10 Things You Can Do Today to Save Money

Brent Pittman —  10/22/2012

 

scrabble board money

Photo Credit Philip Taylor PT.

There are many ways to save money. The problem is actually doing them. Take this list and starting doing one item per week and you’ll begin to see your financial situation improve.

I’m sure you’ve thought about or heard of all these savings strategies, but the problem is you haven’t started them yet. There is no better time to start saving than today.

1. Cut the cable- If you don’t want to go cold turkey, then at least call and negotiate a better deal. My wife got us from $49.00 a month to $29.00 with just a 5 minute phone call.  That was $240 savings in one year!

2. Shop with a list and a menu in mind at the grocery store- It takes planning and time, but you’ll see the savings roll in. If it’s not on the list, you can’t buy it.

3. Cut the amount of sodas and alcoholic drinks when you’re out- The markup on those drinks are astronomical! “Just a glass of water with lemon please” is what you’ll be saying.

4. Shop generic. Name brands are expensive. Take the generic box of cereal for much cheaper price.

5. Refinance your home at a lower rate- Did you know that interest rates are still at rock bottom prices if you have equity in your home? Shop around and lock in a fixed rate before they start going up. Remember always avoid the ARM!

6. Brown bag it and make that coffee at home. Everyone knows its cheaper to take your lunch and make your tea/coffee at home, but are you doing it now? Time to get out the ole’ lunch sack and pack an apple and turkey sandwich. Don’t forget to set the timer on the coffee pot the night before!

7. Blow some money- Yep you heard me right. Blow some money! We all need a release to spend some money on frivolous items and impulse. The only trick is to work that blow money into your budget and limit it. Blowing a little money each month will help act as release valve, so your spending kettle doesn’t boil over.

8. Sell something- It can’t all be about saving right? You know you don’t need it anymore. It’s that thing in the corner of your living room, closet, or garage. Go ahead sell it and take that old thing in the coat closet too! eBay and Craigslist = money for your emergency savings or debt.

9. Insurance- Yep there are all kinds and many are overpriced. If you have universal or variable life insurance, then it’s absolutely overpriced. Get term life insurance and then cancel your old policy. For car insurance, if your car is worth around 3,000 or less then think about going with only liability and your state min. requirements.

10. Balance your checkbook- Do you really know how much money you have in that account? If you haven’t done it in 5 years…it might take a while. Time to reconcile your account. Here is a video and an outline of the basics.

*Bonus: Start using the Envelope System- stuff envelopes with cash for a few budgeted categories like food or entertainment and only use the envelopes for that spending. When the money runs out, you’re done eating out for the month.

What are other simple ways to save money? 

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Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
  • http://twitter.com/barbfriedberg Barbara Friedberg

    Brett, I’m onboard with all but…….. I’d cut down on food before cutting the cable. THAT IS MY ENTERTAINMENT AND WELL WORTH THE COST TO ME :)

  • http://www.mymoneydesign.com/ MyMoneyDesign

    These are all really good and creative. I especially use the “only water” trick when we eat out. Pop and booze is way over-priced at the restaurant!

    • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

      We’re an only water family when we go out, except on rare occasions.

  • Jay

    Love these tips. Yes to 1, 3, and 6. A simple call to my provider saved my house $20 a month. And opting for water instead of sodas or beer equals healthier eating habits. Also, leftovers are a part-time working/part-time student’s best friend.

    • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

      True, H20 = less calories. It’s funny how eating healthy can save money.

  • http://www.qwitr.org Tony Fuentes

    I’ve found that cutting my cable increases my internet bill! The savings aren’t even worth the channels I’ll lose! Cable companies are such crooks! 

    And yep, insurance is a BIG one. I overlooked this for years but when I caught on, I saved around $100 per month! That’s $1,200 a year they were milking me for! 

    Great tips Brent, thanks. 

    • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

      Internet is tricky, but my wife has negotiated our rate down several times. I think every three months (with our provider) you can call in and see if they have any better offers.