Every month you set a goal to save a small portion of your income, only to end up failing miserably. Sound familiar?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all save money in the blink of an eye? Unfortunately, it’s a task that requires some effort, discipline and, most importantly, some sort of income.
1. Keep the Change
Retain the change from each of your transactions for an entire week and store the change in a Mason jar, Ziploc bag or piggy bank. At the end of the week, count your coins to see how you did. Depending on how much you spend, you may have reached your goal following this one simple tactic.
2. Reduce Transportation Costs
Download the GasBuddy or GasPriceWatch.com application onto your smartphone to locate the best deals in the local area on gasoline. You can also try carpooling with others from your job or using public transportation for a week.
3. Don’t Dine Out This week
This suggestion is made over and over again, but it works! Brew your own coffee to start the day and use the leftovers from the prior night’s meal for lunch. And if you’re tempted to pick up an item from the snack shop, come prepared with your own treats and drinks in tow. Also, kindly inform your co-workers that you will not be accepting invitations to dine out for lunch during the week.
4. Skip Entertainment
Don’t plan on going to a play or the movies. An alternative is to find free entertainment at local community events. There’s also the library, which is jampacked with books and DVDs that you can borrow free of charge.
5. Find Free Workouts
Do you pay weekly for fitness classes? Try finding fitness programs on television, the Internet or at the library. I personally prefer Sparkpeople.com when I need to change things up because it’s a fitness hub with a plethora of workout plans, many of which are customizable, and meal plans for those looking to get fit.
6. Cancel Your Gym Membership
If you’re a member of a gym, consider canceling the membership and embracing the great outdoors or group workouts. Check the local recreation or community center for free exercise classes.
7. Only Carry Cash
Can you spare $100 each week without turning your finances upside down? Force yourself to save the funds by setting aside a cash-only expenditure budget for the week. Once the cash is gone, your spending is done.
8. Set Aside $20 Each Day
Can’t wrap your head around the prior suggestion? Break the task into small increments. Once five days have passed, you will have met your goal. High five!
9. Sell Some Stuff
Head to the local consignment shop or a retailer, such as a Plato’s Closet, that will pay you on the spot for your gently used goods. Can’t find one in your area? Try having a garage sale or set up shop at the local flea market.
10. Get to Work
Pick up a temporary side gig to quickly accumulate the funds. You can also let your creative juices flow and sell your products and services to others.
11. Clip Coupons
No newspapers lying around? No problem. Head on over to a website like The Krazy Coupon Lady or Coupon Mom, where you will find printable coupons and instructions for using them. In some cases, a coupon can actually qualify you for cash back from the store.
12. Call Your Car Insurance Company
Inquire about any discounts that may be available to you. Also, raising the deductibles on your auto and homeowners insurance will drop your premiums. Just be sure you have money in savings to cover your increased out-of-pocket expense in case you have to file a claim.
13. Cut Out Spending for an Entire Day
You may be thinking that I’ve lost my mind, but I haven’t. It’s totally possible to accomplish this feat if you plan ahead and keep busy on the day of execution.
14. Decrease Your Energy Consumption
Have you tried reaching out to your utility company to schedule a free energy audit of your home? If not, now’s the time to do so. In the meantime, unplug any chargers or appliances that are not in use.
Set the thermostat a little higher to cut your air conditioning bill, or lower the temperature in winter and layer up. Also, consider hanging your clothes out on the clothesline to give the dryer a break.
15. Don’t Use Your Credit Card
Especially if your APR is exorbitant, interest can greatly increase the cost of things you buy with your credit card if you don’t pay off your balance in full each month. Hide the magic plastic and don’t increase the amount you owe on the card.
16. Disconnect the Cable
Freaked out by this suggestion? At least shave off the extras and try online television instead. Also, inquire about any discounts on bundles that you may be eligible for.
17. Skip the Spa
It’s always great to pamper yourself, but it can also add up quickly. My last spa visit, which consisted of a manicure, pedicure and massage, was well over $100.
18. Iron Your Own Clothes
You can iron shirts and blouses, can’t you? No need to pay a professional. I understand that some clothing articles mandate professional handling by a dry cleaner, but there are sometimes ways around that.
19. Call Your Cellphone Provider
If they aren’t willing to reduce your monthly bill, switch providers or get a prepaid plan. Also, check out Republic Wireless. They do the job just as well as the big boys. I know from experience.
20. Track Your Expenses
The simple act of paying attention to all of your daily expenses may be motivation enough to spend less. Join a free expense tracking service, then check in daily to see where your money’s going.
21. Pick Up Some Free Cash
Does your employer match your retirement contributions? If you’re not getting the full match, add another hundred bucks to your 401(k) and get some free money from the boss.
Using a combination of these methods should help you reach your goal in no time, and continue your savings journey.
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