15 Ways to Save Money

by cccozarks

15 Ways to Save Moneycccs save money

  1. Track your spending. Carry around a small note pad or type it in the notes app on your phone. Every time you spend money, write down the date, what it was, and the cost. Do this for at least 2 weeks, preferably a month and you will see where you are spending too much money and make different decisions. The money you save can go into your savings account for an emergency fund or a goal you are striving to reach.
  2. Set a goal. Have a reason for spending less money every month. Take some time to think about what you want to save for and set up an attainable plan. If this is your first time, start with a smaller amount. It can get discouraging if you set a goal that will take years to reach.
  3. Make savings a fixed expense. Put a certain amount of money in your savings account every month. You decide what that amount is and stick to it. It is motivating watching your money grow. If your employer has direct deposit, have them deposit the amount you desire into your savings account from each paycheck. After a few pay periods, you will get used to your new take home pay.
  4. Don’t browse the mall or shopping centers. If we do this we are opt to spend money we don’t have, use our credit cards, or use the money we are supposed to save. Doing this can cause friction in the household and hinder us from reaching financial peace.
  5. Put your loose change in a jar or container at the end of each day. Little amounts do add up. If you were to put aside .50 cents a day for a year, you would have around $182 at the end of that year.
  6. Plan out your meals each week and eat out less. Before you go to the grocery store, know what you are going to cook for that entire week and buy only what you will need. This will cut down your grocery bill if you stick to your list and save you money on restaurant cost’s because you are eating at home.
  7. Use coupons when you decide to eat out. Even if you have committed to eating at home more often, there are times when we want to eat out. Such as Birthdays, Anniversaries, and other special occasions. Before you decide where to eat, look for coupons. You can find them online, newspaper, Groupon, and so on. I like to use the ones that are “buy one entree, get one free.” If you have children, find places where kids eat free.
  8. Buy generic brands. Find which products you like best and buy those cheaper brands. I find that most of the generic brands are just as effective and good as the name brand. There are a few that do not work like the original but for the most part generic is a good way to save a few dollars.
  9. Change the oil in your own vehicles. This is a cost that can get costly within a years time. If you were able to change the oil yourself, the only cost to you would be the price of the products you use.
  10. Rent DIY books from the library. Usually we buy these books for only one project and put it away. It will cost considerably less if we can find what we need at our local library. Plus, Do It Yourself projects are cheaper than paying someone labor. You may think it is too hard but you could surprise yourself with a skill you never thought you could do. You can also check out YouTube for visual instruction.
  11. Reevaluate your cellular phone plan. We can get in the groove of just paying our phone plan month after month, year after year and not look into other options or looking at our bill and unconsciously paying it. Look at your bill to see if there are any fees that can be eliminated. You could be surprised about what you have been paying for that is unnecessary. Maybe you could choose a less expensive plan. If you do so, make sure you track your usage online. Whenever you go over your stated usage, you could end up paying way more than anticipated. The phone company’s do not warn you of this. It is up to YOU to track it and do what needs to be done until the next billing cycle. You may also want to check into prepaid services as well. They are becoming more versatile and when you have used the minutes, data, and texts, you have a choice to pay or wait until the month is up and they can auto deduct your payment. Not all prepaid services are the same, do your homework and decide what the right choice is for you and your household.
  12. Shop at second hand stores. I personally shop at second hand stores and find that there are a lot of items that are lightly used or new such as clothes, shoes, purses, and so on. I have saved myself and my husband a lot of money buying at these stores. I have had the clothes and shoes for several years and they still are in good condition. I like to wear slacks or a skirt, a shirt, a blazer, and dress shoes for work every week and on average my entire outfit will cost $4 – $6 including shoes. This is also great for young children that grow out of their clothes very quickly. It does take some time to find these items but it is worth it to save money.
  13. Have a family member or friend pet sit for you. This can save you hundreds of dollars depending how much you leave your pet behind when traveling. Boarding costs can be anywhere from $30 to $85 a night. A professional pet sitter can be $15 and up a day depending on their services. Try to find family or a friend that will stay at your home, come by your home periodically, or maybe they can take your pet to their house for little or no cost.
  14. Price matching at a grocery store. Look through all the grocery store ads to see what items are on sale and find what stores will match those prices. Bring the ads with you for verification. Some stores will need the item to be the exact brand for them to honor it, other’s may be more lenient. Who knows, the grocery store you are already getting great deals at may honor price matching and you may not know it! Try out price matching, use your coupons and find yourself reducing your grocery bill and saving money on gas if you were to drive to all the different stores.
  15. Rent vs. Buying. Buying a home seems like a no brainer with the housing prices as low as they are. It is hard not to take advantage of these great deals but before jumping into a contract, look into what the costs are now and what could be in the future. As a renter you are not responsible for any repairs to your home, unless you or your pet purposely damaged something. When your roof leaks, a pipe leaks or busts, sink backs up, or an appliance fails (as long as it is owned by the landlord) you don’t have to worry about paying the bill. Those costs can be costly if just one incident occurs. As a homeowner you are responsible for all of that. Plus the closing costs, down payment, upgrades to your home can add up to thousands of dollars. If you are not prepared for whatever may be thrown at you, you might want to hold off until you are fully prepared to be a homeowner. A renter can move out at the end of their lease if they choose and a homeowner needs to sell their home, which could take several days to years. Take time to think through your decision, reevaluate your budget and savings plan, and consult with a professional before committing to a mortgage.

Written by Beth Mincks, Consumer Credit Counseling of the Ozarks

Let us know how you save money. Leave us a comment below.