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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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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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