know That Could Save You Thousands
- 16 Shopping Tips To Help You Save Money
- 5 Tips To Help You Pay Off Your Debt Faster
- 8 Ways To Save Money On Housing Costs
- 12 Money Saving Tips To Cut Your Transportation Costs
- 12 Secrets To Getting The Best Deals On Subscriptions
- 7 Proven Ways To Save Money On Your Utility Bills
- 14 Money Saving Tips To Keep Your Food Budget Under Control
- 5 Ways To Stay Entertained For Less Money
- 3 Ways To Save By Earning Some Quick Cash
- 4 Ways To Save Money On Your Technology Purchases
- 5 Credit Card Tips To Help You Save Money
- 4 Ways To Save On Pet Costs
- 4 Ways To Potentially Lower Your Tax Burden
- The One Money Saving Tip That Could Change Your Life Forever
15 Ways To Better Manage Your Money
One of the keys to saving money is knowing what is going on in your financial life and how to manage your finances.
Use these tips to get a grip on managing your money.
Switch To A No Fee Bank Account
I don’t know why anyone uses bank accounts that charge outrageous fees. Today, there are many great alternatives including fee-free bank accounts. You just have to take some time to look around.
My favorite bank account is the one I personally use, Ally Bank. They don’t charge hardly any fees at all. However, if you’re looking to get a better interest rate than Ally offers, check out other online banks to see what’s out there.
If you aren’t comfortable banking online, local credit unions may be your best bet, although they may still charge fees.
Open A Targeted Savings Account
Phillip Taylor from PT Money suggests if you want to save for a specific goal, one of the best ways to get started is opening up a targeted savings account.
A targeted savings account allows you to set aside money for your big goal in a place you won’t be tempted to touch it for other uses.
This sounds simple, but many people who claim to be saving are just spending less. Your money needs a home. Open the home, a simple online savings account will do, and the void will be filled with saved money.
To take it to the next level, open an account for each major savings goal.
Use A Bank That Offers Free Checks
If you’re stuck in the stone age and still write checks on a regular basis or you’re like me and have to write a check from time to time, having checks on hand is a sad reality.
In fact, some people write checks so infrequently they have to look up how to write a check each time they do it.
But why pay for checks when there are banks that will give you free basic checks? My current bank, Ally Bank, will send me free basic checks whenever I ask for them.
I’ve honestly never used a whole book of checks before I end up moving, but updating my address on my checks for free does save me a bit of time versus correcting the information on the old checks.
Crystal Stemberger thinks automatic savings contributions is a great way to save money.
Personally, I think setting up automatic contributions is the best way to actually get money in your savings account. It is simply harder to spend money that you can’t see.
I’d suggest starting by contributing the minimum to your 401(k) to get the maximum company match. Then, work toward filling an emergency fund or take a look at opening a Roth IRA.
If you don’t qualify for a Roth IRA, think about saving automatically to a regular IRA or brokerage account.
Looking for a savings account that offers an amazing interest rate? Check out our review of our favorite high yield savings account.
Quit Paying ATM Fees
Why does anyone pay ATM fees when there are banks that will automatically reimburse most or all of your ATM fees for you?
I’m going to brag again about my bank, Ally Bank. Ally reimburses my ATM fees up to a certain limit. There are exclusions. For instance, I still have to pay ATM fees on cruise ships. But why pay to access your cash when you don’t have to?
If you don’t have an Ally Bank account, at least use ATMs in your network so you don’t get charged to take money out of the bank.
Invest As Inexpensively As Possible
Roger Wohlner from The Chicago Financial Planner urges people to invest as inexpensively as you can. Always be sure to invest in low-cost mutual funds and exchange-traded funds or use inexpensive index funds when you can.
If you decide to use actively managed funds, be sure that the fund expenses are reasonable. In some cases, you may have options as to which share class of a particular fund you invest in. Be sure to invest in the lowest cost share class available to you.
If you invest with a financial advisor, be sure that you understand all expenses and fees associated with this relationship. How is your advisor compensated? Do they make money through the financial products that you invest in?
While saving on investment costs may not show up in your monthly budget, the long-term impact on the amount of money you will accumulate for retirement or other financial goals can be staggering.
We’re easily talking tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over decades.
Stop Incurring Overdraft Fees
Overdraft fees are a stupid tax you pay for not being able to manage your money. These fees can be very expensive and normally are between $20 to $40 each time you spend more money than you have in your bank account.
If you go on a spending spree one day and make five transactions with no money in your account you could be out $200 just for not keeping track of your money.
Stop this stupidity. Know how much money you have in your bank account and don’t overdraft. With online banking and banking apps available on your smartphone, you have no excuse.
If you still can’t stop overdrafting your bank account, call up your bank and tell them you want to cancel overdraft protection. Then, when you would overdraft you’ll now just get declined.
Quit overdrafting on a regular basis and you could see a growing bank account in no time flat.
Pay Yourself First
Most people wait until the end of the month after they’ve spent a ton of money to determine how much is leftover to transfer to savings.
Normally this results in transferring little or no money into savings. Instead of waiting until the end of the month, transfer money into your savings as soon as you get paid.
This concept is called paying yourself first. While it may seem like you can’t make it until the end of the month when you first start paying yourself first, you’d be surprised just how far you can stretch what’s left in your bank account when you have to.
Track Every Penny of Your Spending
Glen Craig from Free from Broke thinks tracking every penny of your spending is an important way you can start saving money. After all, if you want to save money, you need to know where your money is going, right?
When you start tracking your spending, you’ll get an idea of what spending is important to you. After taking a look at what you’ve spent, you can then “trim the fat,” so to speak.
While you could track your spending with a spreadsheet or on paper, thankfully free tools such as Personal Capital exist that help you save time tracking your non-cash spending.
Set Up A Fun Money Budget And Quit Spending When It Is Gone
At the beginning of the month, decide as a family how much money will be set aside for fun and entertainment. When that money is gone, quit spending.
You’ll be surprised how much more thoughtfully you spend your fun money. In fact, you might even have some left over by the end of the month.
Use The Cash Envelope Spending System
Tracie Fobes of Penny Pinchin Mom advocates using the cash envelope spending system to save money. For this system, you’ll always need to use cash and you must use it correctly. You need to make yourself accountable.
Divide your spending into different categories. For each category, create an envelope and mark it with the name of the category. As you spend money, make sure to pay for each purchase with money from the correct category’s envelope.
When the cash is in an envelope is gone, you are done spending in that category. When all of the cash is gone, you’re done spending completely until your next payday.
The cash envelope system helps you stay within your budget and ensure that you are buying the things you really need.
This works especially well with grocery spending as you know you need to eat. You’ll think twice about splurging on the food you don’t really need to ensure you’ll have the cash to buy the food you really do need.
If you use cash and don’t force yourself to be accountable for your spending, it will be gone before you know it and you’ll have no idea what you’ve purchased. The cash envelope system fixes this problem.
