8 Money Saving Tips Everyone Should Use

Money is tight, right? You’re living paycheck to paycheck, sweating when bills come due and certain that any unexpected expense will sink you quicker than a brick thrown in a swimming pool. Unfortunately you’re not alone with these feelings, but that doesn’t make it any easier to take, does it?

When the money coming in is going out just as fast (if not faster), it can feel like you’re just treading water – one small cramp from plunging to the depths, never to be heard from again. Well, it’s time that you’re thrown a life vest as you’ve struggled long enough.

Use the tips below and you can give your arms a rest, using your extra cash you’ll save as the inflatable raft you’ve been searching so diligently to find.

Grocery savings

female grocery shopper

Food is one of the biggest added expenses a family can have. According to a Gallup report published in 2012, the average American reported spending $151 per week on food. If you’re close to that amount that means that almost $8,000 of your annual income is in your belly. And, because it’s not a bill that comes monthly in a known amount, most people don’t budget so well for it.

If you’re one of them, you can make your supermarket spending less costly by utilizing the following tips:

  1. Use scissors. Although couponing is often thought to be old school, it’s still alive and well today and can save you massive amounts if you do it properly. A lot of local newspapers have coupons in their Sunday editions, or you can even find them online and either print them out or transfer them to your store card if that is an option. The key to effective couponing is to only buy the products you intended to buy anyway. If you’re purchasing items you don’t need just because you can get them at a reduced rate, you’ll actually do your budget more harm than good.
  2. Actually read your mail. You know those newspaper-looking circulars that you get in your mailbox every week that you just throw in the trash without so much as glancing at? Those are designed to let you know what discounted products your local grocer is offering. Not only can they show you who has the best deals that week, but you can use them to plan your weekly menu around the foods you can get at the lowest prices allowing you to eat on a reasonable budget.
  3. Learn the meaning of “glue”. If you’re the person that goes grocery shopping with a list of five items and you leave with a cart full of edible goodness, this is for you. The purpose behind creating a list is so that you don’t forget what you need and to keep you from making unnecessary purposes. You see, grocery stores do their best to get you to make impulse buys. They want you to leave with more items than you intended because that’s how they make their money. However, you can keep your cash in your own pocket if you stick to your list like glue. Commit to only purchasing what you need so that you have more money for things you want.
  4. Don’t be afraid of expiring. No, the goal of this tip isn’t to get you to perish while pushing your cart around the local supermarket. The point is to let you know that buying some products that are close to expiration can actually be safe and work to your advantage. This is mainly relevant to meats. Don’t be afraid to buy cuts of your favorite proteins just because they’re close to their “must sell by” date. You can always take them home and freeze them until you’re ready to use them. Of course, other expiring products should be avoided like the plague. Those include dairy items such as milk, yogurt and cheese, as well as some boxed or canned food as there is no way to keep them beyond their shelf life and doing so may be detrimental to your health.

Utility bills on the cheap

Women showing something to her friends on mobile phone at dining table

While you can save money on the food you regularly eat, you can also keep some cash in your pocket when it comes to utility expenses too. You just have to be willing to make a couple of changes in the way you live, but the payoff will be there in the end (literally).

Here are some tips to help you keep your budget in this area:

  1. Don’t be afraid of the dark. Is your house the one on the block that is lit up like a Christmas tree, all night every night? Do your neighbors use it as a beacon when they’re lost in the dark? If so, you’re likely paying way more than you need to on your electric bill. Make it a point to shut off lights when you leave the room (and teach your kids to do the same). You can also light candles to save some cash while creating a romantic, nostalgic environment that will make saving money fun in its own way.
  2. Use blankets. While it is nice to have a house that is kept warmer than Hawaii in the midst of summer, you’re likely spending quite a bit of your hard earned money to feel like you’re in the tropics. Experts suggest that lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees when you’re sleeping can save you 10-20%. That is money you can be using for other things that you’d like, such as an actual vacation to a tropical island.
  3. Become more personal. Instead of having a cell phone plan that allows you to talk an unlimited number of minutes, pick a less expensive plan with a limited amount of minutes and actually start to visit people in person. Not only will your pocketbook become thicker with the money you’ll save by doing this, but you’ll actually create closer, tighter bonds with people. It’s kind of like a two-for-one.
  4. Get physical. Do you have a television package that includes 300+ channels, the ability to record five shows at the same time, and all but fixes you popcorn when you sit down to watch it? If so, you’re probably paying a bundle for it. Spend more time doing other things, such as going for a walk with the family or tending to your garden and you can cut that package cost, often by several dollars a month. However, if the thought of losing some of your favorite programs makes you sweaty with anxiety, you can always call the company and see if they’ll at least give you a promotional rate. They may or they may not, but it never hurts to ask.

These are but a few money saving tips designed to keep your hard earned money where it belongs – with you. Incorporate just a few of them today and you’ll be able to breathe easier tomorrow knowing that you’re keeping the money collecting sharks at bay.

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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