9 Money-Saving Tips to Try This Week

By Mike Peterson
In August 28, 2013

Trying to save a little extra money this week?  Searching for easy ways to curb excess spending? Want to make your next paycheck last a little longer?   Well, look no further.  This week, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to save money and cut spending.  The best part?  Every item on this list is quick and easy – you don’t have to block out an entire Sunday afternoon or re-work your entire budget.  By making just a few small adjustments to your daily routine, you can save a sizeable chunk of change that you can use to pay down debt, bulk up your emergency fund, or save for a big-ticket purchase.

 

Intrigued?  Keep reading.

 

1. Review your monthly bills.  If it’s been a while since you examined your bills, take a few minutes and look at what you’re spending each month on things like electricity, phone service, cable, and so on.  Chances are, you will find one or two bills that can be cut down or completely eliminated.  For example, if you have a reliable cell phone service, it might be time to cut the cord on your landline service.  If you pay for both cable TV and Netflix, consider getting rid of one of them to save even more.

2.  Agree to pay yourself first.  The next time you get paid, try this:  Before you do anything with your money, decide on a set amount – say, $20 or $30 – and put that amount directly into a savings account.  Don’t pay bills first.  Don’t go to the grocery store.  Don’t order that new electronic gadget you’ve had your eye on.  Pay yourself before you do anything else.  If you think you’ll have trouble remembering to do this, no worries:  most banks offer free, automated transfers that make saving super-easy.  Just pick an amount, pick a day for the transfer, and let your bank do the rest!

3.  Make a list when you go shopping.  A shopping list can do wonders for your grocery bill – and if you’ve ever gone to the store without a list, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  When you shop without a list, it’s really easy to just put things in your cart without regard to price or practicality.  Making a list can help you in a number of ways:  First of all, it gives you a grocery shopping game plan that keeps you from wandering around aimlessly.  Second of all, by making a list, you can plan your meals and purchase items that can be used for multiple meals.  And finally, a well-planned trip to the grocery store can eliminate the need for multiple trips throughout the week, which will save gas.

4.  Look for coupons – but use them with caution.  Before you hit the grocery store, get your Sunday paper (plus any grocery circulars that you have lying around the house) and look for coupons on items you plan to buy.  It only takes a few minutes, and you might be able to knock a few dollars off of your grocery total. That said, it’s good to remember that coupons are designed to get you to buy things.  If you don’t need it and you weren’t planning to buy it anyway, a coupon does NOT make it a good deal. 

What’s more, a name-brand product purchased with a coupon still may not be a deal compared to the regular-priced store brand or generic version, which leads me to my next tip . . .

5.  Buy store brand/private label items.  Store brand items are often just as good as their pricier, national brand counterparts – and they often cost a fraction of the price of the national brands.  The next time you go shopping, try switching out a few name-brand purchases for similar, store-brand items.  In most cases, you probably won’t even notice a difference.

6.  Don’t buy your lunch.  If you work a nine-to-five job in a traditional office, you can save a ton of money by brown-bagging it instead of hitting up the deli or fast-food joint near the office.  Take leftovers from last night’s dinner, or make a salad or a sandwich with your favorite ingredients.  A lunch from home is way more budget-friendly – and in most cases, you’ll get food that tastes better — and is better for you, to boot!

7. Unsubscribe to tempting emails.  If you’re like me, your email inbox is always filling up with messages like this:  “Limited time offer!” or “Save 50% now!” or even “Hurry: Savings End Soon!”  And, if you’re like me, you always feel just a little bit tempted to take advantage of these never-ending deals and sales pitches.  By unsubscribing to these offers, you can eliminate the temptation completely.  Plus, it’s easy:  Just check the bottom of the email and click the link that says “Unsubscribe” – that’s it!

8.  Look for used items instead of new ones.  New is nice – but buying a used item can mean huge savings.  Check sites like eBay and CraigsList for bargains on secondhand items such as clothing, furniture, toys, and electronics.  And don’t forget your local secondhand stores and thrift shops!

9. Leave your car at home.  I’m not saying you have to give up driving for good, but if you want to save some cash this week, try leaving the car at home and walking a couple of times this week.  Hoof it to the bookstore, take the bus downtown, or ride your bike to work.  It’s a great way to save money and get some exercise, too.

So, that’s it!  Nine relatively easy ways to spend less, and save more this week. Good Luck!

Mike Peterson

Mike is the author of “Reality Millionaire: Proven Tips to Retire Rich” and he has been published in a variety of local and national publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Deseret Morning News, LDS Living Magazine, and Physicians Money Digest. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of Phoenix.