100 Easy Ways to Save Money

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<ul><li><p>100 Easy Ways to Save Money</p><p>Jim Wang</p><p>Bargaineering.com</p></li><li><p>Need a few ideas on how to save some extra cash? When I first wrote this list, it was November and we were ramping up to the holiday spending binge that we all love so much, but these tips can help you save money at any time in the year. Why wait until our consumer driven society gets all whipped up into a fervor? We can save whenever! (I see nothing wrong with getting whipped up, to be honest!). This year, with the economy so weak and with so many people concerned about their financial future, it makes sense to cut back on the things that arent important so we can spend it on the things that are.</p><p>Here are a hundred tips on how to save some quick money:</p><p>Eat, Drink, Being Merry </p><p>1. Cook your own meals: The number one tip, echoed almost anywhere you look, is to cook your own meals. Cooking is a fun way to reduce your costs, provide entertainment, and eat healthier.</p><p>2. Eat less meat: Veggies are cheap per pound compared to meat, so try going with a heavier vegetable diet. If you like meat, skip beef and go more often with chicken and pork. Pork isnt as healthy as beef but chicken is a pretty good option.</p><p>3. Meat as a side dish: If you dont want to eat less meat, heres a trick - use meat as a side dish and something else as the headliner. You still get your meat, but you eat less of it. We like eating eggplant and ground pork, the eggplant is the headliner and the ground pork makes up the supporting cast.</p><p>4. Eat slower: The faster you eat, the more you eat. It takes time for your stomach to tell your brain youre full.</p><p>5. Bring your lunch: Brown bagging lunch is a great way to take a $5-$10 expense every day and bring it in under $2-3. Heck, if youre a cold cut sub kind of person, your lunches could be under a dollar or two and still be jam-packed with goodness.</p><p>6. If you like eating out, eat out for lunch and cook for dinner: Dinner at a restaurant is far more expensive than lunch at a restaurant, so always go with lunch if youre deciding between the two</p></li><li><p>7. Check for restaurant coupons: If you do eat out, check online or in the local circulars for coupons. At worst, you can always hit up Restaurant.com and get $25 gift certificates for $10 (or even less when they have deals). The only warning about Restaurant.com is that their selection is very limited around where I live, so it may also be the case for you.</p><p>8. Skip the vending machine: If you really like an afternoon snack, bring your own. You can usually buy them for much much cheaper at the grocery store.</p><p>9. Grow your own herbs: Herbs are really easy to grow, they just need some dirt, some light, and theyll grow like crazy. Vegetables are a little tougher so start off with herbs and grow the ones you use the most. Fresh herbs will taste better and you wont have to pay McCormick &amp; Company $5 for a container of basil.</p><p>10. Make one of those lunches a cold cut sandwich: Im a fan of hot lunches but if you want to trim your expenses even more, make it a real budget lunch once a week for extra savings. Two slices of bread, a couple slices of your favorite cold cut, some lettuce, maybe a slice of tomato that is some good eating with a great price.</p><p>11. Cut one (or more) dining out meal a week (or month): Think of it as a reason to test drive recipes for any holiday dinners or potlucks youll be attending this year. You can save big money by cutting out dinners in restaurants and it will help your waistline too. Leftovers make great lunches.</p><p>12. Make a grocery store list and stick to it: To help reduce impulse buying whenever youre in the supermarket, make a list before you go in and stick with it. Ignore the pretty displays showing discounts on things you dont need and go straight for what you have listed. Not only will you save money, but youll save time.</p><p>13. Always buy generics: I cant think of any instances where the generic brand of something is worse than the brand name. Many companies actually produce both the brand name and the generic, they just stick the product in a different box - check the manufacturer, youll see what I mean.</p><p>14. Bring your own reusable bag: Or any bag for that matter, many places now will give you a nickel off your grocery store bill if you bring your resusable bag. You save money, use fewer plastic bags, and save the world in the process!</p><p>15. Water is cheaper than soda, beer, juice, coffee, tea, etc: Thirsty? Hit the water fountain. Let the cold water hit your lips and quench your thirst. Water is far cheaper than any other beverage and it has the least amount of calories.</p><p>16. Brew your own coffee: You can either pay $5 for a cup at Starbucks or brew your own for pennies. Heck, you can even get a free coffeemaker if you sign up for Gevalias coffee club (sticking with the program wont save you money though).