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Saving money is hard! So many expenses and so many needs, it’s a wonder anyone can get ahead. These next ten tips are a different approach to saving money- and hopefully you won’t even realize you’re saving!
#1: Stop paying for things you don’t use.
Still paying a gym membership for a gym you haven’t been to in months? Less than thrilled with your subscription box you receive each month? Cancel your membership. Check out unroll.me to see what subscription lists you belong to and see what you are paying for that you can cancel. When you cancel, redirect the amount were paying to savings. Smarty Pig is a FREE online piggy bank. How great would it be if your unused gym membership fees were now sent to savings and available for holiday purchases?! Pretty great….
#2: Use a coupon code site, like Retail Me Not, to find the best deal on online purchases.
You can often find codes for free shipping, or a percentage off code, that will cover the cost of shipping & more. Whenever possible use a coupon code to save money- it all adds up!
#3. Use eBates.
I recently re-investigated eBates after a very long hiatus. If you haven’t checked it out recently, take a look- you’ll be surprised at how many merchants are participating these days! Today’s email from eBates showed 20% off + 3% cash back at Macy’s, 10% off Barney’s Warehouse + 3% cash back, and an extra 20% off clearance at Saks + 4% cash back. The cash back adds up quickly! Once you meet their threshold (I think it is $50) they will mail you a check. You know what to do with that check…Savings!
#4. Make sure you aren’t paying for ATM fees.
You should bank at an institution that is common in your area to maximize the number of ATMs that are available for you to use without a fee. Using an ATM that is not part of your bank’s network can sometimes cost $4+ dollars. That is way too much to spend to use YOUR OWN money!
#5: Always grocery shop with a list, without your kids (or spouse) if possible, and consider using a delivery service, like Peapod or Instacart.
- Shop with a list and stick to it so you are only buying what you need and not giving in to impulse purchases. If you forgot to put something on you list that’s one thing, but if you decide you “need” a package of Oreo’s, you really don’t….
- If you can avoid taking your kids grocery shopping, do so. They are notorious for putting impulse items (that are mostly junk) in your cart, and if you are exhausted and shopping after work, you’re probably not in the mood to argue with them. Leave your spouse home, too, if he or she is guilty of impulse additions to the cart as well.
- Why Peapod & Instacart? Because even though there is a fee for their service, the fee is reasonable and you can’t add items to your cart that you don’t need. Well, you can, but that’s on you if you do- the running cart total should keep your purchases in check. With Peapod you can use manufacturer coupons. Just give them to your delivery person and they will be added to your account as a credit for your next order. Be sure to check Retail Me Not for first-time purchase discount codes, and also Groupon for any deals they may be running in your area.
#6: Negotiate with your cable, internet & cell providers.
Do you really need alllll of those channels? If you are not a gamer, you probably don’t need the fastest internet available. If your cell phone is too expensive, see if you can switch carriers. Whatever you save should go into savings… OR, maybe better yet, take the savings and apply them to your car payment (or a credit card balance) to pay that debt off faster.
#7: Dine and Drink In.
Every time you prepare food or drinks at home, instead of going out, transfer the money you would have spent to savings. This is such an easy one. If you normally go to Starbucks for a morning latte, but decide to make coffee at home, transfer the $5 you would have spent to your savings account. If you and your SO typically go out for an amazing dinner on Saturday nights, and you decided to have a fun evening of cooking together, transfer that $100+ you would have spent on dinner and drinks to your savings account.
#8: Stop having food brought to your house from GrubHub, Uber Eats, Postmates, etc.
I am not suggesting you stop getting takeout, just stop having it brought to your house. My girlfriend did this last month and saved $1000 – yes, ONE THOUSAND dollars. She may have a bit of a problem, but even if you are only occasionally using these services it really adds up!
Check out the Acorns money saving app. For $1/month (or 0.25% per year if your account is above $5000) your spare change can go directly into savings. For example, if you spend $42.75 on gas, Acorns will round your purchase up to $43 and take that $.25 and send it to a savings account. The app is really cool. You can decide if you want to increase your roundups by 2x, 3x or 10x, or set up recurring deposits, and also make one time deposits. The app features a calculator that you can play with to see how much you can potentially save in 1 year, 10 years, 20 years, whatever. It’s pretty cool to see how your spare change can grow to tens of thousands of dollars if you keep at it for 10, 20 years. I’ll be honest, I completely forgot I had set this up and when I logged in on a whim I was shocked to see I had over $1000 saved! Now I use Acorns regularly- in fact, I am planning to pay for our next cruise from money saved using Acorns!
#10. Save your $1 bills, or your $5 bills, or whatever denomination you would like.
If you are an “all cash” person, every time you get a $1 bill back, stash it away. If you’d like to save as much as possible as quickly as possible, save all of your $5 bills. Stash them away and DON’T USE THEM for a year. See how much you’ve saved- I bet you’ll be surprised!
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