Easy Ways To Save Money

There is no denying the fact that saving money is easier said than done. But as the saying goes ‘Nothing is impossible’, you’ll realize after reading this article that saving money is also not impossible! It does not have to involve making life-changing sacrifices, all it requires is to take some wise decisions and make a few minor alterations to our lifestyle.

Here are some easy ways to save money, by bringing in minor changes to what we consider to be a desiderata in our daily lives:

On Groceries:

– Make a budget. It is the first and foremost thing which should not be ignored.
– Make a list before walking into the store.
– Before leaving, check the pantry, fridge, and cupboard to ensure that you don’t buy what you already have at home.
– Inquire about the sale period in your store.
– Avoid buying prepared food, instead cook yourself double the usual portion and freeze it for later.
– Be open to buy in-store brands, as the quality is the same as the regular brands and anyway, the brand name mustn’t matter when saving.
– There is nothing wrong with using coupons, they are as good as cash. Look for them in the Sunday newspaper.
– Look for your store’s weekly advertisement fliers on any offers or discounts.

On Holidays and Christmas:

– Plan a holiday during the off-peak season.
– Go to an offbeat vacation spot.
– Conduct a thorough research on the offers available with different travel agents.
– Opt for a family package, instead of individual deals, while holidaying.
– If you are the adventurous kind, then plan a vacation yourself, instead of having it done from an agent. Choose the destination, mode of travel, and plan out the expenses accordingly.
– Book the flight tickets in advance to get cheaper fares.
– Avoid shopping at duty-free stores, as they are overly expensive.
– Make a list for your Christmas shopping.
– Don’t wait for the last day, start your Christmas shopping early. Grab the offers as they come, or else you might have to spend much more later.
– Try to make homemade gifts for your near and dear ones, as they are not only cheaper, but they would mean much more than merely buying gifts from the store.

On Utilities:

– Disconnect the landline phone in the house, if all members of the family use cell phones.
– You could also use Skype to make free phone calls.
– For electricity, opt for fixed-bill plans, wherein a specific amount is payable every month.
– Change your incandescent bulbs to the energy saving CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp).
– Use a fuel efficient car.
– Get a programmable thermostat, as it automatically regulates itself according to the outside temperature.
– Instead of washing your clothes with hot water, use cold water, as that can save a lot of energy.
– Obtain credit cards without annual fees.
– Make ‘auto pay’ payments to the credit card companies, to avoid being charged a late payment fee (if you are not in the country or just forget to do it on time).
– Avoid getting a cash advance, as they come with a higher interest rate.

On Entertainment, Eating Out and Exercise:

– Rent a DVD, instead of buying one or watching the movie in a theater.
– Avoid eating out, except for weekends or so, and take a brown bag lunch to work. This would take care of your health too.
– Book your tickets online and in advance, for events and concerts.
– Instead of taking your friends to a fancy restaurant, invite them home for a house party, it will be more fun and you wouldn’t have to spend a lot.
– Get yourself a library membership, where you can get free books and magazines, and could also get free Internet access.
– You don’t really need a gym membership. The best alternative would be to spend quality time with your family. You could play a sport with the kids, which is a much more enjoyable workout.
– Visit local museums and zoos, they usually have annual passes, which means that with a one-time fee, you can make multiple visits to see your favorite animals.
– Read online magazines, instead of subscribing to the print ones.
– If you must go to restaurants, then go for lunch, instead of dinner, as they are relatively cheaper.

On Kids:

– Kids can earn their daily allowance at home by doing some chores. It also helps them become more responsible and frugal.
– Sell the ‘no longer in use’ stuff like old toys and comic books.
– Set up a savings account for the children.
– If the kids have saved any money, then make sure to invest it, by opening an investing account, wherein you get returns in the form of interest.
– Teens can take up a job like babysitting, pet sitting, gardening, and many more.

I am sure, while reading through the article, you must be thinking that you already knew about most of these points. But what’s important is how much of it, do we actually follow. Hence, it is better to start now than repent later.

Tips on How to Save Money on Bills

When you go through a financial crunch, it is very important that you focus on how to save money. During such a time, every penny you spend holds more value than it once did. Keep a record of all your expenses on a weekly or monthly basis as per your convenience, and then carefully analyze these expenses and prioritize them based on the most important, to the least. You will find that some expenses are unavoidable and therefore cannot be compromised on. However, there are other expenses like electricity, grocery, and phone bills, that can be considerably reduced with wise planning and budgeting.

