- Personal Finance
How to Effectively Save Money
Making Extra Cash Quickly in Tough Economic Times
Recently, many Americans have found themselves in a bind to pay for things they use to pay for with no trouble. For example, monthly payments become hard to make and people wind up with little or no cash on hand very quickly. Personally, I find myself in the same sort of financial trouble. However, in the past few weeks I have done some research on ways to put a little more cash in my wallet and effectively save money with little time or effort. Keep reading and embark on my bigger quest for 100 total money saving tips! If you like what you see already visit my next set of 20 tips on my other hub, More Ways to Effectively Save Money.
Tips To Get You Started
- I became a worker for https://www.mturk.com, a site where you can do simple tasks for other individuals and make a fair amount of extra cash. You get to choose which task you wish to accept and the dollar reward is provided so you can be the judge whether the task meets the price. In only an hour as a mechanical turker (fancy name for worker) , I earned $23.00. Now, I know the income may sometimes be minimal, but this is a fun alternative to aimlessly surfing the web for hours. Probably the biggest reason why I like Amazon's mturk.com is because it allows you to link your bank accounts with your earnings. As long as you have $10.00 in your Amazon account, you can make as many transfers into your bank account as necessary. Estimated Monthly Earnings: $100
- If your bank uses an online banking service, I recommend constantly keeping up with individual purchases and changes to your account balances. I bank with Bank of America, and I set up a organizer they offer called My Portfolio. This program analyzes every expense and income product that goes in or out of my accounts. With My Portfolio, You can also link investment, PayPal, email, and even frequent flier mile accounts. Ultimately, find a way to know what your entire Net Worth is doing so you can continually track your progress and see results. Estimated Monthly Savings: $50-$150
- This may be a desperate an obvious way to save money, but many Americans simply don't do it. Search every corner of your house for loose change. Your laundry room, nightstand or dresser, and cars are great places to find good amounts of change. Now, once all this change is collected, don't go and take it to a coinstar machine or some device that gives you cash for your coin. These machines take around $0.10 for every dollar, which adds up very quickly. Roll your coins and take them to the bank. The bank will deposit these coins directly into your savings account. Estimated Monthly Earnings: $10
- Spend less each day at lunch. When I go out, I always bring large amounts of change to top off the dollar so that it seems like you saved an extra buck. Drinks are very overpriced so bring one of your favorite bottled beverages from home. Estimated Monthly Savings: $40
- I have never had credit cards, but lately I have even stopped using my debit card. Try to find ways to accumulate actual cash before buying whatever you need. It feels good to see your checking account balance unchanged after weeks of spending with cash.
- As of March 27, 2011, AAA determined the national average for fuel prices to be $3.578 per gallon. Recently, gas prices have climbed quickly due to turmoil in the Middle East. However, a website called http://www.mygallons.com/ ensures that you will never have to pay more than the current price per gallon of gas again. Let me explain: First you purchase any amount of gallons at the current price of gas according to your state, and then you wait for the price of gas to rise. When the price continues to skyrocket, you can cash in your gallons at the low price that the gallons were purchased for. The site clearly explains how the program works, so I encourage you to take a look at this interesting way to protect yourself against the rapidly rising price of gasoline.
- What many individuals do not realize is that store clerks and managers are not always locked in on a listed sale price for a certain item. Next time you go out shopping for something ask to speak with the store manager, and try to negotiate a lower price with him or her. Lately, this tactic has been successful because of how hard the economic times are, and stores are desperate to sell items. You will be much more likely to obtain a lower price if you bring the cash amount needed to purchase the item. Stores are charged a fee for credit/debit card transactions, so cash always looks more appealing.
- If you are in a desperate bind for making large amounts of cash quickly, day trading on the stock market can be a last resort option. However, day trading is not for everyone. I first experimented with day trading on a virtual stock market game site. The site I used was wallstreetsurvivor.com because it is free, and it closely resembles what actual trading is like. I was given a $100,000 virtual portfolio and I gained 60% in a week through the day trading of ETF's or exchange traded funds. Some common ETF's that I traded had the symbols BGU, BGZ, SSO, SDS, TNA, and TNZ. I strongly recommend you experiment on some virtual stock market site before investing in these real stocks.
- Sell brand name clothing that you own to Plato's Closet. Plato's Closet is a store that buys and sells gently used clothing especially popular name brands like Abercrombie, Hollister, Old Navy, Gap, etc. When you decide to sell your clothes, bring in clothes that are in season. Plato's closet usually pays good amounts for name brand clothes. I will include a link to all the Plato's Closet store locations nationwide. There are located in nearly every major city. http://platoscloset.com/locations_all.html
- Take part in an online survey company. Surveys provide great opportunities for making money very quickly while simply answering a few questions. However, there are many more scam survey sites than sites that are actually legitimate. The only site I can recommend to you as totally professional and timely in their payments is 2020research.com. 2020 Research always pays at least $75.00 per survey, and sometimes they pay more for longer or more specific surveys. Overall, be very careful in choosing a survey site to participate in.