Set Up A Charity Budget And Don’t Exceed It
There is always someone who needs help and you should help out as much as you are able to. The problem for some people is they can’t say no to anyone that asks for money. Instead, set up a yearly budget for charities and quit giving when the money is gone.
This will allow you to support the charities you feel need the most help while keeping your finances in good shape. You don’t have to feel bad for not being able to contribute more than you’ve set aside.
Prioritize Your Spending
It’s much easier to say no to a fancy new car if you know that you rather fully fund your Roth IRA.
If you know you absolutely adore your smartphone, maybe it will be easier to save elsewhere, like a magazine subscription you barely have time for.
Of course, you could also save money by switching your cell service provider. Republic Wireless offers service with unlimited talk and text for $15 per month plus $5 per GB. You can read our Republic Wireless review here.
Prioritization is key.
Review Your Expenses Regularly
Andrea Whitmer from Nuts and Bolts Media suggests reviewing your expenses on a regular basis so you can make sure you’re not wasting money on things you don’t use.
If you run a business of any kind, set a date on your calendar every 3-4 months to review your expenses and prune if necessary.
I’ve been guilty of signing up for subscriptions or services that I didn’t use enough to justify the cost, and my periodic reviews allow me to cancel them before I waste a lot of money.
Business and personal needs morph and change constantly, especially if you’re self-employed or run a small business, so it’s important to keep tabs on what you’re spending and how it contributes to your overall strategy.
Automatically Save Half Of Every Raise
Instead of letting your expenses grow whenever you get a raise, save at least half of every raise. Make sure to start saving part of your raise immediately so you don’t get used to having the extra money in your budget.
In the past, I’ve increased my retirement contributions whenever I got a raise, but saving the money anywhere is better than inflating your lifestyle mindlessly.
6 Mental Money Saving Tricks To Help You Save
Sometimes the biggest breakthroughs in managing your money can be from simple mental money tricks. Try out these ways to save money and see if they work for you.
Pretend Gas Is Expense And Save The Rest
David Ning from Money Ning offers a unique way to save. Remember when gas prices were approaching $4 per gallon? Try pretending that gas is $4 a gallon today and put the difference in savings every time you fill up.
Not only will your savings add up quickly, it’ll also help you drive less, and make the price fluctuations a little less emotionally taxing.
Ignore The Joneses
This tip is super hard, but if you can pull it off you’ll be in a much better financial position. The Joneses’ are your neighbors that seem to have everything.
What you don’t see is the Joneses either work really, really hard for what they have, they have massive amounts of debt, or they don’t have a penny of savings for their future.
Don’t focus on keeping up with everyone else. Instead, live your own life financially and do what is best for you.
Use the $2.00 Bill Trick
This tip is the brainchild of J Money from Budgets Are Sexy. Every time you go to the bank, ask the tellers how many $2.00 bills they have.
Then, no matter what their answer is, “buy” them all up and throw them in a shoe box or your other favorite hiding place.
You’ll never want to spend them because they’re so cool looking and you’ll probably feel funny handing them over to people.
They also make great stocking-stuffer gifts, as well as presents to children for birthdays or other special occasions. However, more importantly, it’s fun to save these up.
Only Get Cash In Large Bills
Studies have shown that using large bills will cause you to spend less. Why? People don’t like breaking big bills.
If you spend cash, try only getting $100 bills or $50 bills and see if it works for you, too.
Start A Change Or Small Bills Jar
Spending cash results in getting change, both in coin and bill form. Simply put all of your change in a jar and deposit it into your savings account once a month or year, depending on how quickly it fills up.
If you want to save even more money, put all $1 or $5 bills you get into the jar, as well.
Start Paying Attention, You’ll Automatically Do Better Financially
Harlan Landes from Adulting.tv shares his tip along with a personal story.
“One of the biggest revelations I had when I first realized I was headed for financial disaster was that I needed to stop ignoring my problems. I pushed anything bad under the rug to avoid feeling bad about my situation.”
“Once I started acknowledging the truth and started paying attention to my finances, it was so much easier to begin to move forward. Paying attention can be the first step towards a better financial life.”
4 Life Skills Everyone Should Know That Could Save You Thousands
There are certain skills you can learn that will help you for the rest of your life both financially and just in general. These tips will help you save money while improving and enriching your life at the same time.
Research Large Purchases For The Best Price
If you’re buying a large dollar item, make sure you perform enough research to make sure you’re getting the best deal on the product. Check local stores as well as online merchants to see if you can get a better price somewhere else.
Make sure to take into account any coupons you may be able to use at different stores as they can make a big difference on larger purchases.
Read Everything You Sign To Look For Hidden Fees
The small print is the place where many companies will hide tons of hidden fees, such as maintenance fees, early termination fees or excessive usage fees.
Make sure you’re aware of what you’re agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line.
Learn How To Do Simple Maintenance Tasks On YouTube
YouTube is a great resource for learning simple and even complicated tasks.
Next time you’re considering paying someone else to do to a task for you that you don’t think you know how to do, search for a video describing how to perform the task on YouTube.
You could be surprised how simple some tasks are that professional will charge you an arm and a leg for. I personally have learned how to completely replace a toilet, change my wife’s motorcycle oil and change the air filters in my car.
Trade Specialized Services With Friends, Family And The Community
Are you great at a specialized service that most people don’t know how to do such as completing tax returns?
If so, you might be able to barter what you’re good at to get help from people who offer a specialized service you need, such as car repair. It never hurts to ask and you could potentially save yourself some big bucks.
16 Shopping Tips To Help You Save Money
People spend money most frequently when they’re just out shopping around town or online. Use these tips to cut down on those purchases, or at least how much each purchase costs.
Small amounts saved multiple times can really add up over the long run if you make yourself learn good shopping habits.
Always Search For Promo Codes Before You Check Out
Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income advocates searching for promo codes before you check out. After all, one of the easiest ways to save money on a purchase you’re going to make anyway is a quick Google search for promo or coupon codes.
Before you checkout, simply Google search for the company name and promo codes or coupon codes. Try a few codes out and see how much money you can save.
If you’d rather have someone else do the work for you sign up for Honey. It’s an awesome browser extension that can automatically input all available promo codes and find the best one for your purchase.
Switch to Generic Medications
You should talk to your doctor before changing any of your medications, but switching to generic medication could be a big money saver.
Next time you’re at your doctor’s office ask them if switching to a generic version of your medication would be acceptable and if it could save you some money.
It’s important you ask your doctor, though, because the non-active ingredients may not be the same. You may be surprised how much you can save if your doctor approves of the switch.
We save a ton of money by buying non-branded over the counter drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, too.
Buy Quality Products
Have you ever bought the cheapest version of something thinking you’re being frugal and saving money? You might be throwing money away.
We bought a cheap ice cream scoop once, thinking that all ice cream scoops are the same. Less than a year later the ice cream scoop literally snapped in half.
