In this economy, everyoneâs looking for another way to scrimp here and cut back there. When every penny counts, you want to make sure youâre saving as much as you can on basic household items and lifeâs bare necessities.
Youâd be surprised at how much extra money you can keep in your account just by doing an audit of all your monthly expenses and making a few simple adjustments. Here are 10 tips to help you start saving more today in all areas of your life.
1. Ditch the paid checking.
Look for a bank that offers free checking with no minimum balance. You could save as much as $100 a year in fees if youâre currently paying for your checking account.
2. Donât leave for the grocery store without coupons and a shopping list.
Avoid impulse shopping. Sticking to a list of must-haves and going in armed with coupons for the items on your list could cut your grocery bill in half. Check weekly newspaper ads, and sign up for alerts on Internet coupon sites to get notified of upcoming deals. Pay close attention to the price-per-ounce (or other unit) when comparison shopping: A similarly priced item may actually be much more expensive than you think because itâs smaller and youâre getting less for your money.
3. Resist the convenience of the convenience store.
Itâs easy to pick up a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, or that roll of paper towels you need when you stop to fill up at the gas station, but youâre paying for the convenience of that one-stop shopping: These stores often charge some of the highest prices for food and groceries. Avoid paying 50-percent markups. Find time to make your shopping runs, and get your groceries at the grocery store.
4. Audit your electricity use.
Ask your electric or gas company to check out your utility usage, or do it yourself. Depending on when your usage is heaviest, signing up for an off-hour rate program or a load management program could help you save hundreds of dollars a year on your electric bills.
5. Pore over your phone bills.
Take a fine-tooth comb to your cell and home phone bills to see if youâre paying for minutes and services you donât need. Make adjustments so you can take advantage of plans that give you the best rate for times when you tend to use the most minutes. Consider getting rid of your landline altogether: Most cell phone providers offer monthly packages with lots of minutes and free roaming and long distance for less than what youâre paying to maintain both a cell phone and a landline.
6. Keep your car in shape.
A regular engine tune-up and something as simple as making sure your tires are properly inflated can help you save around $100 a year on gas.
7. Insist on fixed bids for repair services.
Only hire people and companies for home repairs who offer fixed-price bids for work. Home repair servicers often draw complaints, many times for trying to charge more than they initially quoted once theyâre midway through the repairs.
8. Cut back on car insurance coverage.
To save money on your monthly premiums, unless youâre on the road a lot, consider raising the deductible on your collision and comprehensive coverage to at least $500 or, if you have an older car, getting rid of collision completely.
9. Get new homeownerâs and renterâs insurance quotes.
Call around or get quotes online from sites like Esurance and 2Insure4Less.com. You could find a lower rate with a new provider or use competitorsâ lower quotes to negotiate a better rate with your current insurer. Check your state insurance department to make sure you arenât paying more for insurance than typical rates in your area.
10. Shop around for the best prices on your prescriptions.
You may end up having to get different medications at different locations, but the savings can be huge. Consider trying mail-order pharmacies, and, if possible, always opt for generic versions of your prescriptions.
For even more money-saving ideas, check out the Federal Citizen Information Centerâs 66 Ways to Save Money.
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