Looking for ways to save money this year? Want to boost your savings in a tough economy with little effort or pain? Good. I’ve got 50 (fifty) ways to painlessly stash some extra cash without losing a limb or getting a second job.
Some of these tips will score you instant dough, while other money saving suggestions require year round strategies to amass the moolah. Not every tip will be applicable to your situation, so pick and choose which money saving tips and strategies are optimal to boost your savings by $1,000 bucks.
Here are 50 ways to save an extra $1,000 a year:
- Pay off Your Credit Card. Stop paying the bare minimum on your credit cards. Paying just the minimum (usually 2-3 percent) only prolongs the agony and increases the amount of interest paid to the bank. Save yourself over 20 percent in interest charges by fully paying off your credit card debt. Depending on your debt, you may add thousands to your wallet. Check out this handy Credit Card Calculator to calculate your interest payments based on your minimum monthly payment. Results will SHOCK you.
- Get a Better Credit Card. Not all credit cards are created equal. Choose a credit card with no annual fee, understand your credit card’s benefits and risks, know how your issuer calculates interest charges, and learn how to benefit from introductory rates. Reading the small print will help you to make the most of your credit card and keep fees and charges to a minimum, saving bundles of bucks every year. Try these Four Steps to Choosing a Credit Card and read 5 Ways To Screw Your Credit Card Company to payoff your debt faster.
- Watch Investment Fees. There are costs to investing your hard earned dollars. Learning how to minimize these costs can save you thousands in management expense ratio fees (MERs), trailer fees, and broker fees. Always read your investment fund prospectus to better understand how these hideous fees can eat up your fund portfolio returns year after year. If you’re investing in high fee mutual funds, consider a portfolio in index funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs) to better increase your returns and minimize your costs. Warning: These 5 Investing fees that devour your savings could cost you a huge fortune.
- Dine in. Eating out costs big bucks. Fatten your wallet by eating home cooked meals and you may just slim your waistline while you’re at it. Try these Cheap, Easy, and Healthy, Family Dinners for $5 to kick start your savings.
- Brown Bag It. Stop spending mega moolah muddling your midday meal munching on take out lunches. Bringing a brown bag lunch to school or work every day will save your thousands this year. Try these Five Frugal Lunches for some ideas.
- Latte Factor. Like a daily latte or coffee? These seemingly small drips of dollars can really add up! Forget the daily coffee break and make your own hot beverages to save lots of loot. Or drink homemade tea — 5 Gourmet Herbal Tea Infusions for Your French Press .
- Raise Deductibles. Get out your policy and raise the deductibles on your car and home insurance. You’re not likely to claim the small stuff so choose a $5000 over a $500 deductible to cut your insurance costs by about 40 percent.
- Buy a Cheaper Car. Pimping in a flashy vehicle? A smaller or less expensive model can save you big bucks and still get you from point A to point B in style. See How To Buy a Used Car (without sipping lemonade) to get your motor running for less.
- Lose the Extra Car. Get creative and optimize the usage of a single family car to save huge money on insurance, gas, and car payments. You may be surprised how much money can be saved by reducing the number of cars parked in your driveway. See How to Sell Your Used Car Online to raise some cash.
- Ditch the Car. