How to save money – 6 things you can do right now

Have you watched the news lately? There seem to be more and more problems with the national economy, the mortgage crisis and the big companies and their businesses collapsing around them. I venture to say that the only one you can count on financially now and in the future is you. If you live paycheck to paycheck like the rest of us, then you should, no, you need to strap in now so you have something set aside for retirement. Small changes in everyday life can have a huge impact over the years to come.

1. Grocery shopping

This can lead to huge savings. Every time you go grocery shopping, there are ways to save money.

  • Check your paper for coupons and use them religiously
  • Plan your trip and your grocery list before you leave home
  • Items you use regularly are usually cheaper in bulk or in larger quantities
  • choosing generic products over branded products
  • Check the expiration dates of perishables when you’re at the grocery store

When you get home with your groceries and put them away, be sure to save the bags, paper or plastic. Plastic bags are great for lining wastebaskets, and paper bags are handy for shipping items and craft projects. You are using a free product and have just saved a lot of money.

2. Your debt and bills

The shorter the term of your credit card debt, the more you save in the long run. You may not be able to repay them all completely, but the more you are able to pay, the less interest you will have to pay. And if you’re late on a bill, you’ll also be stung by late fees. Some people find it beneficial to bank online and have recurring payments withdrawn from their accounts – you never have to worry about being late because you forgot. However, with recurring payments, you need to be very aware of your account status so that funds are always available because banks like to hit you with insufficient funds charges.

3. Entertainment

Instead of going to the movies, consider going to your local movie store and renting. When you add up all the theater costs, it’s staggering! The movie ticket, popcorn and sweets, drink. Bring home a movie, pop your own popcorn, and get your own drinks will save you a lot of money over time. If you really want that movie downtime, try going to earlier shows as they are usually cheaper. You might also consider your local library, they can rent books, music, even movies – and they’re free!

It might be your usual routine to go to the fast food joint down the street from work every day. Try replacing a few of those trips a week with a brown lunch bag. You definitely save on food costs and you save the gas needed to get to the fast food restaurant. You know you hate those drive-thru queues – find somewhere around work where you can relax and enjoy your lunch bag.

Going out for fun doesn’t always mean you have a cost. Recreation areas offer hiking trails or bike paths at no cost and provide an outlet for a regular exercise regimen. After all, with all the money you save, you want to be healthy enough to enjoy it later!

4. Full Price Alternatives

Many times you can find cheaper products with a little research. A huge marketplace that offers massive savings is eBay. Thousands of people are selling everyday products that you can get for less than you could pay at retail. Not only can you buy items on eBay, but you can also easily create an account and sell your own items to earn money. Buying online can save you money on just about anything. The competition is high, and you can choose the online store that will give you the best deal, and might even mean reduced or free shipping.

You can also get great deals in the classifieds section of the newspaper. Find out where garage sales are happening in your area on weekends and get amazing deals on the things you’re looking for.

5. Gifts

When thinking about what to get that special someone, a great alternative to shopping at the mall is to do something for them. Everyone has talent in one area or another, and even if you have to buy the supplies to craft something, you’ll still save some money. Usually you have supplies left over that can be used for another giveaway down the road. Handmade gifts are much more personal and let the recipient know they came from the heart.

6. Save around the house

There are many ways to save money at home. Get the whole family on board and save.

  • Turn off unnecessary lights
  • Lower your thermostat a few degrees
  • Use energy-saving light bulbs
  • turn off your computer when not in use
  • Hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer
  • Buy energy efficient appliances
  • Make sure all windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent heat loss

Today, many companies focus on energy efficiency and have their products readily available. Make sure your family knows how to save money around the house, so everyone gets involved. A good incentive is to let them know that the extra savings from participating can add up and lead to special purchases and trips.

You have to make an effort to save money, but in doing so you will see the fruits of your labor. Be aware of what you can do in your life to save money and stick to them. You won’t see huge savings overnight, but over time the savings will be substantial.

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