Trying to save money is a drag, isn’t it? Well, it is a necessary matter for most Americans, who are feeling the squeeze from stagnant incomes, falling home values and declining net worths. Saving money is not just a necessity, rather it is a priority for everyone.
Savings can come in leaps and bounds, through managing your expectations and lifestyle, including downsizing your home. But, it is often the little things that add up, bringing net savings that will help you live within your means. We’ll look at 12 of those here.
1. Sell your excess. Most of us have items lying around our home that we simply do not need. Go through your entire home’s inventory and look for things that you can sell. Get these items together and hold a yard sale. Do it again next spring.
2. Save on electricity. Your electrical rates are pegged with the time of the day. Run your dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer at night to save money.
3. Set your thermostat. Lower your thermostat by 1 to 2 degrees and have everyone dress accordingly. Use an electronic thermostat to automatically reset temperatures upon waking in the morning and again when you arrive home from work in the early evening.
4. Contact your credit card companies. Pay off your debt before starting or increasing your savings. One way to do this is to contact your credit card companies and ask to have your interest rates reduced. You’ll find it easier to pay down your debt when your rates are manageable.
5. Save the change. Whenever you buy something, stick your change in a piggy bank. After a year or two you’ll have enough money on hand to buy Christmas presents or take a vacation.
6. Buy off-brand. Store brands often offer comparable quality and better value than leading brands. Besides, you don’t have to cut coupons, saving money automatically.
7. Refinance your home. Interest rates are at the lowest we’ve seen in our lifetimes. If you haven’t refinanced your home in a few years, check the rates and get a new loan if your new rate is at least 1 percent lower. If possible and financially sensible, roll your fees into your loan.
8. Just brown bag it. You have been meaning to lose weight, right? Well, that cafeteria food you’ve been eating at lunchtime is causing you to pack on the pounds. Bring your food from home, choosing meals that are nutritious and healthy. You’ll save at least $5 per meal by brown bagging it, losing weight in the process.
9. Get the right gas. Most cars run on regular grade gasoline just fine. If you have been using mid-grade or premium, downgrade to regular and save money. You can save hundreds of dollars per year by choosing the right gasoline for your car.
10. Combine your services. If you still need a landline, combine your home phone, your Internet connection and your television access to enjoy the best savings. These days, both your phone company and your cable operator may be selling packages — find the one that offers the greatest savings and then make the switch. Or choose the dish service, use Skye for your home phone and buy your Internet connection separately.
11. Fix it instead of replacing it. Your old car may look like it is ready to give up the ghost. A $2,000 transmission job is expensive, but paying $250 per month on a new car will set you back an additional $1,000 for the first year alone. Be of the mind to fix what you can, extending the life of your mechanical possessions out a few more years.
12. Cancel your subscriptions. Magazines and newspapers are costly and your subscriptions can add up. If you’re pinched for cash, cut back or eliminate your mailings — instead, read your news online. Or go to the library to read your free copies there.
There are many areas where you can save money beyond what has been mentioned. Simplify your life and you’ll still enjoy what you have, but you’ll also get of the rat-race cycle that may be harming you financially. Make savings a game — reward yourself for hitting certain milestones and for achieving a smarter and more practical lifestyle.
See Also — How to Stretch Your Christmas Budget
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