In your list of New Year’s resolutions, how many times have you included the item “save money”? Have you ever been successful in sticking to such a resolution? If the answer is a big no, you’re not alone. A lot of people find saving money to be a big challenge.
Perhaps one of the most common reasons is that they think that in order to save money, they need to have a lot of extra funds left from their budget. After paying for their monthly expenses, most people will not be too willing to part with their hard-earned dollars – even if it means allotting it on a savings account – so they’d rather spend it on big and small luxuries.
The good news is that there really is no need for you to have a second income source just so that you can start saving money. Remember that every little effort counts. Even if you only get to set aside $1 per day on your coin bank, that would add up to $365 by the end of the year if you save money daily. Pooling your small efforts together will add up to a lot when done on a regular basis. The savings will even be multiplied if you get the entire family in on the act. In lieu of this, we are presenting to you 100 small but very significant ways to save money in a week, which you can continue on for the next months and years.
Save Money on Food
- Cook at home more frequently. To save money on ingredients and cooking fuel, cook dishes in large batches. Serve only half and freeze the rest, which you can serve later on.
- Instead of always buying your lunch from pricey delis near the office, brown bag it. Use the ingredients that you already have at home to make a healthy sandwich or a hearty meal.
- Brew your own coffee instead of spending money buying fancy lattes from coffee shops every day.
- Whenever possible, buy items in bulk. Plan your weekly menu so that you can save money on ingredients.
- Always cook whatever’s in season. If tomatoes are sold at a very cheap price, include them in all your dishes. Pre-cook pasta sauce or stews using tomato as a base. Not only will this save you money, but it’s also very healthy.
- Avoid buying snacks from vending machines or gas stations. These almost always have higher prices than what you can buy from grocery stores.
- Avoid sugary beverages from the store and make your own fruit-infused water at home instead. Not only will this save you money, but you can be healthier as well.
- Eat out less frequently.
- To resist the temptation to order pizza for dinner, plan your meals accordingly. Knowing what you need to prepare every night of the week will release you from the temptation of having to overthink what you should cook for dinner.
- Avoid eating convenience foods, junk food and fast food. Prepare healthy, delicious, quick-cooking dishes at home instead.
Save Money on Electricity
- Watch less TV to save money on electricity.
- Install a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. Adjusting the temperature by one degree during the winter season will save you money on heating costs.
- During the summer months, have the ceiling fan running in a counter-clockwise direction to allow the cool air to circulate, saving you money on air conditioning costs. During the winter season, have the ceiling fan running at a low speed in the opposite direction.
- Replace your existing fluorescent and incandescent lamps with CFL or energy-saving light bulbs.
- Instead of lighting up the whole room, save electricity by using task lighting fixtures which you can place on desks, computer tables, or the kids’ study tables.
- Skip the hot water cycle when doing the laundry.
- Only run the dishwasher once it is full. If you only have a few glasses or plates to wash, clean them manually.
- Get rid of phantom electricity by using a power strip. This way, the electrical appliances and electronic gadgets which are left on standby mode will not consume any electricity if not completely turned off.
- Use heat-conducting appliances during the cooler hours of the day, preferably late in the afternoon or at night.
- Regularly replace your air conditioning filter. If the furnace needs replacement, look for a model which is at least 90% efficient.
Save Money on Clothes
- Do an inventory of your closet and get rid of the things that you have not worn for the past year. If you haven’t worn a garment for the last six months, you are not likely to wear it in the future. Sell your extra clothes at a garage sale, or online.
- When buying clothes for kids, make sure not to stock up on too much. Kids grow up fast and they can easily outgrow the cute items that you will buy them when they’re still small.
- Invest in good quality classics which you can mix and match with other items in your closet.
- Learn how to do a basic sew or patch so that you can repair clothing instead of tossing them away.
- Mix and match the outfits that you already have to switch up your look. Changing your makeup and accessories will also give you a different look every time you dress to go out.
- Buy seasonal clothes at the end of the season. For instance, you can purchase swimsuits at a bargain right before the stores stock up for the fall season.
- Instead of buying a lot of new clothes for winter, simply layer the summer tops that you have and put on a cozy coat.
- Before buying a garment that’s on sale, make sure that it really is way below the regular price.
- Make your jeans last longer by washing it with vinegar.
- Only buy clothes which are a good fit for you. Even if a suit is inexpensive, if it’s a great fit, it will still make you look your best.
Save Money when Buying Groceries
- Never go grocery shopping when hungry, because you will end up reaching for things that you’re craving for instead of what you actually need.
- Always have a list handy when going grocery shopping. Make an inventory of the things in your pantry and list down the items that you still need.
- If you are using cash to pay for your groceries, place the bills in an envelope. Do not carry extra cash or cards so that you can strictly stick to what you have on your list – and spend only what you have.
- Do take advantage of coupons from magazines when going grocery shopping. However, only use them for things that you would normally buy.
- Do your grocery shopping only once a week, or every two weeks. The less frequently you shop, the more money you will save.
- Do not discount buying the less popular brands. These are usually the ones located at a higher or lower display case than the eye-level.
- Scour the stores in your area and only buy the items which have the cheapest prices at a certain store. For instance, if the dollar store is where you can buy the cheapest toilet paper, stock up on it and only buy toilet paper there.
- Even if a grocery item is on sale, always check on the per unit price so you won’t be coerced into buying ten cans when you only need one or two.
- If you love cooking, grow your own herbs so that you can stop buying them at the grocery store.
- Skip the pre-packaged salad mixes or trail mix. These are more expensive than buying the greens or nuts that you need and mixing them yourself.
Save Money when Budgeting
- When opening a basic savings account with a bank, look for one with no account keeping fees, free monthly statements, no minimum deposit amounts, or overdrawn fees.
- Always pay the minimum amount due on your credit card bills to save money on interest.
- If you must, call your credit card provider to change the due dates of your bill. This will save you money on late fees.
- Automate your utility bills payment so you won’t have to pay for late fees.
- Make sure that you know what your bank balance is so you won’t have to pay for overdraft fees.
- Only withdraw cash from ATMs which you know your bank will not charge fees.
- Get rid of your credit cards with annual fees, or with high-interest rates.
- Keep track of your spending and stick to a certain amount per month so you won’t have to go over budget.
- Always review your insurance plans when it’s up for renewal. Call your provider and ask them if there’s a way for you to lower your monthly dues, especially if you are a loyal customer.
- Always set aside money for an emergency fund. You’ll never know when an emergency might crop up, and it pays to be prepared.
Save Money when Shopping
- Sign up for free customer rewards programs.
- If you always shop at the same store, enroll in the establishment’s loyalty program where you will usually earn credit cash backs or discounts.
- Go comparison shopping before buying anything.
- Avoid impulse buys. If you must, only carry cash with the amount to buy exactly what you need so you won’t be tempted to purchase other items just because they’re on sale.
- Know which items to scrimp on and which items to splurge on. For example, a pair of shoes that costs more might be a better buy than a cheaper pair, which will not last you for more than a year.
- When shopping for makeup, ask the sales staff for samples first. You might not like the shade of a lipstick, or a foundation might not blend well with your skin.
- When buying furniture, negotiate the price if you see that there are small imperfections on the item.
- Always visit thrift stores or garage sales if there are household items or home furnishing that you need to buy – the prices here are generally lower.
- Before buying a big ticket item, discreetly ask the sales staff if it is likely to go on sale anytime soon.
- Always be on the lookout for special offers that will actually save you money when going shopping.
Save Money on Entertainment
- Take full advantage of your public library. There are free books, DVDs, magazines, audio books, and other things that you can borrow.
- If there’s a book that you would like to buy, check if you can buy it used first. Or, trade another book that you have with a friend who has already read it.
- If you want to watch a movie on the big screen, check out the afternoon matinee. The tickets are cheaper, and you won’t have to deal with long lines.
- If watching DVDs is your main form of entertainment, get an online DVD membership through sites like Blockbuster Online or Netflix.
- When booking flights for vacations, secure your airline tickets at least seven weeks in advance. This is when airlines usually offer the best rates.
- Instead of always going out with friends, entertain at home. A potluck dinner is cheaper – and more fun – than a four-course meal at a fancy restaurant.
- When holding a barbecue party at home, buy the cheaper cuts of meat and marinade them overnight to extract the full flavor.
- Check out the local calendar in your area so that you can go to free events like outdoor concerts, fairs, art exhibitions, etc.
- Instead of going out as a family, organize game nights at home so you’ll only have to spend money on snacks.
- When going out for drinks, take advantage of happy hour.
Save Money on Transportation
- Use apps like GasBuddy.com to know which gas stations offer the lowest rates. This is especially helpful if you are going on road trips when even a few cents off will make a big difference with the total cost.
- If you must buy a car or replace the one that you have, consider a second-hand vehicle.
- Instead of paying for big repairs, have your car regularly maintained.
- Use a bicycle or walk when traveling small distances to save money on gas. You can get your dose of exercise in the process.
- Join the other 35 million Americans who are using public transportation.
- Skip the professional car wash and clean your car at home by yourself.
- Always maintain the recommended pressure on your car tires. Using too much pressure will cause the engine to work overtime, so more gas is consumed.
- Speeding will decrease the fuel economy of your car, so drive within the limit.
- Always shop around for the best deals in car insurance rates.
Save Money on Communications
- If you are not using it regularly, get rid of your landline telephone.
- Check with your mobile phone provider about which subscriber plan best suits you.
- If you don’t really use your smartphone to check on your e-mail messages, ditch the pricey unlimited data plan. Only pay for the calling, texting or data service that you need based on your monthly usage.
- Instead of paying for long distance charges when placing calls, use Skype or other Internet-based calling services.
- If you place a lot of calls on your mobile phone, always review the calls and ask for credit for erroneous or excessive charges.
Additional Ways to Save Money
- Instead of buying trash bags, recycle grocery bags to line trash cans.
- If you are fond of collecting items, make money by selling them instead of collecting more.
- If you feel the need to buy something, follow the 30-day rule. Go back to the store after 30 days to determine if you still want to buy it. By then, the urge to spend your money might have already gone.
- Instead of buying ready-made items from the store, make your own gifts. Gift baskets, food mixes, freshly baked cookies or handmade soap make for great gift items for friends and family.
- Spend time with your kids at home instead of bringing them someplace fancy.
- Scope out yard sales and garage sales where you can buy items at a lower price than what you’d normally pay for.
- If there’s a major electronic or electrical appliance that needs replacing, always look for an energy efficient model.
- Regularly clean or change your vehicle’s air filter. Doing so will improve your mileage by as much as 7%.
- Don’t use shopping as a way to relieve stress. Instead of retail therapy, find a sport that you can engage in, or talk it out with a friend.
- Get rid of unused club memberships, such as gyms or country clubs. You can always renew them if you find a reason for doing so in the future.
- Save money on trips to the emergency room or medication costs by keeping your hands clean. Eating healthy and exercising regularly will also do the trick.
- Trade babysitting services with a relative or a friend so you won’t have to pay a nanny.
- When buying personal care items, do try out generic brand which work just as well as the pricier brands.
- When signing up for something, always ask for the initial fees to be waived. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Set short-term and long-term financial goals that will motivate you to save money, no matter how small, on a regular basis.
Take note of these tips and watch your savings accumulate in just one week!