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50 Quick & Easy Ways to Save Money

50 Quick & Easy Ways to Save Money

If you think that budgeting and saving money is hard, think again! These days, there are so many easy ways to save a buck or two. Whether you’re using the best websites to score great deals or simply being more money-conscious, you can easily slash hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars from your yearly expenses by learning a few of the tricks and tips we’ve listed below.

1. Start a piggy bank. Emptying your pockets into a piggy bank every day is a great habit to get into to save money. Sure it may seem childish, but storing your change away can really add up.

2. Get savvy with coupons. Coupons are a great way to save money on grocery and everyday items. Start clipping them from the insert in your Sunday paper or go to a website like www.Coupons.com and print them out.

3. Carpool to work with a friend. Carpooling saves tons of money in gas, and it’s also good for the environment.

4. Eat a few vegetarian meals every week. Chicken and ground beef are expensive to buy. Try cooking spaghetti without the meat, or make a vegetarian lasagna, and save a few bucks along the way.

5. Call your car insurance agent. It only takes a few minutes to give your car insurance company a call. When you do, you can ask them about any current sales or deals. Many of them have discounts for seemingly small reasons that you can take advantage of.

6. Turn off your lights. We as a society have become much better at conserving energy, but it’s always helpful to have a reminder to turn off the kitchen lights when you’re in your bedroom and vice versa.

7. Shop at thrift stores. Thrift stores are great places to purchase clothing, luggage, and even furniture for less. You’d be surprised at the high quality of items that people donate.

8. Learn how to refinish furniture. If you learn how to refinish furniture, then you’ll be able to give all of your pieces a fresh, new look without spending a fortune decorating.

9. Buy designer clothes on Ebay. If you love designer clothes but still want to save some money, start searching for them on Ebay. There are tons of auctions on there every day, and you can get great deals on very nice clothing.

10. Get a roommate. It doesn’t matter how old you are, getting a roommate is a great way to save significant money on your expenses. If you’re worried about sharing your space, be sure to rent to someone who is mature and will respect your belongings.

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11. Grow a vegetable garden. Growing your own vegetables means less money spent at the grocery!

12. Avoid going out to eat. This might be hard to avoid altogether, but it’s been proven time and time again that cooking at home saves you significant money in the long run.

13. Buy used cars. Buying a car that’s only one or two years old is a much better investment than a brand new one. They don’t depreciate as quickly.

14. Use your own herbs. Small herb gardens are easy to grow, and you can keep them inside you home or in a windowsill. This can save you several dollars throughout the year, and fresh herbs taste better too!

15. Shop Etsy.com for handmade gifts. Etsy is a great online marketplace where crafters go to sell their goods. You can find beautiful pieces of jewelry and accessories for affordable prices.

16. Give up alcohol. A glass of wine can definitely be nice at the end of a long workday, but alcohol is quite expensive, and going without it can save some people thousands throughout the year.

17. Sign up for a gas rewards card. Many grocery stores partner with gas stations to get you discounts on gas for every hundred dollars you spend at the grocery. Be sure to research the stores in your area so you don’t miss out on these great opportunities.

18. Try having a “no spend” day. You’d be surprised how hard it is to go an entire day without spending money. Give it a shot and see how well you do!

19. Dye your hair back to your natural color. If you spend a considerable amount of money dyeing your hair or getting highlights every few weeks, try going back to your natural color to save significant bucks.

20. Check out Groupon. Groupon.com and other deal sites are a great way to save money in your area whether your find a restaurant coupon or a free movie pass.

21. Order water at a restaurant. Some restaurants charge exorbitant amounts for cokes, let alone mixed drinks. By just ordering tap water and making it a habit, you can save a lot of money throughout the year.

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22. Learn how to sew curtains. If you learn how to sew curtains, you can save hundred of dollars furnishing your home.

23. Buy in bulk. Buying your canned goods in bulk is a great way to save money over the long term.

24. Print pictures at home. Instead of using gas to drive to a print shop, print your pictures at home using your own ink cartridges. The cartridges are expensive, but you can get a lot of use out of them.

