Cutting corners and saving money is easier than you think. I pride myself on being thrifty. Once you’ve assessed your budget and divided your needs and wants, it’s time to get down to business.
1. Make sure you are paying your high interest bills off monthly, or putting as much money towards them as you can. Whereas you may consider that an added monthly expenditure, in the long run, saving money on excess interest will increase savings overall.
2. Bundle your services. A lot of companies offer steep savings if you subscribe for everything through them. If you currently have cable, Internet, and a home phone through separate companies, call your provider and see if they have any promotions. By switching all services to one company, you can easily save upwards of $50 per month.
You can also bundle a lot of insurance policies. By using one carrier for my car and renters insurance, I save 10% on both policies, actually saving me money annually.
3. Access your memberships. Do you actually go to the gym daily? Weekly? Monthly? If you are paying for a membership but only frequent a class once a month, it may be advantageous to pay for the class singularly. If you only use the treadmill, consider canceling your membership and finding a friend to hike with a couple of times a week.
Do you really use that Costco membership, or are you just hanging on to it for a party once or twice a year. Evaluate your savings in regards to what you are paying to be a member at a club like that.
4. Clip coupons and sign up for free store clubs. Most grocery stores offer frequent shopper clubs where you can save up to 30% of your grocery bill. By clipping coupons of things you would buy anyway (stay away from products you don’t normally buy you will end up spending money to get a fraction of the savings) you will save big. Most stores double coupons up to a dollar. Keep an eye out for sales and stock up on foods like cereals, pastas, and meat to freeze.
5. Limit your evenings out. Although it’s fun to head out to your favorite restaurant, it’s easy to blow your entire weeks grocery bill on one meal. Decide on one night a week to hit the town, or stick to happy hour, or a restaurant with a buy one get one free meal.
Instead of hitting the movies once a week, limit yourself to a movie a month and purchase an “at home” membership like Blockbuster Online or Netflix. For what it would cost for one evening at the theatre, you will get unlimited movies delivered to your door.
6. Look for a discount program. I love going out to movies, plays, sporting events, etc I’m always looking for a new adventure. I hopped on line and looked at discount programs. To fill the house, or stadium, a lot of groups will offer discounted coupons up to 80% off. If I feel like treating myself to an evening on the town, it’s much easier to validate a $5 ticket than a $40 ticket.
7. Don’t be a shop-a-holic. Buy what you need and be realistic. If you need a new pair of jeans, buy a new pair of jeans, not three. I was stunned to open my bathroom cabinet and see I had six different “flavors” of lotion when one would suffice. If you are on a budget, you do not need that extra throw pillow, that extra vase, or a new set of plates just because they are “on sale.”
By making small changes and really evaluating what we want, and what we need, you will find that your monthly spending diminishes and your monthly savings will inevitably increase. The key is to finding savings or investments to put your added money in so you aren’t tempted to “blow” it when temptation strikes.