We now make sure we buy quality items that will last instead of the cheapest item on the shelf.
Buy Only The Necessities For Newborns
Lena Gott from What Mommy Does has a tip for all future moms and dads. Expectant moms are constantly told by retailers what they must have for their newborns. The checklists that are given to you when you create a registry oftentimes contain many unnecessary items.
She recommends taking an experienced mom with you when you create your registry. This person should be able to tell you that soft wipes are a necessity, but a wipe warmer truly is not.
Make sure they’re a recent mom so they’re up to date on all of the latest health and safety recommendations as well as technology, too.
Stock Up On Items That Don’t Expire When They’re On Sale
If you see an item that doesn’t expire on sale at an amazing price, then you might want to stock up and buy enough of that product to last you a while.
Why pay higher prices when you’ll just need another of the same item next month when you can lock in the savings for an entire year?
Be careful with this tip, though. It can get out of hand and you can find yourself with so many razors that you’ll never need one again.
Also, make sure you’re really going to use the product in the future. You don’t need a year’s worth of razors if you’re going to grow a beard out next month.
Buy Holiday Items For Next Year Right After The Holiday
It is a funny phenomenon, but it happens after every holiday, every year. The day after the holiday, all items for that holiday go on sale at a major discount.
Use this to your advantage and stock up for next year’s holiday this year. Don’t buy items that will go bad, like Halloween candy, but feel free to get a new artificial Christmas tree at half off.
Unfortunately, selection will usually be limited to what others didn’t want or to items the store simply overstocked. If you absolutely must have a specific version of an item, you may not be able to wait until the after holiday discounts roll around.
Don’t Buy Extended Warranties If They Don’t Make Sense
It’s pretty common knowledge that extended warranties only work out because the person selling the warranty makes money on them overall, so I generally recommend against extended warranties.
That said, there are some rare cases where extended warranties make sense. Unless you’re in one of those situations, like buying a warranty on your cell phone when you know you break the screen once per year, never buy the extended warranty.
A cool tip that could help you avoid buying an extended warranty is some credit cards will add an additional year to the manufacturer’s warranty or double it, whichever is less, if you buy a product with that credit card.
Buy An At-Home Manicure Set Instead of Paying The Nail Salon
Andrea Travillian from Take a Smart Step has a tip for the ladies.
“Instead of getting a gel manicure at the salon and paying $50 to $60 each time, buy one of the at home sets. The sets run about $60 at Target for the initial set up, but you actually get 10+ manicures from that.”
“Not only does it save money, but it saves time. I can do my nails any hour of the day, and if one chips I can simply redo just the one nail. ”
Buy Baby Clothes and Equipment At Consignment Sales
Buying baby clothes and equipment new may be necessary in certain cases, like car seats, but many other items can be had at deep discounts if you buy used.
Sometimes groups of moms pool their entire baby and kid items together and sell them in one location. These events last anywhere from a few days to a week, and the last day of every sale is usually a discount day.
As a general rule of thumb, you can get baby clothes and other items like bouncy seats and pack and plays at 50% to 75% off retail price at these sales.
You can also check out local consignment shops, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for great deals. Just be sure that safety is your number one priority when buying used goods.
Quit Buying Lottery Tickets (Paying The Stupid Tax)
Lottery tickets have horrible odds. Yes, you may hit a winning ticket every once and a while, but you’re essentially lighting your money on fire over the long run.
I’ll admit that I have bought lottery tickets at times and I even won $100 on a $1 scratch-off ticket in college once. Regardless of my past results, the only reason to ever buy a lottery ticket is for entertainment value.
Never buy a lottery ticket expecting to come out ahead.
Cut Out Convenience Store Purchases
Whenever you’re buying something in a more convenient fashion, there is a great chance you’re paying more for an item than you could if you bought it elsewhere.
Don’t pay extra money for lack of forethought. Make sure you buy items at their best prices and don’t pay a premium for convenience on a regular basis.
Be Willing To Shop At Thrift Stores
When I was growing up I don’t remember shopping at thrift stores. However, when I went to college I discovered they were a great place to pick up quality items at discount prices.
You might be surprised what you can find at your local thrift store. I’ve found some great dress shirts and household items that were easily 90% off what I’d pay for a new version and they were in great shape.
Explore Free Options First
suggests checking to see if you can source an item for free any time you need something before you head straight to the store.
This tip can even work for food, too. You can look around for wild produce growing or barter with friends and family.
For other things, you can enter competitions and giveaways, check sites like freecycle or simply let family and friends know you are looking for something.
If you can’t get it for free, look for the most frugal way to obtain an item. You might be able to pick up the item second hand or find it on a sale.
However, make sure you aren’t simply going for the cheapest option. Instead, go for the frugal option. You might spend a little more on a better quality item, but it lasts longer than the cheapest option.
Don’t Go Window Shopping
People often want to get out of the house when they’re bored, my family included, and many times the first thought is to go to the local mall or outdoor shopping center just to look around.
Unfortunately, that’s how stores make money. People go “just to look” and say they “won’t buy anything” but they normally end up buying at least something in most cases.
Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to this practice. Don’t go window shopping and you won’t accidentally buy things that you would never have seen otherwise.
Buy Open Box Appliances and Electronics
If you’re not scared by a scratch on a dryer or no box with your new laptop, you might want to consider buying open box merchandise.
Open box items are usually merchandise returned by a customer because they didn’t like it or it didn’t meet their needs.
For instance, some people don’t measure their laundry rooms before they buy a dryer then figure out they can’t get it through the door and it ends up with a scratch. Now you can take advantage and buy that same dryer at a discount.
Never Pay for AA Batteries, Printer Paper, or Pens
When it comes to inexpensive office supplies, chances are you don’t actually have to pay for these items.
Instead, snag them for free at Staples or another big office supply store like Office Depot. These stores frequently run specials where you can get these items, and more, for free if you mail in a rebate form.
5 Tips To Help You Pay Off Your Debt Faster
Debt is the result of spending more money than you were earning at some point in the past. It is painful because you must use the money you earn now to pay for past financial mistakes.
On top of that, you have to pay even more than you originally charged thanks to those pesky interest charges. Use these tips to help you get rid of your debt and move on with your financial life.
Negotiate Better Credit Card Interest Rates
If you’re in the unfortunate position of being in credit card debt, you know the high-interest rates can make it difficult to pay off your credit cards quickly.
One way to save some money and pay them off faster is to give your credit card company a call and simply ask them to reduce your interest rate.
If the first representative can’t help you, ask to speak to their supervisor. If that doesn’t work, hang up and try calling a second time. Don’t get mad if the credit card company says no.
You can’t expect your credit card company to lower your interest rate just because you asked, but you might be surprised by the fact that some credit card companies will lower your interest rate simply by asking.
Take Advantage of Interest Rate Discounts For Setting Up Automatic Payments
Certain types of debt, such as some student loans, may offer a discount on your interest rate if you set up automatic payments. It might only be a .25% interest rate reduction, but every reduction is more money in your pocket.