- Simplify your life! Take this afternoon to reflect or jot down a list of a few things that really made your life complicated in 2011, and make it a goal to remove those things starting today in 2012. Complicated areas of our life cause us to stress and prevent us from being productive. A simplification process will allow you to save money by not having so many different activities attempting to tap your bank account.
Endure a Fiscal Fast! A fiscal fast, by my definition, is simply an entire week of not spending a single penny. I challenge you to undergo a fast of this sort to efficiently utilize the food and other things in your house in order to size down what you need to live off of. A Fiscal Fast even once or twice a year can save you thousands of dollars. Additionally, a Fiscal Fast helps you think of new ways to save money and make the most of the tools that are around your house without purchasing new things.
Take advantage of manufacturer's coupons and combine these with individual grocery store specials to save on groceries. Doing this will give double discounts on items from your local grocery store. For example, a manufacturer's coupon gives say $1 off a particular item. When you search local grocery store sales and find that same item on sale, you still get to take the $1 off and apply it to the already reduced price. Numerous couponing websites provide printable coupons and individual grocery store lists of current sales for stores across the entire nation to help you save twice.
Buy all books online on a site that compares book prices across multiple sites to find the lowest price. I use websites that search nearly every bookseller on the internet for my college textbooks because it uses a multi-price optimization to find the lowest prices on combinations of books. For example, it determines special offers from specific book websites like free shipping or percentage discounts and finds you the best prices this way. These websites are helpful for all and any books, so even if your just looking for a new release novel be sure to first look online before simple buying at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
Want to save even more? Check a worldwide database of libraries to check out your book for free.
Order water every time you eat out for both sit-down and fast food restaurants for a solid month. Sodas and other flavored drinks costs more than $2.00 a drink at dine in restaurants and around $1.50 at fast food joints. Choosing not to eat out entirely in a month is asking too much, that is why I think ordering water at meals is a good and healthy start. Kill two birds with one stone, and be on your way to drinking those eight recommended glasses of water per day and save a couple of bucks!
When you go grocery shopping, check the price per unit to figure out what the best value is. For example, a gallon of orange juice costs x amount of dollars and a 1/2 gallon costs a different amount. To know which orange juice is the best deal, the price per unit will tell you just that. The price per unit label has become very useful lately because different companies package their goods in different amounts. The price per unit will be in tiny print just above or below the price for the item.
Before you purchase an item costing $100 or more, write the item down on a list and wait on buying it for at least seven days. Waiting on big purchases for a number of days prevents an impulse purchase. It can be very beneficial to research the item you want to purchase and compare prices online on sites like Amazon before buying the item in the store. Additionally, you may discover you longer need the item that seven days ago you thought you couldn't live without.
Start your own garden. Space permitting, growing your own garden can both make you money and significantly lower your grocery bill. You can sell your vegetables at a local farmer's market, or you can eat them for yourself. Additionally, you can freeze your veggies and eat them in the winter when the price of vegetables at the store is much higher. Want to take it a step further? You can search for community gardens near you if space is not available on your own property, or you can plan and start your own community garden for others in your community to benefit from as well. The American Community Garden Association lays out exactly how to create a community garden if you wish to help your community in this way. Often times, churches have extra land on their property that can be used for community gardens. You can also find all the community gardens nationwide here: http://acga.localharvest.org/
If you are planning to purchase a new or used car sometime in the near future, use fueleconomy.gov to compare multiple vehicles side by side to compare the annual fuel cost of each vehicle you are considering. The difference in cost can be thousands when a car gets only 5-6 mpg better than another. In calculating the annual fuel cost, you can customize the calculator to meet your specifics exactly based on annual miles, percentage highway or city, and current price per gallon of gasoline.
- Last but not least, begin writing on HubPages or some other online writing community that pays you based on traffic to your articles. I signed up for the HubPages Ad program in December and have earned at least $50.00 per month consistently. I consider that a nice supplemental side income source for writing about things that I am passionate about.
- Make it a habit to visit thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army on a bi-weekly basis at minimum. These stores often times have discounted antiques, vintage items, or other marketable goods that can be bought then immediately sold on eBay or Craigslist for good profit. The best way to do this is to use a smartphone in store and search completed listings on eBay for the exact item you are looking to buy at the thrift store. If the item is consistently selling on eBay for a price 30% or more of what it is listed at in the store, purchase it and immediately put it up for auction on eBay.