When you’re trying to build an emergency fund, stick to a budget, or save for college or retirement, every little bit helps.
If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and find creative ways to cut back without feeling like you are sacrificing too much, here are 10 simple ways to save money.
Coupons have become incredibly easy to find and use in the last 10 years. Sites like Groupon and eBates have breathed new life into the coupon model, and tons of sites and apps exist that can help you save money on all kinds of purchases.
Look for Seasonal Discounts and Clearance Items
At the end of a season, stores want to clear the shelves of existing inventory to bring in new items. With a bit of planning, you can use this time to stock up on non-perishable essentials, such as clothes, shoes, outdoor furniture, and yard tools. For example, bicycles and gardening equipment peak in spring, and typically go on sale during late summer. Prices for smartphones and televisions bottom out in February after the holiday season.
If you need something during the actual season, look for clearance racks. Stores like Target and Walmart have sections for clearance items that they stock up on a regular basis. If you wait long enough, some stores even have sales on their clearance items, giving you a great chance at scoring a good deal.
Shop Secondhand Stores
Secondhand stores are popping up everywhere and for good reason. Many people donate items they no longer need or never used, giving you a chance to save money. Shop for household items, clothes, shoes, books, movies, and sports equipment at secondhand stores and get great savings. You may be surprised at the amazing things you’ll find.
When shopping for electronics like computers and tablets, purchasing a refurbished device, which usually comes with the same warranty as a new device, can save you a few hundred dollars.
Choose Generic Over Brand Name
Have you ever compared the ingredients in generic items to the name brand? Usually the ingredients are the same because it’s the same product. This is especially true with over-the-counter medicine like cough medicine and aspirin. You just don’t pay for the fancy packaging with generic brand. Compare the prices by unit to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
Plan Meals Around Sales
Subscribe to your grocery store’s weekly sale newsletter and plan your meals around what’s on sale. You may have a few staples that your family has to have each week, but beyond that, be flexible. Planning your meals around the meat that’s on sale and starting a Meatless Monday routine can help cut down on meat costs. You can tailor the other meals and snacks around what’s on sale too. When an item that your family loves goes on a big sale, stock up, then you don’t have to pay regular price in the weeks to come.
It’s so easy to comparison shop because you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Check out stores like Amazon as well as all of the big box stores when you shop online. You can save the items in your shopping cart but don’t check out until you make sure you’ve found the lowest price. Don’t forget your promo codes if you do shop online, you may save even more money. If you don’t have a promo code, do a quick Google search to see if there’s one available.
Cut the Cord
Today you don’t have to pay the hefty cable prices to watch your favorite shows. Considering cutting the cord and paying for a much cheaper streaming service. Whether you opt for an app, such as Netflix or Disney+ or you pay for full streaming service, like DIRECTV Now, you’ll likely save quite a bit of money every month. Don’t forget that free HD “over-the-air” programming is available to anyone with a digital antenna, which you can buy online for $20 or less.
Check Your Insurance Rates
When’s the last time you shopped for insurance? If it’s been a while, shop around for better rates. Even if you got the lowest rates possible when you took out this policy, with each renewal, your premiums likely increased at least a little. Without you even knowing, you could be paying a lot more for insurance than is necessary. Get quotes from at least three other insurance companies and see how much money you can save.
Cancel Memberships and Subscriptions
How many free trials have you signed up for only to find yourself with another paid subscription because you missed the cancelation date? Even if you meant to sign up for the subscription or membership, do you still use it or is it one of those ‘useless’ charges that comes out of your checking account each month? Take inventory of what you pay for and cancel the memberships/subscriptions you no longer need. Services like Truebill can help you track down recurring expenses you may have forgotten about.
Take Advantage of Your Local Library
Stop paying for books, CDs, and movies. Instead, hit up your local library. You can check out books, CDs, and movies for free, assuming you return them on time. Not only will you save money, but you’ll decrease the clutter in your home. How many times are you going to read the same book or watch the same movie? Save your money and instead, enjoy a much wider variety because you can check out new items every time you go back to the library.
Finding simple ways to save money isn’t as hard as it seems. It just requires thinking outside of the box. A few small changes can go a long way when you are trying to save money. It doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice, so to speak, it just means you need to do things a little differently to put more money in your bank account.