Quit Paying Late Fees
Late fees are a complete waste of money. They are a penalty for your lack of attention to when your bills are due. Instead of paying late fees, make a system so that you never make a late payment again.
Whether your system involves putting monthly reminders in your calendar or writing a list of due dates on your whiteboard, find a system that works for you.
Pay Down Highest Interest Rate Debt First
If you really want to save money while paying off your debt, you need to pay off the highest interest rate debt first. This method, called the debt avalanche, will reduce the amount of interest you pay faster than other debt payoff methods.
However, the most efficient method isn’t always the best way to pay off debt.
If you’re more emotional with your money, it could make sense to try the debt snowball method. The debt snowball method requires paying off the loan with the smallest balance first even though it results in paying more interest.
Use 0% Promotional Offer Balance Transfer Credit Cards
If you’ve successfully sworn off incurring more credit card debt forever, using promotional 0% APR balance transfer offers could save you a ton of money in interest payments.
By transferring your higher interest rate debt to a 0% promo rate balance transfer credit card you can pay off the debt you owe without paying interest, but only if you pay it off before the promotional rate expires.
You should be aware that most cards charge a 3-5% balance transfer fee. That said, if you pay the debt off before the promo rate expires, you’ll probably save money versus paying a 19.99% or higher interest rate on your other credit card.
8 Ways To Save Money On Housing Costs
Housing is generally the biggest line item in almost everyone’s budget. So, it makes sense that you can get some big wins in this category.
Even though some of these tips seem like big changes, seriously consider them due to the large potential savings.
Learn How To Repair Your Home
When it comes to home repairs, don’t be afraid to try and fix things yourself.
Even if you aren’t the handy type, small jobs like fixing running toilets and patching drywall will often cost you over a hundred dollars if you hire a professional.
You owe it to yourself and your wallet to try and find a step-by-step guide online. At least give it an honest effort to do the work yourself. If things don’t turn out as planned, you can always hire a professional later.
Just make sure you don’t take on anything above your skill level. Some jobs that involve electricity, plumbing or HVAC systems might be better left to the professionals.
Refinance Your Mortgage
You could be missing out on some huge savings if you have a mortgage with an interest rate that’s higher than what is currently offered.
Interest rates change constantly, so make sure you check in every now and then to see if you could save money on interest payments by refinancing. Just a 1% difference in the interest rate could easily save you $100 or more per month in interest payments.
Make sure you don’t cash out any equity or extend the term of your mortgage or else you could easily wipe out any savings from a lower interest rate.
Downsize Your Housing And Your Housing Costs
Do you live in a house, apartment, condo or townhome that has empty space in it? Is there a room or multiple rooms that you haven’t set foot in for months?
If so, you may want to consider downsizing your housing situation. Whether you have to sell your house or move at the end of your lease, downsizing to a smaller housing situation could save you a ton of money.
Moving to a smaller home won’t just save you money on your mortgage or rent payments, it can save you money on your utility bills and insurance, too.
Get a Roommate
Don’t want to downsize but still have an empty room problem? A great way to save some money on your rent or mortgage payment is to get a roommate that’ll help pay the bills for you.
You could charge a flat fee for everything or charge rent plus a portion of the utilities. Either way, you’re taking advantage of extra space you aren’t using and getting paid for it.
Rent Out A Room On Airbnb.com
Don’t want a year-round roommate? Try renting out a room on airbnb.com for short periods of time. If you live in a vacation destination, you could earn quite a bit of money to stuff into savings without incurring a ton of extra costs.
Pay Your Rent In Advance
Ask your landlord if you can pay 3, 6 or 12 months of rent in advance in exchange for a discount.
Landlords love knowing that the rental income will come in, so paying in advance might get you a pretty sweet discount if you have the cash on hand.
Have Proper Insurance For Your Property (Renter’s Insurance, Homeowner’s Insurance, Flood Insurance, Etc)
Being properly insured may cost you a bit of money up front, but it can save you a ton of money should something horrible happen.
Know what each policy does and doesn’t cover. For instance, renter’s and homeowner’s insurance may not cover your belongings if your home floods.
Make sure you have proper insurance coverage and that your deductibles and coverage limits are proper for your situation. After all, if you’re overinsured you’re losing money.
By correcting your insurance coverage amounts based on your situation, you could save some serious dough.
Consider Relocating To A Lower Cost Area
If you live in an expensive part of the country, or even an expensive part of town, consider relocating to a lower cost area.
You might be stuck in the area of the country you currently live in, but you aren’t stuck in the neighborhood you live in. Moving across town could save you hundreds a month.
12 Money Saving Tips To Cut Your Transportation Costs
Transportation is often the second largest line item in any budget so you need to take these ways how to save money seriously, too.
These tips might not be the most popular suggestions, but they do have the opportunity to save you a lot of money over the long run. Just think how quickly these savings could add up over a year or a decade.
Move Closer To Work
If you decide to downsize your home, you might want to move closer to work at the same time. You’ll waste less time commuting to and from your workplace during the Monday through Friday grind.
If you move close enough you might be able to walk, bike or take public transportation to work and ditch that car that costs you thousands of dollars per year.
If you still drive to work after you move, at least you’ll save wear and tear on your car over time which adds up to big money. You’ll be saving money on gas, depreciation and potentially insurance, as well.
Get New Auto Insurance Quotes
Have you been with the best insurance company for many years? I thought I had the best insurance company, too. However, when I got married I decided to get quotes from the big insurance companies, including USAA, Geico, Progressive, State Farm and many more.
I was shocked to see that my insurance company no longer had the best rate. I’d save hundreds of dollars a year if I decided to switch. The same could happen to you.
Don’t Pay Fees For Monthly Auto Insurance Payments
Some insurance companies charge you for the convenience of paying for your car insurance in monthly installments rather than in once every six-month payments.
Quit paying fees. Save up for your six-month renewal in advance and you won’t have to pay these fees anymore.
Cut Down On Unnecessary Car Trips By Planning Trips
Cutting out unnecessary car trips will save you money both in gas money and car maintenance.
Instead of coming home from work and then going out to the store that was on your way home, just stop at the store on your way home. Instead of making 4 trips to 4 different stores each weekend, consolidate them into one trip.
Each time you cut down the number of miles you put on your car, you save money in multiple ways.
Bike Or Walk For Trips Close To Home
Instead of driving a mile down the road to pick up a Redbox movie for the night, ride your bike or walk. You’ll benefit from the exercise and your car will thank you for putting less stress on it. Short trips are the most stressful on your car.
Seriously Consider Public Transportation
If you live in a decent sized city with good public transportation, then you should definitely consider taking public transportation instead of constantly using your expensive cars.
In fact, if you live in a two-car household and you find you can rely on just one car and using public transportation you could save thousands of dollars a year in car payments, auto insurance, gas and maintenance.
Better yet, ditch all of the cars and solely rely on public transportation. It’ll even get you some exercise.