Electricity Bills

Because we are highly dependent on various electrical appliances in our homes, our electricity bills are constantly high. Make it a habit to turn off the lights whenever you exit a room, even if you are leaving it for just a few minutes. You can save a lot of money if you keep certain appliances that are not in use, either switched off from the main power source or unplugged. This is because some of the appliances still use small amounts of electrical currents, even when they are not in use. This constant flow of electricity adds up a little a day, thus resulting in a heavy monthly bill. Let’s take a look at how you can save money on other expenses.

Grocery Bills

Saving money on your grocery bills, does not mean that you have to compromise on the quality of the food you buy. Prepare a list of items that are essential, and stick to buying them. In the absence of such a list, we end up buying a lot of things on a whim, especially things we don’t need. Avail of grocery coupons that come with the morning newspaper or at the grocery store, and you will be able to save some money with the discounts.

Some convenience stores issue discount cards with which you can buy your groceries; take advantage of special offers too. Another money saving tip is to buy larger packs of non-perishable food, so that they last longer. Even for household cleaning products and the like, you can do the same and save a significant amount of money. The price on a larger product is a tad cheaper when bought in a bulkier size.

Phone Bills

A phone is an integral part of our everyday life; you need it to keep in touch with your friends, co-workers, and family, as well as in emergent situations. Cutting costs can be a little harder here, but it is nonetheless possible. You can cut down all those unnecessary phone services like voice mail, call waiting, etc. if you do not need them. Avoid using any costly services that charge you extra, and you will find that you end up spending way less than usual.

The cost of calling someone who isn’t in the same city/country, can be expensive. For this reason, you can make those calls during a time in the day when they’re cheaper, like in the nights, over the weekend, or during those particular hours when calls are free. There are also family-calling plans that offer a discount on call rates to a specifically-chosen numbers or regions. If you have to call a company, use their toll free number if they have one. Expenses that arise from using a cellular phone are higher compared to land line bills, therefore, make sure to choose the right plan that suits your requirements, with cheap SMS bundle packages and a reasonable internet plan.

You need not be a money management expert to understand these ways on how to save money. You can avoid other unnecessary expenses like shopping when you don’t have to, and buying products because the packaging design beckons and tempts. Avoid eating at restaurants too (limit it to once a week, like on Sundays), and learn how to prepare your own meals at home using wholesome, reasonably-priced produce. As you get into the habit of saving and investing your hard-earned money, you’ll find how easy it is to get by. Seek financial advice from a professional if you really think you need a second opinion and more help.

Easiest Ways to Save Money in a Tight Economy

We all know we need to cut back on spending these days. But, we, Americans, loathe to make big changes in our lifestyles. We like what we like and we don’t want to have to give it up.

But, there are so many easy ways to make small changes that add up to more savings annually; in fact, if you do all of them, you’ll save hundreds or even thousands every year.

Much of it has to do with planning and prioritizing. With a little pre-planning, you will be surprised at how easy it is to save money, and by prioritizing what is important to your lifestyle, it will be relatively painless to cut out what you don’t need.

The most obvious issues faced by most families these days are the costs of food and gasoline.

Here are the best simple tricks and tips that you can use to save money on groceries and filling up the gas tank:

Nothing is more basic than food, and with food costs rising along with everything else, this is where a lot of your family budget is probably going. A few simple changes can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year:

Studies have shown that people who only shop once per week spend far less money than those who go several times per week. In fact, shoppers who make that quick trip to the store for one item will spend as much as 54% more than they had planned. In addition, buying in bulk less frequently is less expensive (and easier on the environment) than purchasing individually packaged items. So, plan out your list and try to only go to the grocery store once per week.

Leave your children at home, if at all possible. You can focus better without them who keep on asking for this or that, and you won’t end up buying extras that you do not want or need.

Adopt a tip from your mom or grandmother (who probably survived some tough economic times and know what they are talking about) and clip coupons. Find the coupon booklets from the store you frequent (and thus, find coupons you would actually use), and have an envelope at home to save them. When it’s time to plan your shopping trip, look through your coupons and use them to help plan the week’s menu, and then buy the items on sale.

While it is important to buy some products for their brand name or organic health benefits, choose generic labels whenever possible.

