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the easiest ways to save money

Updated on October 17, 2012

No matter who you are, you probably long to have more in your savings. Saving money is one of the simplest and yet effective ways to leverage your income. People often think they need to make more money. However, many just need to save more of what they do make. Here are some simple tips for saving money.

Make it automatic! Setup a savings account that automatically drafts a specified amount from your checking account wach month. Try 5-10% of your income. Over time that savings acccount will begin to grow larger than your checking account ever dreamed of being. By keeping it out of your checking account, you are less inclined to spend that money.

Make 401k contributions. Many employers offer 401k matching contributions. At Fdex, where I work, If I invest 6% of my pay into my 401k, Fedex will match 3%. That's an automatic 50% return on that money! Now that money is invested before I get paid, I literally can't spend it. I have to save it.

Keep an eye on what you spend. Nobody wants to budget, but that's what successful people and busninesses do every day. Take nte of where your money is going. If you make 40k/yr and spend 1500/month on eating out, you need to budget more effectively. That's not to say eating out is always a crime. My family can eat at some sit down restaurants cheaper than we can fix certain meals at home. Pay attention to what you spend on what!

Cut the luxuries you don't need. I haven't had cable for years. I n the mean time I have had more time to get stuff done. Also, if I like a show, I can usually watch it online. My cable bill started at 99/month, then 150/ month, then 168/month... It is insane how much we spend on cable and can't ever find anything on the 450 channels we pay for. Starbucks is another savings eater. It just seems ridiculous to spend $5 for a small cup of coffee. Our grandparents would strangle us if they saw us drop that kind of money on hot water. We got a Keurig a few years back. It is way cheaper, and you can buy Starbucks coffee for it. Gym memberships are another budget buster. I decided a long time ago that my city rec center was capable of keeping me in shape. Instead of spending $75/month, I spend $15/YEAR. This may sound awful, but the truth is I am in way better shape than many people spending 60x what I spend for gym membership. It's not what you spend, it's what you use. Use Redbox more often. My wife hates movie theatres. She hates the seats, the crowd, everything. Her big complaint is simple though, "why spend $8/ticket, when I could wait and watch it in the comfort of my home in my chair?" She has a great point. Redbox is 99 cents. Netflix is also an affordable option. You will notice in every category we haven't abstained from a good time. We have found more affordable ways to eat, exercise, and entertain ourselves.

Save on your non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are bills that won't go away: mortgages, rent, insurance, groceries, power bill, etc. Find ways to bring these costs down. Start by shopping around for insurance. Every few years it is wise to consider shopping for better car insurance. Consider rolling your home and car into one bundle. It may be that your mortgage rate is high, and could be refinanced at today's historci low rates. Coupons have become a huge business in this current recession. It is a simple way to lower your grocery bill. Save more money on gas. Make sure you aren't spending money you don't have to. Check your tires for proper inflation. Empty your trunk and backseat of deadweight killing your gas mileage.

Learn what to do with that money, once you've saved it. I am a big believer in leveraging time and money. Money isn't doing any good sitting in a low interest bearing account. I have written a few posts concerning investing and stocks. Check them out here and here.

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