Follow Your Car Maintenance Schedule
Following your car maintenance schedule will ensure that you’re keeping your car in tip-top shape. Your car will last longer if you perform regular maintenance rather than just fixing things when they break.
Not following your car maintenance schedule can be a costly mistake, especially if you do something silly like never change your oil. The better shape you keep your car in will result in a higher sales price when you sell it, or a longer life if you plan on driving it until it dies.
Unload Your Car Trunk
This is an easy trick to increase your gas mileage. Remove all unnecessary items from your car trunk and the passenger area.
Don’t leave your set of golf clubs or other heavy items in your car just because you might need them once or twice a year. Less weight in your car means your car doesn’t have to work as hard to get up to speed.
Don’t take this to the extreme, though. You never want to remove necessary items such as a spare tire, jacks or jumper cables.
Properly Inflate Your Tires
This is another easy gas saving trick. Make sure to keep your car tires inflated to the proper tire pressure for optimal performance. In addition to saving money on gas, this should extend the life of your tires over improperly inflated tires. Tires are expensive and making sure the tire pressure is correct is easy.
Don’t Speed On The Highway
Speeding can be a triple whammy when it comes to your bank account. You’ll get worse gas mileage as you go faster on the interstate and you can get tickets from the police for speeding. On top of that, when you get a speeding ticket your insurance rates will go up.
Just don’t speed. Speeding likely isn’t worth the time you might save by getting to your destination faster.
Drive Your Car After Your Car Loan Is Paid Off
Andrew Schrage from Money Crashers offers up this tip that few too people follow. While you may be tempted to jump into a new car loan as soon as your car is paid off, you can save a ton by avoiding that urge.
If your car payment was $400 and you decide to keep your car for an additional year after it is paid off, you could have an extra $4,800 in your bank account. Your car will also cost less to insure over time, so you’ll enjoy some savings there, too.
Review Your Auto Insurance Coverage
When was the last time you paid attention to what type of coverage you have for your automobile insurance? If it has been many years and your car is now an old clunker, you might not need collision or comprehensive insurance anymore.
Comprehensive and collision coverage are often some of the more expensive parts of your insurance policy. If you have recently bought umbrella insurance, you might be able to lower your liability limits, too.
If you do have an umbrella insurance policy, make sure you keep at least the minimum limit allowable by your umbrella insurance policy.
12 Secrets To Getting The Best Deals On Subscriptions
Subscription services can be dangerous because we pay for them every month and often get desensitized to the cost. We feel like these services are necessary due to living with them for so long.
As you read through these tips, don’t just blow them off because the ideas make you uncomfortable. Think if these changes would really be as bad as you think they’d be.
Negotiate For Everything
This tip is so important it was recommended by two personal finance experts. First, Jim Wang from Wallet Hacks suggests you should negotiate everything as if you were a bootstrapping entrepreneur.
Would you just pay whatever the first company you get a quote from told you to pay if you had next to no money and were trying to get a business off the ground? Of course, you wouldn’t. You’d shop around and try to get a cutthroat rate so you could keep your business operating another day.
Why aren’t you doing that in your personal life? Negotiate everything.
Next up, Robert Farrington from The College Investor says you shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate, especially when it comes to services like cable, internet, and phone service.
Most of these companies have incentive pricing plans that they can offer you, but you have to ask for a lower price. Even if you already use these services, simply call and say you need a better rate. It’s pretty normal to get 20% discounts or more.
Downsize Your Cell Phone Plan
Do you an unlimited data plan but only use a few GB per month? An easy way to save would be to downgrade your plan from an expensive unlimited data plan to a more reasonably priced plan that includes just a few GB of data.
Make sure you don’t cut back too much because overage charges can be outrageous.
Cut The Contract Cell Phone and Get a Prepaid Phone
If you rarely use your phone for anything but the occasional phone call, you might be better off getting a prepaid cell phone. These only charge you for the minutes or texts that you use so you could save a ton.
Make sure you are aware of when and how your minutes, texts or data expire as it varies from company to company.
Switch To A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MNVO) To Save Big Bucks
Another cell phone option is to switch to an MVNO. MNVOs purchase the rights to use the network of one or more of the big four cell service providers so their service is just as good as the network they use.
My favorite MVNO is Republic Wireless, which can use the T-Mobile or Sprint network. Their plans are much cheaper, as low as $15 per month for unlimited minutes and texts plus $5 per GB of data.
They’re so cheap because they try to direct all of your calls, text and data over Wi-Fi and use the cell towers as their secondary connection method.
Don’t Want To Negotiate? Have Someone Else Negotiate For You
Bob Lotich from SeedTime shares this tip that is one of his favorites. Believe it or not, multiple companies are willing to negotiate your bills on your behalf. Basically, they are a bill discount service. All you do is send them your bills and they call your providers and negotiate better rates on your behalf.
You then split the savings with them. In most cases, these companies charge a percentage of the savings you’ll get based on their negotiated rates. In many cases, they don’t charge you at all if they can’t get a lower rate.
Cut The Landline Phone
Do you still have a landline telephone? If so, how often do you really use it? Could you instead use your cell phone, Skype, or another option for your phone call needs?
If you can cut the landline, you’ll not only save on the phone portion of your bill, but you’ll also save money in multiple phone taxes.
Challenge Yourself To Live Without Cable For 30 Days
While cutting the cable cord is a daunting thought for many people, it’s easier than ever to find the shows you want to watch for much cheaper elsewhere. Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu are all easy replacements that are much cheaper.
By committing to cutting the cord for just 30 days, you don’t limit yourself to thinking it is a permanent change. If things go well, you don’t have to reconnect your service and you get to save a ton of cash.
However, if you’re miserable without cable there is a light at the end of the tunnel saying you can reconnect on day 31. Most people who give up cable never go back.
Consider Bundling If You Must Have Cable
If you must have cable, consider bundling services with your internet and potentially your landline telephone, too. You might be surprised how adding a very basic version of another service could save you money versus just having one service from the company.
Just watch out and cancel the extra services or renegotiate your discount when the promotional rates expire.
Don’t Pay Cable Modem Fees – Buy Your Own
I have cable internet, but my internet company wanted to rent me a modem for $11 per month which is crazy talk. Instead, I bought a cable modem myself that only cost $100.
The modem I bought paid for itself in less than a year and I’m still saving money today. Yes, I have to upgrade it every few years, but I’m still saving money overall.
Cancel Unused Subscriptions – Gym, Magazines, etc
Take a look at your credit card bills and bank statements. Do you see any recurring charges that hit your statement once a month, quarter or year? Are you actually using these services or products that these charges represent?
If you haven’t been to the gym in months but are still paying a monthly fee, cancel it. Same thing with that magazine that you never read. Don’t renew the subscription or cancel as soon as you can to save even more.
Canceling subscriptions is an easy way to save money in your monthly budget. If you redirect that money into a savings account with an automatic transfer, you might be surprised how much you can save.
