Credit Crunch: Small and Big Ways to Save

 With just a little attention to detail, you will be extremely successful at setting aside money. By identifying a specific goal or item to save for, you will be motivated and more successful in achieving what you want. After looking at both major and minor ways to save, choose the ones that will work best for you given your financial situation and your personality.

There are many small ways to save money.:

Save your change. Put quarters in a jam jar at the end of the day. Better yet, save some dollar bills.

Save "found" money. Tell your family you've started a savings account for your car and encourage cash gifts. Other sources of extra money that can go into your car account are tax refunds, freelance or moonlighting income, a bonus, money borrowed by a friend and paid back or the dollar value of items returned to a store.

Hold a tag sale. Do a clean sweep of your closets, basement, attic and garage and sell what you don't need.

Clip coupons. If you combine coupons with specials, you'll notice the difference. Check out the online coupon sites for exceptional savings. You can print out these coupons and have them honored at the local retailer's store.

Shop sales and buy in bulk. Only you know how much you can save here. And, avoid convenience store purchases. Any given item at a convenience store can cost upwards of 100% more than at WalMart!

Skip coffee to go and vending machines. If you check the price of a cappuccino at your local coffee shop it's an average of $4 for a medium! So, one medium coffee in the morning and one in the afternoon comes to about $8 a day. If you do this five times a week, in the course of a year we're talking more than $2000!

Take your lunch. Doing this every day would really be boring, but how about two or three times a week? Besides, if you take a bit of time and prepare something really special for your lunch you will find that not only will it cost a mere fraction of going out for your mid day meal, but it will probably be far more delicious than the dreck shovelled out at most lunch counters and cafeterias.

Lastly, remember that the key to making these "mini-savers" work is to keep a running tally of how much you've saved, and then always put that money in your savings account.

There are also some ways to save a large amount of money:

Sign up this week for an automatic savings plan. One may be available where you work. Or, arrange with a mutual fund company to have money taken out of your bank account every month and transferred into the fund.

If possible, pay your credit card in full every month. The rate on unpaid balances can run as high as 18%. Paying off the balance on a card that charges 18% a year in interest is really as good as earning 18% on an investment. So, chip away at your balance. That money could be going into your savings account.

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