Saving money is a simple, easy thing to do. It just takes discipline. Take the right steps towards cutting back on bills and find ways to save.
There are some really simple ways to save money. They’re so simple, they are often overlooked. Sometimes it’s the simple, quick ways to put some cash in your wallet that count.
Lowering Utility Bills
Lowering utility bills is one of the easiest things to do but hard to remember. Cellphone, laptop, and mp3 chargers still use electricity even when they aren’t in use. Unplug them and only charge them for as long as they need to be charged. To save even more unplug small appliances, such as microwaves, toaster ovens, coffee pots, and DVD players when not in use.
Clogged vents and air filters can disrupt air flow, making your air conditioner less efficient, in turn costing you more money. Clean or change them monthly. If you have a reusable filter, much like the air conditioning units in hotel rooms, you can simply vacuum it.
If you aren’t home, turn of the air. You’d be amazed how much this can save you. And invest in a fan. Although it uses energy, it doesn’t use as much as an AC unit blowing through a house or apartment, and it’s perfect for a slight temperature change. If the weather is nice you could even open windows and doors.
Close your blinds. In midday when it is hottest, close the blinds to reduce heat coming in through the windows. It will help your AC to not work as hard.
Wrap your heater with an insulation blanket to reduce heat loss.
Turn off the oven a few minutes before cooking. Turning it off even five or ten minutes before the dish is done cooking can be effective because the trapped heat will finish it off.
If possible, use microwaves, toaster ovens, or other small appliances to cook meals instead of the oven. They use less energy.
For dishwashers, do not run the dry cycle. Simply open the door once they are done rinsing and let the dishes air-dry.
Hand-wash and/or hang dry laundry. This will save you tons! It is time consuming, however.
Check your lint screen and exhaust of the dryer. Clogged screens and exhaust can cause longer drying times.
When in the shower, do not run the water when you are not using it. Same goes for brushing your teeth. If you have a push-pull faucet, this can be very easy. If not, you can buy a shower hose that switches to low water pressure.
If you have the premium package with your cable or satellite provider, switch to basic. A lot of the time this can save you half your cable bill. Are you really watching all 1000 of those channels anyway? Do you absolutely have to watch your favorite TV shows in high definition? If not, this might be a good option for you. If you can cut TV altogether, then more power to you.
Limit shower time. Many of us like to spend time in the shower because it helps relax. Picking up the pace a little and cutting your shower time in half will also help cut your water and electric bill.
If you know how to do this right, it can save you a lot of time. The easiest way is to organize coupons in a folder. The most important thing to remember is do not buy something that you don’t need just because it is on sale! In your folder, make a section for each store, then sort them by type of food: dairy, meat, snacks, etc. Clip coupons from store websites, magazines, manufacturer websites, and Sunday newspapers. The internet is a good source for finding coupons. If it does not say, “Do not double or triple,” you can use more than one coupon on an item! If you don’t mind, switch to generic brand companies rather than name brand. If you eat out a lot, there are many coupon books, which run around $30 each, but have well over hundreds of dollars of savings, including buy one get one free meals and 50% off meals.
Sell and Buy Old Stuff
Books or movies that you will never watch again, old junk laying around the house, the stuff in your attic or garage…turn it into cash! Have a garage sale or sell them online to make money out of it. When it comes time for new furniture, appliances, or a car…buy used. You might be able to get good quality items for half, or more, the retail price.
Write Down Your Expenses and Make a Budget
Writing down what you spend your paycheck on each month will help you see where your money is really going. Take a good look at it and find areas in which you can cut back on or eliminate altogether. Then make a budget and devote only a certain amount of money to each category.
Save Money Like It’s an Additional Bill
Each paycheck, put aside 10 or 15% (or 15-20% if possible) into a savings account. Only touch it if an emergency comes up, and set boundaries for what an emergency is in your mind. You can even look into setting up an automatic transfer to set aside a certain amount from your paycheck that goes directly into your savings account.