Get Rid Of Your Storage Unit
When is the last time you went and got something out of your storage unit? Never? Exactly. Why waste $50 to $100+ a month storing stuff you’ll never ever use again?
Keep the sentimental stuff and get rid of everything else. Quit paying rent for junk you’ll never use again.
Review Every Bill For Billing Errors
The companies you do business with might not always have your best interests in mind. They do their best to send you accurate bills, but everyone makes mistakes, especially Comcast. Make sure you aren’t one of those mistakes.
Check your bills every month to see if they billed you according to what you had agreed upon. Sometimes companies will raise rates or forget to honor an agreement they made with you in the past. When that happens, give the company a call before you pay your bill to get it straightened out.
7 Proven Ways To Save Money On Your Utility Bills
Energy and utility costs are often seen as a necessity in our current lifestyles. The amount of your energy and utility bills doesn’t have to be as high as it likely is though.
Use these tips to make your energy and other utility use much more efficient to save some money over the long run.
Use Budget Billing Arrangements
Joe Saul-Sehy from Stacking Benjamins loves budget billing. Here’s what he has to say about it.
“For me, the key to a successful budget has always been about knowing how much money I can save. If I have to leave extra money in the checkbook for “just in case” items, less gets saved. So, any time I can level expenses for the month, I’ll do it.”
“Signing up for a budget billing program is a no-brainer, as is a weekly budget for groceries and allowances for extras. Fewer surprises in my weekly budget mean I can safely dedicate more toward the savings account.”
If you want to learn more about budget billing, check out our post about that answers the question should you use budget billing for your utility bills?
Turn The Thermostat Up Or Down Depending On The Season
According to my local power company, each degree you set your thermostat below 78 degrees in the summer will result in using 10% more electricity. That’s a lot of power you can easily save and turn into big savings on your utility bill.
Similarly, during the winter you can save money by setting your thermostat at a lower temperature and wearing warmer clothing around the house. The savings can add up quickly.
Get A Programmable Thermostat
If you have a predictable schedule, a programmable thermostat can probably save you a decent amount of money.
During the winter, simply program your thermostat to be a couple degrees cooler at night or while you’re at work. During the summer, set your thermostat a couple degrees warmer when you aren’t home and your expensive air conditioning system won’t run as often.
Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
If you’re still using the old incandescent light bulbs then you’re burning up cash every time your light bulbs are on. Consider this:
- A 60-watt incandescent light bulb will cost about $6.60 in energy per 1,000 hours.
- A 60-watt equivalent CFL light bulb will cost about $1.43 in energy per 1,000 hours.
- A 60-watt equivalent LED light bulb will likely cost less than $1.00 in energy per 1,000 hours.
The savings in energy alone is clear. When you add the savings from not having to replace your light bulbs as often, you might be shocked by just how much you can save simply from light bulbs.
While energy efficient light bulbs inside your home make sense, that isn’t always the case when it comes to Christmas lights.
Get An Energy Audit From Your Electric Company
Most electric companies offer an amazing service for free that can save you thousands of dollars on your energy bills. This service, called an energy audit, has an electric company representative come out to your home and inspect it for energy leaks.
They’ll write up a report to tell you their findings and make suggestions like increasing the insulation in your attic, re-caulking your windows, replacing your ancient air conditioner or adding weather stripping to your doors.
Following just a few of the cheaper items on their list has the potential to save you a lot of money on your utility bills.
Change Or Clean Your Air Filters Regularly
Air conditioning is one of the biggest uses of electricity in your house. If your air filter is dirty, chances are your system is not getting the air flow it needs to cool your home as quickly as it otherwise could.
By simply cleaning a reusable air filter or replacing a disposable filter, you can get your air conditioner the air it needs and your system won’t run quite as long. Additionally, the system will be under less stress, allowing it to last longer before you have to replace it.
Open Your Windows
When it is nice outside, quit running your air conditioner. Instead, open up the windows. Let the fresh air and gentle breeze cool your home.
Just make sure the temperature outside is what you really think it is. Sometimes, the real outside temperature can be deceiving so make sure to use a thermometer.
14 Money Saving Tips To Keep Your Food Budget Under Control
Between buying groceries, dining out and special occasions with big meals, food costs can really add up if you aren’t paying close attention to your budget. Use these tips and tricks to cut down on your food costs.
Drink Water At Restaurants
Beverages are an expensive item when eating out, especially if you have children. Sodas are easily $2 to $3 or more at sit down restaurants. If you feel like bribing your kids, you can offer them $1 each to drink water and you’ll likely still save a couple bucks.
To make things even better, albeit slightly, it also saves from having to tip on the beverages. Finally, the money you pay your kids turns into their spending money. That’s what I call a win-win.
Use Coupons But Don’t Extreme Coupon
I believe you can save a ton of money by using coupons without extreme couponing. Simply flip through the paper and cut out whatever you think you might need to buy in the next few weeks.
If you don’t use the coupon it isn’t a big deal, but if you do you just saved a couple bucks. You can look for coupons in stores and online, too. For instance, I always look for and use coupons when I’m buying allergy medication because it saves me at least $2 to $6 each time.
The best part is, it takes only about a minute or two of effort at most.
Switch To Store Brand Foods
One of my favorite tips is to switch from national brand food items to store or non-branded food items.
If you end up not liking the generic, you can switch back to the brand name. If you do like the generic just as much as you liked the name brand then you just saved a ton of money going forward.
Shop By Price Per Unit
Next time you’re at the store, look for pricing by unit rather than price for the item as a whole. You may be shocked to learn that buying a smaller size of something might be cheaper than buying the large version.
The better deal will differ based on what you’re buying, but this can save you quite a bit over the long haul. You can also calculate the price per item or price by ounce easily on your smartphone. You’re paying a lot for that phone so you might as well use it to save money.
Quit Throwing Away Food By Eating Your Leftovers
Do you throw away food on a regular basis? You might as well be burning dollar bills for fun. Quit trashing your leftovers and make a plan to eat them.
Whether you eat the same meal two nights in a row at home or you take leftovers from last night’s dinner for lunch, eating leftovers has the potential to save you big bucks on your grocery bill.
Put Your Grocery Receipts On The Fridge
People waste a ton of money throwing out food. You can avoid this by simply cutting back on the amount of food you forget about in the fridge. Use your receipts as a reminder to eat what you bought before it goes bad. When you finish a food item, simply cross it off of your receipt.
Quit Buying In Bulk
Do you buy ketchup at Costco? They only sell giant three bottle packages last I checked. Chances are unless you eat ketchup on everything, one or two of those bottles won’t be any good by the time you get around to using them.
Only buy in bulk when it makes sense, not just because you think you’re getting a great deal. If you throw out food you bought in bulk because you can’t consume it or get sick of it before it goes bad, just buy in regular quantities and you’ll likely save money.