25. Borrow from the library. Why buy books when you can borrow them from your local library for free?

26. Consume all of your milk. There’s nothing worse than wasting food, especially milk. Make sure to only buy a half-gallon if you don’t use it frequently or use a lot of recipes that require it that week.

27. Use generic prescriptions. So many prescriptions come in generic form now. You can save a bundle by using them—just check with your doctor first.

28. Try e-books. You don’t have to have an e-reader to benefit from e-books; you can download the programs onto your computer for free and read them right there. They are significantly cheaper than paper books if you are buying, and you can still get them for free from the library at most locations.

29. Upgrade to first class if you have a lot of luggage. Luggage and overweight fees on airlines these days can cost even more than a first class upgrade. When you ride first class, you often get to take 70lbs of luggage and 3+ bags free of charge, so it’s a better deal.

30. Repair versus buying new. Sometimes it’s less expensive to replace a part on an item instead of buying a new one. For example, buying a new watch battery is much cheaper than buying a new watch.

31. Buy a water filter. Filtering your own water is so much more cost effective and eco-friendly than buying water bottles.

32. Get the flu shot. Getting the flu shot is very inexpensive, and preventing the illness can save you from taking too many days off work.

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33. Train your dog. Training your dog is relatively simple and just takes a little bit of time every day. A trained dog won’t ruin furniture, shoes, or your floor, thus saving you money.

34. Buy quality not quantity. A nice, quality pair of shoes can last you 10 years whereas a cheap pair will break easily and cost you more in the long run.

35. Learn to say “no.” Telling yourself no regularly is the best way to save money. Simply passing on the candy bar you want in the checkout line at the store can save you a few dollars, and doing this regularly can save you hundreds over the course of a year.

36. Use a clothesline. Drying your clothes on a clothesline instead of your dryer is a great way to save money on electricity.

37. Protect your assets. It’s easy and cheap to buy a surge protector and a bike lock. These inexpensive items protect more costly items and can save you significant dollars in the long run.

38. Use a pre-paid phone. There are many pre-paid phone plans that are significantly less expensive that the contract plans. Plus, they don’t come with all the strings attached. For example, Wal-Mart just announced they will be selling the iPhone pre-paid plans for half the price of regular stores.

39. Buy refurbished products. Many refurbished products, like computers, come with warranties so they are less expensive and safe to buy.

40. Learn how to hem pants. Hemming pants doesn’t require a sewing machine. You can actually do it by hand, and save a lot of money that you would have spent at the tailor.

41. Hand deliver notes. If you know you’re going to see your mom or best friend, hand them a thank-you note in person instead of purchasing a stamp.

42. Use hand-me-downs. Hand-me-downs aren’t just for kids: get a group of your friends together to trade clothes and accessories they don’t want anymore, so everyone can exchange them to get new things for free.

43. Make homemade pizza. For the cost of one delivered pizza, you can make several homemade pizzas and use them for a few meals.

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44. Get a cash-back credit card. This type of credit card will give you a percentage of your purchases back in cash.

45. Buy neutral clothing. Wearing black, white, and gray clothes means that you can mix and match easier without having too many different outfits. (Hint: Make them stand out with fun, bright accessories, which are more affordable than a bunch of new clothes.)

46. Exercise regularly. Staying healthy means fewer doctor’s bills.

47. Go on a picnic. Or, take a walk on the beach. There are likely dozens of free activities you can do in your city that don’t cost a dime.

48. Buy Forever Stamps. Buying Forever Stamps means that you can use those stamps without having to pay extra when the price of stamps goes up.

49. Use frequent flier miles. If you save up enough frequent flier miles, you can get flights for free.

50. Read several personal finance blogs. Google “personal finance blogs” to find a list of great bloggers who share their thoughts on a variety of different financial topics, including even more tips on saving money!

I hope this list helps you save a significant amount of cash this year. Please let us know in the comment section if there’s anything we missed!

 

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Catherine Alford

Catherine is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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