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38 Money Saving Tips You Can Not Afford to Miss (Part 1)

Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves
Are you looking for some easy ways to save money?  If so, I have 38 suggestions that will put you on the right track.  Enjoy the first 25 of these money saving tips and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment section.  Also, don’t forget to come back for part 2, #26 – 38 More Easy Ways to Save Money.

Easy Ways to Save Money

1. Unplug appliances
There’s a common misconception that we’re only using energy when an appliance is in use.  That’s far from true.  Up to 40% of energy costs in a home are accumulated by items that are turned off.  This concept is called a phantom load and the culprits are called energy/electricity vampires.  The usual suspects are TVs, video games, DVD players, computers, stereos, chargers, lamps, kitchen appliances. Try plugging these items into a power strip so that you can unplug them all from the outlet at once when not in use. Of course you do NOT want to turn your refrigerator off at anytime.

2. Make your own coffee
As a self-professed Starbucks junkie, this one is hard.  Unfortunately one of the best money saving tips for coffee lovers is to DIY.  The costs of getting your morning coffee from a coffee shop are outrageous. I cut back my expenses by more than $ 400.00 per year by simply fixing my own cup of joe. It’s nice to stop for coffee sometimes, but save money by breaking the daily habit.

3. Keep the doctor away
There is only one surefire way to dramatically reduce the amount of money you spend on health care—take better care of yourself.  You can save thousands of dollars with basic preventive measures like eating fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking water and herbal tea, exercising regularly and keeping your immune system at optimal levels.

4. Restaurant gift certificates
If you like to dine out, a great money saving resource is restaurants.com.  I signed up for their mailing list and I’ve had the pleasure of buying $ 20.00 gift certificates for as little as $ 4.00.  There’s a minimum purchase with every gift certificate, but it’s still easy to save a bundle using this method. Warning: don’t use this as an excuse to dine out excessively.

5. Create responsible young adults
If you have teenagers or college-aged children, let them learn the value of a dollar while easing up the strain on your bank account. Designer clothes, sunglasses and purses are not necessities.  The same goes for video games, ipods and other cash guzzlers.  If they want it, they can earn the money to pay for it. You’ll save money and they’ll learn to manage money before they’re old enough to drive themselves into bankruptcy.

6. Get your hands dirty
Every store relies on us to be too busy, lazy or stubborn to get our hands dirty. Don’t give in!  Instead of buying everything precut, prepackaged or precooked, do the work yourself.  The chicken breasts don’t need to be boneless and skinless when you buy it.  All you need is a knife and a few minutes to save yourself $ 2.00 per pound. This same principle applies to car washes and other services that you (and your spouse/children) can handle.

7. Water with lemon, please
In addition to dining out less often, you can save money by ordering water instead of beverages whenever you do dine out.  For a family of four, you’ll save about $ 8.00 by eliminating sodas and 3 times that much by foregoing wine and beer.  If you’re a wine, beer or soda lover, enjoy it at home for a mere fraction of the costs.

8. Catch the bus or car pool
It’s no secret that gas prices are out of control.  Many people who drive back and forth to work each day spend over $ 3000.00 per year on gas alone.  A great way to save money and help the environment is to use of public transportation or, at the very least, carpool with someone else who wants to save some cash.

9. Cut back on disposables
Disposables are a nightmare to your budget. Whether it’s razors, plates and cups, cleaning wipes, menstrual products, paper towels, contacts or diapers—they keep you racing back to spend more of your hard earned money.  But why?  There are great alternatives to pretty much everything disposable.  Just remember, convenience isn’t everything when you’re trying to save money.

10. Enjoy safe, filtered water for less
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who buys bottled water, this one tip will save you several hundred dollars per year.  You need to make two investments.  The first is an NSF certified water filter and the second is a reusable, stainless steel water bottle.  The water filter may cost $ 100.00, but it will save you thousands more over your lifetime.

11. Cash over debit
We all love our debit cards, but they absolutely slaughter our bank accounts and make it hard to stick to a budget.  Instead of swiping that card for purchases, start carrying cash in envelopes that are labeled for their intended use.  For example, you’ll have an entertainment envelope that includes the amount of money you’ve budgeted for movies and dining out.  When it’s empty, it’s empty.

12. Talk with creditors
If you have debt that you’re having a hard time paying off, do your best to make negotiations with creditors. You’ll be surprised how flexible they can be when you ask.  Reducing a high interest rate on a credit card balance can literally save thousands per year.

13. Delay gratification
You can’t save money if you don’t find a way to resist impulse shopping.  Make a commitment to hold off for 24 hours on anything unnecessary that you want to purchase.  This will give you time to get away from the sales person and to rethink any excuses you’ve made up to justify the purchase.  The next day, you’ll likely realize that you’re better off paying a bill or adding to your savings instead of using that money to upgrade your phone, replace your furniture, or buy that new 3D television.