Drink Sodas Or Alcohol Before Going Out
Everything is insanely marked up at restaurants, but the one thing that always gets to me is soda and alcohol prices. I don’t want to pay $2.50 for a glass of soda that I could buy for a quarter at the grocery store.
The same thing goes for the weak drinks you get at many restaurants. I drink my soda and alcohol at home and save a ton of money by doing so. I’m dining out for the meal, not for the drinks. Just make sure to have a designated driver if you’re drinking before you go out.
Reduce How Often You Eat At Restaurants Or Quit Completely
Dining out is a major money suck for the majority of Americans. A great way to save in this category is to reduce how many times a month you dine out at restaurants.
Another option is to eat at less expensive restaurants. As you wean yourself off of dining out, slowly continue to reduce your dining out budget until you can get rid of it altogether.
Bring Your Lunch To Work
Want to save a massive amount of money this year? Instead of eating lunch out 5 days a week at work, bring your lunch. You can easily save $5 to $10 a day or over $1,000 a year with this one tip alone.
Need some lunch ideas? You can take last night’s leftovers, make special meals for your lunches or pack a sandwich and bag of chips. Whatever you bring, make sure it is something you want to eat so you don’t find yourself leaving your bag lunch at work and going out to eat anyway.
Quit Drinking Bottled Water
Bottled water is extremely expensive considering you can get water at a fraction of the cost out of your tap. If you’re worried about your tap water, you can buy a water filtration system and still save money compared to drinking bottled water.
Give it a shot, best case you save some money. Worst case, you go back to buying bottled water by the case.
Quit Buying Lattes And Make Your Own Coffee
Speaking of convenience, quit buying those lattes on the way to work every morning. Instead, drink the free coffee from work or make a cup of coffee before you leave in the morning.
If the quality isn’t quite the same, buy better coffee. It’ll still be cheaper than having someone else make your cup of coffee for you every morning.
Only Shop On The Perimeter of Grocery Stores
Have you ever noticed that all of the fresh food is on the outside of the grocery store and all of the processed food is in the middle? By simply sticking to the outside of the grocery store, rather than the aisles, you’ll save a ton of money and eat much healthier, too.
Shop With A List To Avoid Impulse Purchases
You’ll end up saving money in two ways by shopping with a list. Making a grocery list and sticking to it can save you a ton of money on impulse food purchases at the grocery store. Planning what you need ahead of time will reduce the amount of food you throw out, too.
While creating a list can be a bit of a pain, it’s well worth it considering the money you stand to save.
5 Ways To Stay Entertained For Less Money
People love spending money on fun, but sometimes it can get a bit out of hand. Use these tips to rein in your entertainment spending if you think your entertainment budget is a bit higher than it should be.
Take A Staycation Instead Of A Vacation
Instead of heading out of town and spending thousands of dollars on your next vacation, stick around your hometown and save money on travel and lodging.
You can still dine out for every meal and check out the fun things to do around your town, but you’ll be able to take your vacation at a much-reduced cost.
Quit Buying Books – Use The Library Instead
Reading is a great hobby and an awesome way to learn. A cheaper way to take part in this hobby, instead of buying every book you want to read, is to borrow books from your local library.
It is almost always free to be a library member if you’re a resident of the area. Being a library member means you don’t have to buy books just to read them once and have them sit on a shelf for years.
Save yourself some money and just borrow the book instead of buying it. If it is a must-have, multiple read book, then go ahead and buy it after you found out you loved it. You can still save some money by picking up a used copy on Amazon.
Invite Your Friends Over For A BYOB Night Instead Of Going Out On The Town
If you enjoy partying but don’t enjoy the expensive alcohol at the clubs and bars, why not turn your house into the party spot for the weekend? Have your friends bring their own booze and turn the music up at home.
Explore Free Entertainment In Your Town – Museums, Beaches, Local Parks
Instead of spending money entertaining yourself on the weekends you should try looking into the free activities around your community. Locally, I have a ton of free options including beaches, parks and even some festivals depending on the weekend.
There is likely a local schedule of events that you can find in a newspaper, on your city’s website or on your local news station’s website. Check them out and see what you might be interested in doing for free.
Wait For Movies To Go To The Dollar Theater
Rather than going to see a movie as soon as it comes out at the regular theater, wait until it comes to your local cheap or dollar theater. We have a local theater that only costs $2 per ticket and we save a ton of money by simply waiting a couple of months to go see a movie.
3 Ways To Save By Earning Some Quick Cash
Need to add some money to your savings account quickly? You probably aren’t alone. Try these quick tips to raise some quick cash.
Sell Items For Maximum Value
It’s definitely easier to go donate items to goodwill, but if you’re looking to save or in this case earn a little more money, try to sell the item. Do some research to find the true value of your item. Do your best to sell it for as close to the true value as possible.
Selling items quickly is easier than ever thanks to websites like craigslist.org and Facebook’s Marketplace.
Sell The Contents Of Your Storage Unit
Instead of just giving away everything in your storage unit, sell the stuff in your unit or find a place for it in your house by selling something else. This will give you some income up front and you’ll save money from now on by ditching the storage unit, too.
Have A Garage Or Yard Sale
Take some of the junk filling up your house and sell it at a garage or yard sale. If you haven’t touched an item in months and you can’t think of a reason why you need it, it might be a treasure to someone else and make you some money to put into savings.
4 Ways To Save Money On Your Technology Purchases
Technology has started to run our lives over the last few years. These are costs that our parents didn’t have to worry about as much as we have to today. Use these tips to save money on your technology wants.
Get 90% Off A New Computer
Greg Go of Wisebread has a hack that can keep you from upgrading your computer and save you a ton of money. Before buying a new computer, consider upgrading the RAM instead.
Upgrading RAM will give you most of the speed benefits of a new computer at 10 percent of the cost. It’s easy. If you can snap two pieces of LEGOs together, you can upgrade your RAM.
Use this simple scanning tool to figure out what RAM you need. I’ve personally used this tool to upgrade the RAM in my wife’s Mac Mini and it worked perfectly.
Don’t Upgrade To The Newest iPhone
I’ve never had the latest and greatest cell phone. Instead, I stay at least one generation behind the newest generation of cell phones. This keeps my device cost low and I still get a huge upgrade over my last phone.
There isn’t a huge difference between the latest phone and the one just one generation behind it so why would you pay $200+ just to be an early adopter?
Buy Other Technology That Is One Cycle Out Of Date
Just like with iPhones, you can save a ton of money on other technology purchases. Whether you’re buying an iPad, a MacBook or a simple PC Laptop, staying one generation behind will save you hundreds and you won’t miss what you haven’t experienced.
Your Kids Don’t Need A Cell Phone – Get A WiFi Device
Every day I hear about kids getting cell phones, some as early as elementary school. This is absurd to me, but I know the times have changed.
Instead of giving your child an expensive cell phone, try buying a WiFi device that will still allow texting, but doesn’t come with an expensive monthly plan that includes minutes, texting and data. Free apps like Text Plus allow free texting over WiFi.
