1. Set REALISTIC goals for future spending. Don’t fool yourself or your budget. Set goals you can live with so you won’t get discouraged. Use a Spendtracker !
2. Don’t pay banking fees. Shop around for a bank that doesn’t charge fees and you could save over $100 a year.
3. Start an automatic savings plan with your bank. Even small amounts added every pay period can compound to a large amount over time.
4. Open an online savings account. Most online accounts offer a 4% interest rate. That’s much better than the 1% you get at your current bank.
5. Avoid ATM fees. Only withdraw money from machines approved by your bank.
6. Use reward credit cards and get cash back or earn credit for rewards. A great way to save money or get free items.
7. Pay Bills on time. Don’t miss payments, you will incur late fees and it’s just not worth the extra money. Get organized and pay bills on time.
8. Pay Bills Online. You save on postage and avoid the risk of paying late fees if you have it automatically debited each month.
9. If you use checks, don’t buy them from the bank. Online retailers sell them for MUCH cheaper.
10. Comparison shop before you buy big ticket items such as TV’s, Computers, etc. Check out the price of all the stores in your area and search online for a better deal before you buy.
11. Use store rewards cards to save money when you purchase or to accrue credit at the store. i.e. Kroger, CVS, Office Depot, Staples, American Eagle, etc.
12. Buy as much as you can online. Save money on gas by buying online. Many stores offer free shipping if you buy a certain amount.
13. Bundle Cable and Internet or Phone and Internet. Many cable and phone companies now offer both in one package which can save money.
14. Cut out some of your cable channels. Do you really need 500 channels? Try downgrading your service and see if you really miss it.
15. Cancel Your Home Phone. If you and your family use cell phones, cancel the home phone, you probably don’t use it much anyway.
16. Consider VOiP telephone service. If you use the home phone a lot and can’t cancel it, try VOiP. Prices are lower and the service is great.
17. Use the library to borrow movies, CDs, books instead of buy them.
18. Cancel subscriptions. Read magazines and newspapers online.
19. Read magazines and books for free at bookstores. It’s becoming the next big hangout, meet friends, read, and it’s free.
20. Refill ink cartridges instead of buying new ones.
21. Use open source software like OpenOffice for your computing needs. It’s free or cheaper than the originals.
22. Use CFL Bulbs (compact fluorescent light) instead of regular light bulbs. These bulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer.
23. Buy energy efficient appliances. Look for the Energy Star on appliances and lighting. Consider the annual energy cost and cost of product before you buy.
24. Use a programmable thermostat to control your heating/cooling bill. You can save 10-20% on each month’s bill.
25. Turn off the lights when not using a room.
26. Shut air vents in rooms you don’t use often. Shutting vents in unused rooms can save on your heating and cooling bill.
27. Change the filters in air conditioners and furnaces. Keeps your air cleaner and keeps your systems running more affordably and efficiently.
28. Keep insurance. Pay life insurance annually and car insurance semi-annually. Insurance companies charge you more if you pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. Pay yearly/semi-annually and you’ll pay less.
29. Raise your deductible on car insurance and home owners insurance. You’ll pay less on your yearly premium.
30. Say no to extended warranties on small items. A $99 two year extension on a $400 product is not worth it. Warranties are basically insurance, and you don’t need to insure such a small amount.
31. Take advantage of employer 401(k) matches. If your employer matches 401(k) contributions, do everything you can to take full advantage of that match.
32. Keep your tires inflated at the correct pressure. It keeps you safe and costs less on gas.
33. Keep your car well-maintained. Get scheduled oil changes and yearly tune-ups for your car. Keeping your car in good shape can save money down the road.
34. Buy a new car online. Search the internet for car inventory close to you and see what dealerships offer the best deal. If you have to drive 50 miles to get a new car for $5000 less, it’s definitely worth it.
35. Don’t buy hot gas. Buy gas during the morning or evening hours, when it’s cool, or you will be buying gas at a time when it’s expanded (and thus getting less).
36. Carpool – Find other colleagues to ride to work with or carpool the kids to school and after school activities and share costs with other workers/parents.
37. Stop smoking & reduce/eliminate alcohol consumption.
38. Eat leftovers. Find new recipes you can use to re-use the meat or vegetables from the night before.
39. Take your lunch to work at least a few days a week
40. Eat right and exercise daily. You’ll reduce health costs. Start doing something NOW
41. Buy generic over-the-counter medicines. Same product, less-cost. Ask you pharmacist if there is a generic product for the medicine your doctor prescribes.
42. Get a 3 Month Prescription of your medicine. If you take a prescription medication on a regular basis, ask your doctor to write a three month prescription. Instead of paying three co-pays, you only pay one.
43. Use grocery store coupons. Challenge yourself to make a meal with only products you have coupons for.
44. Try the store brands. Brand names are often no better than generic. Give the store brand a try.
45. Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll spend more and buy more things that you don’t really need.
46. Make a list when you grocery shop and STICK to it. This way you’ll avoid purchasing items that look good and you’ll only get what you need.
47. Avoid buying clothes that require drying cleaning.
48. Buy your winter clothes at the end of winter/beginning of spring. Buy summer clothing at the end of summer/beginning of fall. Sales at the end of the season offer great savings for the next year.
49. Book your flights and cruises way in advance. You can get lower prices.
50. Take long weekend trips within a few hours drive of where you live instead of big overseas trips. Even though gas is expensive, it still beats the costs of air travel, car rental, etc.