Looking for extra cash without digging under the couch cushions? Search your everyday spending and household routines. There, you’ll likely find plenty of ways to cut expenses.
Here are 25 tips to save money:
- Make coffee at home. Say you buy a 30.5-ounce store brand can of ground coffee for $8.50. That’s enough to brew 190 12-ounce cups. Even if you spend only $1 per cup at a fast food drive-through, your home brew would save you more than $180. And money-saving advocate Clark Howard says your daily coffee habit could cost you $500 to $600 a year.
- Pack your lunch. If lunch costs you $5 to eat at work and your home-packed lunch costs just $2.50, the savings add up quickly.
- Don’t waste leftovers. Keep an inventory of leftover food, with the date you prepared it, on a dry erase board on your refrigerator door. That way, you’re more likely to eat leftovers at home or pack them for work before you have to throw them out.
- Double your recipes. This saves food prep time and makes better use of ingredients, with less waste. Freeze leftovers for another time. Or -- you’ve got it -- pack them for lunch.
- When you eat out, order water. A soft drink can add $2 to your check and unnecessary calories to your waistline. Diet drinks may even be bad for your health. Water’s good for you – and better still, many restaurants provide it for free.
- Go to the grocery with a shopping list. This lowers the risk of impulse buying and keeps you on budget.
- Compare store brand and brand name prices. Chances are you’ll spend less on store brand products, even if you have brand name coupons. And use coupons only when they’re for a product you would normally buy.
- Shop by unit price. Packaged foods come in a variety of sizes. Many grocery stores display unit prices (per ounce or pound) on their shelves to save you the trouble of having to figure out in your head which product is the best deal.
- Check out the library. Where else can you get free movies – plus, music, books, e-books, magazines, free access to computers and free programs for kids and adults? Many libraries also offer cardholders free access to Lynda.com, an online learning site that offers more than 3,000 skills-training courses.
- Take advantage of free events. Most towns offer free events and activities – outdoor concerts, plays, parks, free disc golf courses, trails and even free community meals. Check out your town’s website or the local library to see what’s going on.
- Buy store brand over-the-counter medications. They have the same formula as name brand products, often at 20 to 40 percent less cost. Have a prescription? Ask if there is a generic version or visit Good Rx to compare prescription prices and find discounts.
- Cut laundry detergent use in half. Today’s laundry detergent is highly concentrated. You can usually do fine using less – even half – the recommended amount. And tear drier sheets in half for good results at half the price.
- Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees. Every 10-degree reduction saves up to five percent on heating costs.
- Use window shades to your advantage. Shut out sunlight in the summer to cool your house and open the shades to warm your house in winter.
- Change how you think about potential purchases. Not how much they cost. But how many hours you’ll have to work to pay for them. Is it really worth it?
- Get organized. Avoid missed payments. Have you ever missed a payment or two because the bill got buried beneath a stack of papers? Get organized and avoid those late payment penalties. If you do miss a payment, call your creditor and ask to have the penalty removed. Many times,they’ll accommodate the request, at least the first time.
- Get fit on the cheap. Skip the gym membership and take to the outdoors. Walk in your neighborhood or on a trail. And get creative. Make your own weights or try bodyweight or even playground fitness routines.
- Shop yard sales and consignment shops. Before going online or to a store, see if you can find what you need secondhand stores or yard sales. You’ll spend pennies on the dollar, but don’t let the savings lure you into buying more than you need.
- Swap babysitting with friends and trusted neighbors. Even though you need to save money, you need a night out once in a while. But the cost of paying a sitter, could make you to decide to sit at home.
- Carpool to work. Live near a coworker or two? Or does your spouse work near you? By sharing rides to work, you can save lots on gas and vehicle wear and tear.
- Keep your car maintained. Regular oil changes, tuneups and properly inflated tires will save you money and heartache down the road. Regular maintenance improves gas mileage and can save you from expensive repairs.
- Cut out bottled water. Instead, buy a refillable water bottle and fill it with tap water. You’ll save money and the environment by reducing waste.
- Put limits on gift spending. It’s easy to go overboard at Christmas, family birthdays and other occasions. So, agree with your family in advance to limit what you spend on gifts.
- Better yet, make gifts. You don’t have to be an expert craftsperson. If you are, that’s great. But even simple gifts made with a personal touch are appreciated – for instance, food mixes, fresh-baked bread or cookies, soap, candles and handcrafted items.
- Make your own cleaning supplies. Home cleaning products, from glass cleaners to laundry detergent, can be expensive. But you can save with a little DIY magic. Check here for some ideas.
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