Many people are already cutting down on expensive extras like going out to eat. You don’t have to give it up entirely; just prioritize. Save restaurant outings for very special occasions, and savor the outing for the treat that it is. Pick places that offer two-for-one deals, or ask your friends for recommendations of inexpensive restaurants. It’s difficult to enjoy yourself if you are worrying about the bill, so next time you think about dining out, consider whether it is worth the expense.

Pre-planning goes a long way in terms of lunch meals also. If you grab lunch at a cafeteria or nearby sandwich shop from work, it will cost you a lot more than if you take a few moments the night before and pack a delicious, nutritious bagged lunch. Include this planning for your grocery trips, and use ideas from your deli to dream up imaginative and creative lunches for yourself.

Think the same way about that triple-whip-whatever latte you grab from the espresso drive-through. A cup of coffee (costing USD 3 – 4) every morning can add up to about USD 75 per month, or over USD 900 per year. That’s the equivalent of about five gallons of gas per week.

It seems like everyone is trying to cut down on their spending at the gas tank. But, there are some simple ways to make it even easier and make your gas dollar go further:

The first and most obvious one is not to drive whenever possible. Of course, most of us would say that’s impossible; Americans are in love with their cars. And in many communities, driving to work is a necessity. But, that does not mean we can’t try our best to make a few smarter choices when it comes to our gas consumption.

Whenever you can, walk. Going to the local park with the kids? Make the walk an integral part of the trip. Try to plan your errands so that you can take one day a week and make it a no-drive day.

See if there’s a way to carpool with someone else from work. It will save a lot on gas, and you might find a new ally at the office. Or check out public transportation. It may take a little longer to get to work, but sometimes with efficient bus systems, it’s not that much harder to do than drive.

If that’s not possible, try to negotiate a work-from-home day, may be one day a week. People do this with their job and mostly, work from home two days per week. They are already witnessing big savings in gas. If your workplace isn’t that flexible, there are still things you can do to save on gas:

Find the best station near you. Our local radio station lists the best gas station deals in the area every day, but even if yours doesn’t, notice where the gas is cheapest, and plan your route around stopping there. It may seem like just pennies, but it all adds up. Some gas stations will have discount days; find out when your local stations have the cheapest gas.

Furthermore, find out about a gas-saving driving technique called “hypermiling.” In simple terms, this is just trying to get the most miles out of your tank of gas. Hypermilers recommend driving 60 miles per hour maximum, which improves your gas mileage. In addition, avoid excessive braking and speeding up. If cars ahead are braking, try just taking your foot off the gas pedal at first, before applying pressure to the brakes. Often, by the time you catch up to traffic, it’s begun moving again and you don’t need to brake. Use your cruise control whenever possible as sudden changes in speed will eat into your gas. When you are in doubt, let your car coast. Devoted hypermilers say they have been able to double their gas mileage, and when using a super-efficient car (a hybrid or fuel-efficient compact car), this can lead to huge amounts in gas savings. Honda Insight Hybrid owners brag of getting more than 100 miles per gallon with the combination of the hybrid engine and hypermiling techniques.

Another important point: the more weight you are carrying around in your car, the worse your mileage will be. So, dump out the softball gear and all the extra junk you have in your trunk, and see the mileage improve. Some experts recommend never filling your gas tank up completely, because the extra weight of the gas will drag down your mileage. However, take into consideration the extra trips to the gas station for more frequent fill-ups, and calculate whether that’s worth the lighter load.

Make sure that the car is in good running condition, and have the brakes and air filters checked. Get regular tune-ups to ensure efficiency, and get the tires filled. The proper amount of air in the tires alone can improve your gas mileage noticeably.

Fill up in the morning. Gas is more condensed when it’s cooler, during morning or evening hours, so you will literally get more gas for your buck than if you fill up mid-afternoon.

The more you see the savings from these techniques, the more you’ll want to do even more. It can be fun and a challenge at the same time to see where else you can save in your grocery budget and at the gas pump. These tips may seem like a lot, but try one or two you think are doable, and when you see the savings start, you’ll be motivated to try others.

The economy may very well get worse before it gets better, and we all may need to make even bigger changes to our habits in order to survive. But for now, these small adjustments can be a start, and when you see they are not that difficult to make, the future may not seem so daunting.