</p><p>17. Skip the after-work beer: Its easy to fall into the habit of having a beer after work just to take the edge off. Its extra calories consumed and extra dollars spent and you might not even enjoy it anymore.</p><p>18. Stop smoking: Cigarettes are really expensive and can cost you big bucks down the road in medical costs. If you want a stress reliever, pick up a bottle of scotch instead. </p></li><li><p>Money Saving Car Tips</p><p>19. Carpool just one day a week: You dont need to carpool every day, just carpool one day a week if thats possible and you can save yourself some green and do something kind for Mother Earth.</p><p>20. Buy the type of gas your car calls for: If your car says it needs regular unleaded, dont go putting premium in the tank because it doesnt improve your mileage. If your car calls for premium, dont put in regular because the fuel will explode at the wrong pressure and thus cause that knock (and messes up timing, fuel efficiency).</p><p>21. Drive the speed limit: Studied have shown that air drag above 55 reduces your fuel efficiency, take the highways at 80 and your fuel efficiency will suffer greatly.</p><p>22. Keep your tires properly inflated: If your tires are over-inflated or under-inflated, your cars fuel efficiency, handling, and tire life are all worsened. Check the sidewall for the proper PSI and get your tires inflated to that range.</p><p>23. Get routine maintenance done: Go to a trusted mechanic for your routine maintenance needs. The 30,000 mile one is regarded as almost unnecessary (but I would get it anyway) but the 60,000 is crucial as they replace worn parts that will likely improve performance. A trusted mechanic wont BS you on replacing things you dont need to have replaced, to find one like him or her, ask the people around you who have been there a while.</p><p>24. Always try to find free parking: Sometimes you might need to walk a little farther to get where you want to be, but there should always be some free parking around somewhere.</p><p>25. Shop around for auto insurance: It takes only a few minutes and could save you hundreds of dollars, consider shopping around for car insurance every year. Companies are constantly updating their actuarial tables so you might find yourself in a cheaper category (and it never hurts to look!).</p><p>26. Consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage: If you have an older car, dropping collision and comprehensive coverage can save you a bit of </p></li><li><p>money. This means you are now responsible for your own car in the event of an accident where you are at fault. Anytime you shift risk from the insurer to yourself, you will see your premiums fall.</p><p>27. When buying a car, review total cost of ownership: The sticker price isnt the only thing that matters with a car - review its total cost of ownership at a site like Edmunds.com. Its the maintenance, fuel, and other costs that can get you.</p></li><li><p>Streamline Your Service Plans </p><p>28. Shop around for a new cell phone plan, new cable television or internet plan, or new insurance policies: Every year, you should shop around to see if you can get the services you have now for less. Unless youre on a contract, you will almost always be able to find a plan thats cheaper as other companies try to win your business. Worst case, you get your existing service provider to match the newest offers and you still save money.</p><p>29. Drop services you dont really need: How much television do you really watch? Maybe you dont need internet service at home? Consider dropping the services you think you need but you honestly dont really use that often.</p><p>30. Replace your landline with Skype: Skype is a popular VOIP plan that runs your phone through your computers internet connection. Plans are cheap, you can call other Skype users for free, and there are devices you can use that let you use your homes existing telephone wiring too. One caveat, no 911 service.</p><p>31. Consider a pay-as-you-go cell phone: How often do you really use your phone? Review your bills and you might find that of the 500 minutes you get, you use around 100. A pay as you go phone may be a more economical alternative.</p><p>32. Put Netflix on hold: Did you know that you can put Netflix on hold for 90 day blocks? Why not put them on hold and save that money for gifts? Just restart it whenever the holidays end.</p><p>33. Rent movies, dont buy them: How many times have you watched a movie more than twice? There are very few movies in that list. How many times have you watched a movie in your collection more than twice? Again, probably even less. You can rent movies from Blockbuster or through a mail service like Netflix for far less than it costs to buy them, go that route instead.</p><p>34. Rent video games, dont buy them: The same rule applies for video games. Video games are usually $50-60 a piece (far more than movies), but think of how many games you play in a month. Services like GameFly are probably a better bet for you.