14. Don’t blindly trust the travel agent
We all need to get away sometimes, so it’s important to realize that you don’t have to give up traveling in order to save money.  You just want to travel smarter, and more economically. Your travel agent’s prices may not always be the best deal, so save yourself hundreds of dollars by doing your own research.

15. Stop hosting alone
So you like to entertain?  It’s wonderful to have family and friends around, but they won’t disown you just because you’re being more responsible with money.  If they do, they don’t deserve your kinship.  Talk to the people closest to you about chipping in to share the responsibilities.  Beverage, food and decoration costs can be split between several people.  Another great way to save money is to have potluck style gatherings.

16. Buy gently used
Think you’re above second-hand shopping? Get over it! Many people are catching on to the benefits of buying gently used appliances, gadgets and apparel.  Think about what it is that you’re after.  If it’s the high of getting something brand new, you’ll need to deal with that through soul searching or counseling.  If, on the other hand, what you want is the usage of the item you’re interested in; consider buying it from a thrift store, garage/estate sale or consignment store.  You can also find used items online at ebay.com, amazon.com and many other sites.

17. Generic/Off brands
A can of green beans is a can of green beans.  Ibuprofen is ibuprofen.  Nonetheless, DelMonte, Motrin and other brand names make a fortune from people who love their name brands. Do yourself (and your bank account) a favor by opting for off brands or generic substitutes when possible.  Not everything generic is the same, but you can check out the labels to see if there is any significant difference other than the price.

18. Buy seasonal food in season
It will cost more for the grocery store to have strawberries brought in from a place that has warm climate in the middle of December; and they will pass the cost on to you. If you want to save money, you can’t just follow your instincts and taste buds.  Buy seasonal foods when they are “in season” and leave the premium costs to someone who doesn’t mind paying them.

19. Buy clothes at the end of season
While you want to buy food in season, the opposite is true for apparel.  You’ll save hundreds by simply replenishing your wardrobe close to the end of a season. When the snow is melting and Spring is closing in, stores begin slashing prices on winter boots, coats and other items.  The same is true for every other season. Just sweep in at the right time and you’ll get the ultimate money-saving discounts.

20. Switch banks
All banks have fees and many of them seem outrageous; however, some are worse than others.  Take the time to compare your banks fees and policies to others in your area.  Go with the one that works best for you.  Also, look at whether or not you can opt out of overdraft. This means that if a transaction comes through and you don’t have the funds, the item won’t be paid and you won’t be charged the ridiculous fees that suck your account drier than it was in the first place.

21. Plan meals around sales
First of all, never ever ever ever go into the grocery store without a list.  Second, plan your meals and create your list based on what is on sale in your weekly sales ads.  If beef isn’t on sale this week, hold off on that tenderloin recipe until next week’s ads come in.

22. Raise your deductible
If your insurance deductible is less than $ 500, you’re paying a hefty premium.  I know you don’t want to shell out too much money in the event that you wreck your car or set your kitchen on fire, but you’re paying for it over and over right now.  A better idea is to raise your deductible to $ 500 or $ 1000, which allows you to save on the insurance amount you pay each term.  Put that amount aside in an emergency savings account, so you’ll have it in the event of an insurance claim.  Now think of how much money you’ll save during the many years that you’ll pay for insurance.

23. Choose your pharmacy wisely
The costs of prescription medications are absolutely appalling, but the pharmacy you shop at may make that bad situation so much worse.  If you take any medication on a regular basis, call around to find out the cost of the drug at various pharmacies.  Check the pharmacy at your grocery store, drug store, and even Walmart.  The difference in price for the exact same drug will surely shock you, but all you need to do is transfer to the pharmacy that lets you save the most money.  **Note: Target has great deals with many of the pharmaceutical companies, so give them a try.

24. Buy less bulk
Buying in bulk is a money saving option for many families, but it’s a waste of money to purchase perishables in bulk when you have a small household?  You don’t save any money if you buy so much that it goes to waste, so buy only as much as you can use.

25. Sell what you can
Remember that saying, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”  Well, don’t forget that when it comes to your unused items.  Go through everything that you have and take out whatever you haven’t used in the last 6 months.  Don’t waste time coming up with reasons why you just might need it someday. If it has any value at all, plan to sell it online, at a garage sell, in a local publication or at the nearest pawnshop.  Add the money to your savings account or to a debt payment.

It’s comment time.  So, do you think you will use any of these money saving tips to help you save money?  Can you think of any other easy ways to save money?  Your comments are welcome.

Don’t forget to come back for Part 2, Money Saving Tips #26 – 38.

Photo credit: Mukumbura

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