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With the new year comes New Years Resolutions. One of the top resolutions each year for many families is to save money.
You will always have some expenses that are “fixed” such as your car payment and mortgage or rent. But when it comes to your “flexible” expenses, you can often find ways to reduce those expenses and save money and we’re going to show you how.
Here are 50 ways to save money in the upcoming year
1. Take advantage of existing memberships and discounts.
Are you a member of an auto club such as AAA or a membership club through your bank or credit union? Often those memberships include discounts on items such as eye glasses as well as discounts at restaurants and for travel expenses.
2. Employer Discounts
Does your employer offer discounts such as gym memberships, travel, amusement parks or group buying discounts? With my employer we have access to a site called Tickets At Work where you can often find discounts on hotels and tourist attractions as well as major amusement parks.
3. Bundle Up!
Bundle your internet, cable, and phone service. If you must have these services, check into what bundled packages are available. You can often save money with a bundled deal. But also keep in mind that you may not need all of the services included in the bundle. If you only purchase the services you need, a bundled package may not be the best option for you.
4. Happy Hour!
If you are going out for dinner or drinks take advantage of deals and discounts during happy hour. We will often go out to eat during happy hour when many appetizers are 1/2 price. We will order 2 or 3 appetizers and share them. You have a great meal for a fraction of the cost of an entree.
5. Online Restaurant Discounts
6. Eat At Home
Of course you can save money when dining out but you can also save money by eating at home. Recently at a local grocery store I purchased a large cut of filet mignon. I then had the butcher slice it into 12 6 ounce portions. I paid $35 for 12 steaks. If I had went to a restaurant I would have paid close to $35 just for 2 portions of filet mignon. You can prepare food at home for a fraction of the cost of eating out.
7. Clean Out Your Pantry and Fridge
Sometimes you have to get creative when cooking. You can take your leftovers or items in your pantry and create a meal. If I have leftover vegetables or pieces of meat I will often use them in a soup or casserole. This recipe from our site for Cowboy Ranch Casserole is a great example of using leftovers in another dish. Here’s a great cookbook with recipes to help you Love Your Leftovers
8. Freeze It
Freeze what you can’t use immediately. When cooking for a small family we often have leftovers. I will often package the leftovers and freeze them for use later on.
9. Go Meatless
Many families practice “Meatless Mondays” but you can go meatless any day of the week. There are so many meals that you can prepare without meat. Beans are a great source of protein and are often used for meatless meals. Here’s a recipe for Pinto Beans that I often make as a meatless meal.
10. Pack Your Lunch
Not only will packing your lunch help you save money but it will also help you if you are trying to stick to a diet plan. Personally, I do so much better when sticking with a healthy eating plan if I pack my lunch. If I walk into the cafeteria at work I am tempted to buy things I don’t need…like cake! I recently bought this Salad Bowl and it has been great to take salads for lunch. I can keep different ingredients separate and when I’m ready for lunch I just turn the top part over and dump all the ingredients into my salad.
11. Use Coupons
Use coupons but only for things that you need and are going to purchase anyways. Look for coupons or deals in your local newspapers or online. I also use coupons or coupon codes from Retail Me Not. If I am going to a specific store or restaurant I will check Retail Me Not to see if there are any coupons available.
12. Use Rebates
April is great about using rebates from beer companies to get cash back on her groceries. Many states, such as Kentucky, do not require you to actually purchase the beer in order to use the rebate. You can check local liquor stores or search on Ebay for “No Beer Purchase Required” rebates.
13. Keep Your Car Maintained
By keeping your car properly maintained you are saving money in the long run. Part of this is keeping your tires properly inflated. I can always tell a difference in the miles per gallon that I get from my car when my tires are not properly inflated.
14. Wait and Watch for Sales
Watching for sales is important not just with grocery shopping but also when shopping for clothing as well. Those boots you’ve been looking for…watch for sales around holidays to get them at a cheaper price.
15. Swap Shop!
Do you have a friend or family member that wears the same size that you do? If so, swap clothing with them. This is free and it keeps your wardrobe refreshed!
16. Move It
If you can, move away from high cost areas. Where I live if I were to move to the next town over (about 10 miles away) I could find housing at a much lower cost.
17. Properly Insulate Your Home
By insulating your walls, crawl spaces, attics, water heaters and pipes you can save money on energy costs.
18. Turn It Off
If you are not using it, turn it off. This includes lights, lamps, appliances, televisions, and computers.
19. Turn It Down
To lower your heating cost this winter, lower your thermostat to 68 degrees Farenheit when you’re at home and awake. You can lower it even more when you are away from home or asleep. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat to make it even easier.
20. Avoid unneccessary fees.
Make your payments on time to avoid fees for late payments. Also avoid fees at your bank for overdraft charges and ATM withdrawals.
21. Think It Over
Never purchase big ticket items on an impulse. Take at least one month or longer to think it over, shop around and compare prices. Also, don’t forget to read reviews. Consumer Reports is a great source to check out reviews for many items.
22. Save Your Loose Change
At the end of the day empty your pockets or wallet of all the loose change. Put it in a jar and save it. I have done this for years and use it towards my vacation fund. When I’m ready to go on vacation I go and cash in the change. That money that I’ve saved is my “mad money” or for my trip.
23. Save money by buying items online in bulk.
Many sites, such as Amazon, even offer free shipping on many items. With an Amazon Prime Membership you get free 2 day shipping on thousands of items.
24. Drink Water
Calculate how much you are spending each day on soft drinks or coffee. That’s a big chunk of change isn’t it? I have really worked to cut out soft drinks from my life and the result has been extra money in my bank account!