5 Credit Card Tips To Help You Save Money
Credit cards offer a lot more than meets the eye, but they can also be a very dangerous tool. As long as you never carry a balance on your credit card, use these tips to get the most out of your credit card.
Put Your Credit/Debit Card In Ice… Literally
If you have trouble with impulse purchases this tip is for you. Go grab your credit card and a large plastic cup. Insert your card in the bottom of the cup and then fill it with water and stick it in your freezer.
In order use your credit card for an impulse purchase you now have to wait for the ice to thaw. The thawing process should give you enough time to let the impulse disappear so that you can evaluate whether the purchase is really a need or just a want that can wait.
Be Aware Of And Use Your Credit Card Benefits
Credit cards offer more than just rewards or cash back. Take a look at the services your credit card offers. You might be surprised at what you find. Some cards offer rental car insurance, price protection, replacement of items that break shortly after you buy them or extended warranties.
Use A Rewards Credit Card (Only If You Don’t Have Credit Card Debt)
First off, never carry a balance on your credit card, ever. That said, using rewards credit cards is an easy way to earn cash back on your everyday purchases.
Some rewards credit cards pay as much as a flat 2% cash back on all purchases. Other credit cards offer 5% or 6% cash back in particular categories. Either way, you’re getting at least a small discount just by changing your payment method.
Never Pay For A Credit Report Or Credit Score
Instead of paying for your credit report, check out annualcreditreport.com to get your free credit reports. You’re allowed one free report from each reporting bureau each year.
You can also get free credit reports and scores from sites like Credit Sesame and Credit Karma. The scores these sites offer are very close approximations of FICO scores, but they aren’t the exact same thing.
If you want a free FICO score, check with the credit cards you currently have. Chances are one will offer you your score for free.
Ditch The Fee Laden Prepaid Debit Card
Prepaid debit cards are notorious for the insane fees they charge you. They may charge you to load your debit card with money, they may charge you to check your balance, they may charge you to withdraw money from an ATM and they may even charge you for transactions.
Ditch the prepaid debit card and pay cash, get a bank account or, if you can handle it, get a credit card and never carry a balance.
4 Ways To Save On Pet Costs
Pets bring great joy to the lives of many, but they can be expensive. Use these tips to save money on your pets.
Don’t Have Pets
I might catch some flack for this but it is a huge money saver. Simply don’t have pets. We have a dog and we’re definitely not going to get rid of her to save money. However, if money is tight, you don’t want to go out and get more pets.
Don’t Overfeed Your Pets
This tip is a two for one money saving tip. By feeding your pets the correct amount of food, you’ll save a ton of money on pet food, but you’ll benefit in other ways, too.
Your pets probably won’t be overweight if you feed them the correct amount, so you can potentially save money from vet visits due to injuries from your pet being overweight. These injuries can be even more pronounced in certain dog breeds that don’t handle extra weight well.
Feed Your Pet Quality Food
Quality food may be more expensive up front. That said, if it helps to keep your pet healthier, then you won’t have to make some potentially expensive vet visits down the road.
Pet Proof Your Home
Pets are a joy to have around the house, but if they find things they shouldn’t have you’ll have an expensive vet bill to fix the problem.
My parents found this out when their dog almost died after ingesting a sago palm tree seed. They’re lucky she didn’t die like most dogs do, but it cost them several hundred dollars to save her life.
Remove items that are poisonous to animals from your home and make sure they can’t get into things they shouldn’t consume.
4 Ways To Potentially Lower Your Tax Burden
I don’t know many people that like paying taxes, but they’re a fact of life.
Properly Adjust Your Tax Withholding To Quit Getting Tax Refunds
This doesn’t technically save you any money, but it can increase your cash flow. If you get a large tax refund every year you might want to change your withholding from your paychecks so that your large tax refunds turn into larger paychecks each week.
The extra cash flow could help you when you’re running on a tight budget.
Contribute More To Your 401(k) To Reduce Your Tax Liability
A great way to reduce your expenses is to reduce your tax bill. The money you contribute to your 401(k) often reduces your taxable income which will also reduce the amount of tax you either have to have withheld from your paychecks or the tax you pay in estimated tax payments.
Of course, you will have to pay taxes on this money when you withdraw it from your 401(k), but hopefully, that’s a long time down the road.
Use A Flexible Spending Account Or Health Savings Account
If you pay federal taxes, have qualified healthcare costs and an eligible health insurance plan, then you might want to take advantage of these tax-free accounts.
There are rules and regulations on what you can spend money on, but you can save a decent amount of money on your taxes by doing some pretty easy tax planning with these accounts. Contact your benefits department or tax preparer to see if these are an option for you.
Keep An Eye Out For Tax Credits In Your State
This tip is from Deacon Hayes of Well Kept Wallet. State tax credit could potentially save you money on your state income tax bill.
According to Hayes, “In Arizona, there is a Private School Tuition program that is a dollar-for-dollar tax credit. How it works is that you write a check to a private school and the state government gives you the entire amount back at tax time, assuming you owe state taxes.”
Each state has their own tax rules. Make sure to check with your state to see if you qualify for any state tax credits that could lower your state income tax bill.
The One Money Saving Tip That Could Change Your Life Forever
Making The Mental Shift From Spender To Saver
Finally, the very last but most important tip in my mind is from Todd Tresidder from Financial Mentor.
The absolute key to saving more has nothing to do with the “to-do” items in this article because becoming a saver is an internal shift: you must make saving a higher priority in your life than current consumption. Your savings goals need to become more important to you than your lifestyle goals.
When you shift your internal priorities then your external actions (to-do items) naturally follow. All the other points in this article such as paying yourself first, eliminating or reducing periodic payments like your gym membership or cable bill, and maximizing your 401(k) contributions all happen as the result of this internal shift about what your true priorities are.
When you make the internal shift first, it makes saving money as easy as swimming downstream or riding a bike with the wind at your back. When you try to implement all the savings tips without making the internal shift first you are setting yourself up for failure.
I hope these money-saving tips above have helped you come up with some ways you can save money.
Pick a few that work best for you and enact them in your everyday life. Then, once you have mastered those tips, come back to this post and pick a couple more. Make sure to pin this post for future reference.
One last thing. If you find this resource insanely useful, which I hope you did, please share it with your friends and family or anyone else you can think of that would use it.
Pin the picture at the top or bottom of the post to Pinterest. Share this post on Facebook or tweet it on Twitter. Bookmark this post to come back to later. I’d really appreciate it!
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Lance Cothern, CPA holds a CPA license in Indiana. He’s a personal finance, debt and credit expert that writes professionally for top-tier publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, Credit Karma, Business Insider and more.
Additionally, his expertise has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Kiplinger, Reuters, CNBC and more.
Lance is the founder of Money Manifesto. He started writing about money and helping people solve their financial problems in 2012. You can read more about him and find links to his other work and media mentions here.