10 Small Tips to Save Money
Many pieces of financial advice require radical financial changes. Refinance a loan. Draft a budget and try to follow it. Shop around for new services and hope you get a better deal. Don't buy anything you don't need for a month and see how much you save. The challenge is finding ways to save money that don't trade money for time and labor you may not have available.
Here are 10 small tips to save money that don’t take a lot of time or effort but can pay off big over the long run.
Tips for Reducing Regular Expenses
- Review your monthly statements for items to cancel. These items may be monthly charges to gaming sites you no longer pay, gym memberships that you do not use or magazine subscriptions. Did you sign up for a committed giving plan you can no longer afford? Cancel “food of the month” clubs. Cancel at least one recurring charge per month while you are paying the bills, and the savings will slowly add up. However, the savings will compound over time. Ten dollars in cancelled expenses saves $120 per year every year it is no longer charged. Cancelling a $20 monthly charge saves $240 a year.
- Go over your car lease or automotive contract. Is the dealer charging you for theft insurance that is redundant to your auto insurance? Are you being charged for car warranties you are not using? Another “gotcha” car dealers throw at customers is charging them a fee for automatically debiting the car payment or lease payment from someone’s bank account. It is cheaper to pay the car payment via electronic bill pay than pay the dealer a few dollars a month for the privilege. You do not have to refinance the car loan to save money by canceling extras in your contract like redundant theft protection or car rental coverage.
- Review your car insurance, auto insurance and life insurance. Can you lower your rate by increasing your deductible? Are you paying for insurance company add-ons you will likely never use, such as cancer insurance or heart attack insurance?
- Plan one grocery store trip per week. Stock up on your weekly trips and don’t go to the store any other days. You’ll buy fewer impulse items and can get discounts on the rest.
Tips for Making Money for What You Already Have
5. Go through your closets for items you do not use or wear. Take clothing to a consignment shop for cash and let them donate to charity what they will not accept.
6. Sell the gadgets you don’t use. This could be anything from the old cell phone sitting on the charger to the Soda Stream you never used. If selling them on Craigslist or eBay is too much trouble, pawn shops are increasingly buying items like this to sell to bargain conscious shoppers.
7. Switch from dining out with friends to pot-lucks and picnics.
8. Make larger batches of your favorite dinners. Then put the extra in freezable Tupperware to take to work for lunches during the week. If you make sandwiches for the kids’ lunches, make an extra dozen to freeze for yourself and take the next day.
Tips to Reduce Future Expenses
9. Plan to use credit card points and redeem them for birthday presents, Father’s Day gifts, Mother’s Day gifts and Christmas presents. Set these items in a corner of the closet and wrap as gifts when appropriate. Parents can stock up on multiple small toys from these catalogs so that they never have to rush to the store again when a child comes home with a birthday party invitation.
10. Do you frequently travel for work? You do not have to be on a plane every day to claim business expenses. The gas to visit a customer’s site across town or having lunch with a supplier counts as a business expense. When you review your bank statements or credit card statements, do so with a business expense statement on hand. Fill it out and send to your boss or finance for reimbursement. You may want to set aside a time the first week of each month to turn in reimbursement requests for the prior month.