Saving Strategies: 10 Easy Ways to Spend Less
If you'd like to invest more but are having trouble finding the money, take a look at these simple tips for better money management.
- Cut back on nickel-and-dime items. You might be surprised at how much you can save by reducing out-of-pocket expenses. Instead of indulging on a "designer" cup of coffee, purchase a regular coffee. The amount saved adds up fast.
- Save on reading and listening materials. Visit your neighborhood library to check out books and music instead of purchasing your own.
- Brown bag meals. Work days can be hectic, but instead of buying breakfast or lunch out, carry it in. If you spend $5 per day on lunch, you could free up $100 per month for your long-term financial goals.
- Reduce fitness spending. Forego the gym membership and purchase used equipment for your home. Another alternative: Take brisk walks, which also are a great stress reducer.
- Seek travel values. By traveling off-season or during the shoulder season -- the time just before or after the peak tourist season -- you can receive discounted rates on lodging and reduced airfares, which can cut your vacation expenses substantially.
- Resist buying retail. If you must shop till you drop, do so during after-holiday and clearance sales. The key is to plan ahead for your needs and buy accordingly.
- Practice energy efficiency. By turning the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day (say, while you're at work or at night when you're sleeping), you can save up to 10% a year on your heating bill.
- Maintain your car. You can save about 15% on gas by keeping your engine tuned and your tires properly inflated. Check your tires on a monthly basis for optimal effect.
- Raise your insurance deductible. The deductible on many homeowner's insurance policies is automatically set at $250. By raising your deductible to $500, you could save up 10% or more depending on your insurance company.
- Be creative. Can't imagine skipping your daily trip to the vending machine? Don't fret. The main point is to look for effective ways to cut back -- and then do it. Over time, you might find that a little savings can make a big difference when it comes to funding your retirement.