25. Shop With A List
People who shop with a list spend less money than those who shop without a list. Make a list and stick to it. If you have trouble remembering to take the list to the store with you, try using an app on your phone such as Evernote, to create your grocery lists.
26. Shop Around for Insurance
The first of the year is a great time to shop around and compare your current insurance coverage and rates to those of other companies. Remember to check to see if they offer discounts for multi-policies. When I was getting insurance on our vehicles a couple of years ago it was actually cheaper to get insurance on 2 vehicles and renter’s insurance than it was just to insure the two cars without the renter’s insurance on our home.
27. Raise Your Insurance Deductibles
Consider raising the deductible on your auto or homeowners insurance. Raising the deductible can lower your monthly premiums, resulting in a big savings in a years time.
Consider refinancing your mortgage to lower interest rates and terms.
29. Free Entertainment & Recreation
Do some research to find free or nearly free entertainment or recreation in your area. Are there parks near you? Pack a picnic and take the family to the park for the day. Or go hiking and enjoy the nature. Are there free concerts or events in your area? In our town, during the summer there are free concerts downtown. Everyone brings a lawn chair and enjoys the free music and entertainment.
30. Plan gift giving in advance.
Christmas comes once a year…we all know that so why do most of us wait until the last minute to purchase gifts? The same for birthdays! This past year I started my Christmas shopping much earlier than I normally do. As a result I was able to buy more for everyone on my list, without spending a fortune. I found many great sales and deals during the holiday season. After the holidays is a great time to purchase gifts or gift sets when many stores have them marked down on clearance.
31. Sign Up For Customer Rewards Programs.
Sign up for as many free customer rewards programs as you can. Even if you rarely shop at that store you can still take advantage of money saving deals in the future. It’s a good idea to create a “junk mail” email account that you can use for all of your rewards programs. Then, periodically check that email account to find deals and coupons at different retailers.
32. Give Up Your Habits
Give up expensive habits like alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and soft drinks. As I mentioned before, I have been working to totally give up soda in an effort to get healthy and save money.
33. Light It Up
Use CFL or LED bulbs when you can. While they may cost more initially the financial gain is greater in the long run.
34. Shop Used
When shopping for many items you can find great deals on like new items at thrift stores, yard sales, or even online. Furniture is one thing that you can often buy used and still get a great deal. I have several pieces of furniture that I have purchased at yard sales, thrift store or flea markets. A little elbow grease to clean it up and you have a great piece of furniture.
35. Buy Generic
Often the generic brand is just as good as the name brand. Whether it’s food or medication, buying the generic brand can save you quite a bit of money.
36. Swap Services
Do you need something done around your home? Rather than paying someone do you have a skill or talent that you can swap for their services? My dad does HVAC work and often he will do work for someone in exchange for their help with an issue such as car repairs.
37. Start a Garden
Gardening can give you fruits and vegetables all year long. We grow a garden each summer and then can or freeze much of what we grow, to be able to eat it all year long. If you don’t live in an area where you can grow a large garden, consider creating a container garden on your deck or balcony. For tips on growing a container garden check out The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible from Amazon.
38. Cut Out the Barber
While I wouldn’t cut my own hair (it’s a little harder with long hair) I do cut my husband’s hair and my dad’s hair for them. Invest in a good pair of clippers and some scissors and you can easily cut your hair or your family member’s.
39. Consolidate Student Loans
Many people don’t realize that they can consolidate their student loans. Even a 1% deduction can add up in the long run.
40. Shop Around When Buying A Car
This past year I had to bite the bullet and buy a new car. I took my time, did my research and found a great deal on a used car. Consider purchasing a used car rather than a brand new one. Here are 7 Tips for Buying a Car.
41. Make Your Own
42. Take Public Transportation
If you live in an area where public transportation is available, consider utilizing it for your daily commute to work. Where I live, public transportation is not an option but it is available in many larger cities.
When you can, walk somewhere instead of driving. Again, this is a tip that may not work for everyone. I live in a rural area. It is not feasible for me to walk to work or to the grocery store.
44. Check Your Bills
Check your bills on a regular basis for mistakes. We all make them, including the companies we do business with. Maybe they charged you for a service that you didn’t receive. It’s important to check your bills to avoid paying unnecessary charges.
Craigslist is a great source to find cheap or free items. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure right?
46. Make Travel Plans in Advance
If you are planning a vacation, try to make your reservations in advance to get the best rates. Last year I took a trip with a couple friends for Labor Day weekend. We booked our hotel room a couple of months in advance. Had we waited to book our trip, the cost of 1 room for 1 night would have been more than we paid for all 3 nights total!
47. Skip the dryer
Can you hang your clothes outside to dry? If not, what about hanging them in your shower to dry rather than using your dryer. There are many options for hanging your clothes to dry inside your home such as this Retractable Clothesline or this Folding Clothes Drying Rack.
48. Avoid pre-cut produce.
While it may be convenient to buy that bag of salad mix or those pre-cut bags of broccoli and cauliflower you can save money buy cutting your own or buying an entire head of lettuce rather than the bag of lettuce mix.
49. Cut Out Cable & Satellite
Cutting out your cable and satellite package and switching to online streaming videos can save you quite a bit of money each month. We cut our cable and satellite a couple of years ago and we don’t miss it at all. We subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus and also are able to watch a lot of television shows and movies through our Amazon Prime Membership.
50. Create a Budget
One of the best ways to save money is to create a budget and stick to it. If you know where your money is going it is easier to see what expense you can cut out in order to save even more money each month.