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Twenty commonsense money saving tips for everyone

Updated on November 28, 2012

Saving money in the new year

As the holidays recede into the background, you're probably having some sobering thoughts about money and expenses. One way around this is to consider some smarter ways to more wisely use what you have, so here are 20 money saving tips. You'll find these to be commonsense. Some of these you've even probably heard before, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded again every once in a while


Make your own meals

Eating in restaurants is expensive. Eating at home is cheaper and sometimes even more fun. When you can buy your own ingredients, you not only control what you put into the food, but you can make many more portions. All it takes is a little planning ahead and maybe freezing some meals at the beginning of the week. Otherwise, you might end up spending a lot on lunches, dinners and snacks on the run. And that adds up.

Enjoy your leftovers

It's possible to get creative with leftovers especially after cooking a large family meal for a gathering or a party. Rather than throwing them out or letting them rot in your fridge, try recycling them with a little extra rice, vegetables, pasta and some herbs and spices.

Go to the grocery store after eating and not before

"Hungry people make the worst shoppers", as the saying goes. If you are hungry when you shop, you may have a tendency to buy more junk food (that box of icecream bars on sale for example!). The next thing you know, you have gone over budget. Make a list. Have a a snack before you leave the house, such as big juicy apple.

Buy basic items at wholesale prices

I’m a great fan of the Costco Warehouse, where you can buy large quantities of basic items at a lower per unit price than most places.


Here are some money saving tips for when you have to get from point A to point B.

Ride the bus instead of using your car.

I live in a large city with a great transit system. In most cases, it’s the best way to get around, especially in rush hour when the city is grid-locked.

Use a bicycle instead of your car for short distances

Taking the car short distances can waste gas. So try taking the bike instead. Not only will you get some exercise, but you will also save on parking costs. Besides, it's environmentally friendly. I have a rack on my bicycle for hauling things that buy and also use a nap sack for shopping. I also tend to buy less if I have to cart everything home by bicycle.

Get more quotes for your auto insurance

Shop for the most affordable rates. Make sure also to consider what you get for the money.


Shop online

Some vendors will give you a discount for purchasing online. The airlines are one example. Retail companies large and small also offer web shopping. I recently bought some software that retails for around $300 about $200, by ordering it from an online vendor. Shop around. Check competitors. This is all quite convenient with the click of a mouse, and in the end, you will be the one who benefits by keeping a few extra dollars in your pocket.

Use Auction sites

You can find some good deals on auction sites and end up buying an item at a price that is lower than the retail price. Check out EBay or QuiBids.

Buy used items

Second hand books are cheaper. Reconditioned computer hardware works as well as brand new devices. If you shop around, you can find some good deals. My students are particularly good at this. They seek out the cheapest deal on a textbook all the time. Try also checking out neighborhood yard sales, garage sales or auctions for a good deal on household item. I've picked up practically new items or even never used items at some of these.

Don’t always buy a name brand.

You'll pay a premium for buying a brand name, but if you go for functionality, you may find that if you substitute a brand name with a “no-name” you will be just fine and save money. I find this to be true with small items such as computer peripherals and panty hose or even home hardware items.

Look for swaps

Swaps are more popular these days. Try your friends, relatives and even certain shops. You may be surprised that you could exchange, books, music, games, gadgets and more.

Check Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist or other places in Web 2.0

You can find a deal or two at these websites on household items or book. Put the word out on your social networking sites that you are looking for certain things. Someone in your network can probably help you.


Put your credit card away

Using a credit card makes you spend more.It gives you the illusion that you have more money than you really do. If you don’t pay off your bill each month you’ll accrue interest which then compounds. Use your credit cards only for emergencies.

Use the ATM at your home branch

Service charges are outrageous these days especially for routine withdrawls that you make at another bank other than your own and save the $1.50 or $2.00

Bank with institutions that have "no-fee" accounts

Some bank fees today will cancel out any interest you might earn. Try to find an "no-fee" savings account that only earns interest.

Use no fee credit cards

What’s more important to you? Incentives such as trip miles or saving money. I used to have a card that levied a $125 a year service charge. To top it off the Interest was quite high too, even though there was a nice incentive to earn airline points. I scrapped this card because both the Interest and the yearly payment starting adding up.

Negotiate a lower interest rate on your credit card

You may not know this but it is possible to negotiate a rate reduction on your credit card, if you are carrying a balance in your card and it has been like that for quite some time, then try to negotiate for rate reductions. If you are carrying a large debt but are making regular payments, some credit card companies may work with you. I have done this myself and saved some money in interest payments.

Try to pay off your credit card debt ASAP

Monthly credit payments will erode your disposable income. Paying just the minimum will prolong your misery. Cut back now and pay off the credit card debt. The higher your debt, the faster the interest will compounding. Try to transfer your balances to low interest or no interest card or get a low interest consolidation loan with manageable monthly payments and destroy your cards. Once you do, you may even find you go into a bit of withdrawal (using credit cards and buying loads of goods can produce a real high), but getting off the debting merry-go-round will lead to more sanity.


Consider alternate phone services such as VOIP

I believe that some types of landlines will be obsolete. VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) is staring to offer people some inexpensive alternative. I use Skype to call members of my family in North America for free. Another service called Magic Jack can turn your computer into a phone terminal and you can then plug your phone into your computer. That will cost $30 a year. You can also buy a phone number through Skype and let Skype be your phone.

To sum up

These are just a few of the money-saving tips you can implement as the year gets rolling. The options are only as limited as your imagination.


Submit a Comment

  • Rhonda_M profile image

    Rhonda Malomet 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    So have I. There's a lot there if you look around!

  • lifelovemystery profile image

    Michelle Orelup 5 years ago from Houston, TX

    I have definitely saved money with purchases on eBay! Great tips!