</p></li><li><p>Money Saving Tips in Your Home</p><p>35. Install a programmable thermostat: Installing one of these little guys can really help your utility bills and the earlier you get it installed, the more it saves! Estimates are that for every degree you lower the thermostat, thats 5% off your bill (in the winter). I like to think of it this way - why spend money to heat or cool something that Im not even going to be there (or awake) and enjoy? The power company has enough of my money!</p><p>36. Lower the temperature on the thermostat: HVAC systems have two settings - off and on. By lowering the temperature of the thermostat, you leave it in the off state for longer periods and thus use less energy. Less energy, lower bill!</p><p>37. Wash your clothes in cold water: Detergent technology has gotten so good that washing in hot water is no longer necessary, you can save lots of energy by washing with cold water rather than hot water.</p><p>38. Line dry your clothes: Get a rack or clothesline and dry your clothes on that, instead of in your dryer. If that idea isnt entirely appealing, consider drying larger items (towels, sheets) on the line and your regular clothes in the dryer to cut down on the time.</p><p>39. Lower the temperature of your water heater: You can turn the temperature of your water heater down to conserve some extra energy, theres no sense in making it really hot only to add cold water to it during showers. (the only caveat is that you should check your dishwasher for a booster, itll need the temps that high for cleaning purposes)</p><p>40. Wrap your water heater with a water heater blanket: One of your biggest energy sucks in the house is your water heater, that tank that keeps your water nice and hot for your showers. Wrapping a blanket reduces the amount of heat it loses into the area around it.</p></li><li><p>41. Clean out your refrigerator coils: Dust off the coils on the refrigerator and you can improve its efficiency, thus lowering the electricity bill of the one thing in your house thats always on.</p><p>42. Find and plug drafts: You dont need the cold air from the outside to infiltrate your home (or your warm air blowing out), so try to find all the drafty windows and doors in your home and seal them up. Your energy bill will thank you.</p><p>43. Change your air filter: The more you run your HVAC system, the more that air filter will catch. The more it catches, the more it clogs. Yep, you guessed it, the dirtier it gets, the harder your HVAC needs to work to push air. Swap that baby out and improve your systems operating efficiency.</p><p>44. Get your furnace tuned: I had no idea but youre supposed to get your furnaced tuned every few years, it could increase your efficiency considerably.</p><p>45. Swap out regular light bulbs with CFLs: The technology in CFLs now is so good that most people cant even tell the difference (other than by looking at them). Swapping them out reduces your energy use and are best used in areas where the lights are on most often. Theyre more expensive but they last longer and use less power.</p><p>46. Institute a one light, one person rule: Leaving the lights on in your house is a great way to spend money, so try reducing your electricity usage by instituting a one light, one person rule. Each person in the house can only have one light on at a time.</p><p>47. Reduce phantom electricity use: Phantom electricity is the electricity your appliances use when theyre off. This happens because we love our instant on appliances! To help reduce this, you can plug them all into a surge protector and turn that off to ensure you arent losing power to something youre not even using.</p><p>48. When buying appliances, reliability trumps price: When youre buying new appliances, be sure to read reliability reports because you dont want to spend less only to find out you bought an inferior product that wont last.</p><p>49. Shop around for homeowners or renters insurance: Renters insurance is already pretty cheap so you might not get much savings there but homeowners can vary greatly.</p><p>50. Consider a home energy audit: These arent cheap but they can identify things you can do to make your home more efficient and thus save you more money.</p><p>51. Remember to return those cans and bottles for deposits: If you live in a state that collects a deposit on cans and bottles, remember to redeem them! Unfortunately in Maryland we dont do that (but that also means we dont pay it), but Id love to see it instituted here so that we could entice more recycling.</p></li><li><p>Three Tips to Beat the Tax Man</p><p>52. Adjust your tax withholding: Adjust the withholding on your W-4 so you dont give the government an interest free loan. I recommend using theIRSs tax withholding calculator to figure out what you should put down.</p><p>53. Accelerate deductions: If you can sneak those deductions in before December 31st, you can claim them on your taxes and get paid whenever you file. If you wait until January 1st, they wont come until 2010. Youll have to balance this with the tax brackets but in general it works out.</p><p>54. Delay income: Likewise, if you delay payments until after January 1st, you wont have to pay the tax man until the next year. Again, youll have to balance this...</p></li></ul>