Save Now, Spend Later
Gas, utilities, clothing and food are all rising in price, making it increasingly harder to save up for non-necessities.
Luckily, there are many ways to save on the things we need in life so we can have extra money for the things we want. Here are 10 great money-saving tips from several savings and financial pros.
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Clip Coupons for Food
This might seem like a no-brainer, but many people don’t actually clip coupons, or they see coupons but then use them to buy things they don’t really need. It’s best to clip coupons only for the things you need and to use them with in-store sales and actually track what you’re saving.
Lisa Reynolds at Redplum.com says the average family can save up to $1,000 a year just by spending 20 minutes clipping coupons. Reynolds also offers this tip about coupon-clipping and meal planning: “If you find a fantastic coupon, don’t dismiss it simply because the item is not usually on your list,” she says. “Planning your meals at the same time as reviewing coupon offers and store circulars lets you take advantage of really great deals and try new recipes. Many savvy cooks create meal plans based on what the stores advertise that week.”
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Buy Food in Season
When it comes to buying wholesome foods for your family, “Stock up on fruits and veggies in season,” says Melissa Garcia, a savings expert with couponqueen.com. “Cut them up and freeze them at their peak so you’re not forced to pay those off-season prices and you know the quality is good.”
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You Can Eat Out, But Do It Smarter
Just because you’re trying to save doesn’t mean you cannot ever dine out – just do it less often and do it smarter, suggests Reynolds.
“Countless chain establishments have proven the old adage of no free lunch or dinner wrong, especially if you have kids. Full-service chain restaurants continue to offer some pretty sweet deals in the form of kids-eat-free promotions,” Reynolds says. “You can also try cutting down on heading out to your favorite restaurant every week, or only try hitting up your local spots for which you only have a coupon for.”
Paul Vazquez, a savings expert at keycode.com, advises people to pack their lunch rather than buying it daily. “With some planning, you can save big on daily lunches by planning the lunch week in advance,” Vazquez says.
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Shop for Clothes at Consignment Shops
You can find some nice clothes at consignments shops for kids and adults.
“Oftentimes there are great, unique finds at your local consignment shop, including some of the top brands, at extremely affordable prices,” says Reynolds, who recommends using the site magicyellow.com to find a consignment shop near you.
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Save on Gas
There are other ways to save on gas other than carpooling and putting your child on the bus or walking to school with them. This writer saves by using the gas stations that give discounts on certain days or that gives discounts for using a Wal-Mart gift or credit card. Of course, if you do use a credit card, make sure to pay it off as the bill arrives.
Garcia, our expert at couponqueen.com also recommends downloading the Murphy Oil app, which will tell you the cheapest gas in your area.
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Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
Garcia also says you can save by making your own cleaners out of other things you have around your house.
“White vinegar can be used as a glass cleaner and deodorizer for the laundry and a fabric softener, among other things,” Garcia says. “You can even make your own foaming hand soap, baby wipes and more.”
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Use Change Jars
Consider using a change jar to save up for special purchases or outings.
Bille Sharp, author of the book Lemons and Lavender: The Eco Guide to Better Homekeeping, concurs that change jars are a good idea. “When it’s full, you can put the money into your savings account,” Sharp says.
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Save on ATM Fees
If you need to withdraw cash, don’t spend your hard-earned money on unnecessary ATM fees.
“Only withdraw from machines approved by your bank,” says Sharp.
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Brew Your Own Coffee
Why spend $4 or more for that cup of coffee in the morning when you can make it at home and get the same effect?
Vazquez, our expert with keycode.com, says people who drink coffee out on a daily basis spend between $400 to $1,000 per year.
“For much less than what you would spend on your favorite latte, you can brew your own premium brand coffee and add just about any flavor imaginable. Your morning cup of joe will be even more enjoyable when you think about the money you are saving,” says Vazquez.
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Learn to Negotiate
Vazquez also says that people can save on many things using the old barter system that many people in small towns still use. If you need a babysitter, trade a neighbor or family member for the service. Negotiating with companies for various services can also help you save money.
“Negotiating can even work with retailers, especially if you can point to offers from their competitors,” says Vazquez.
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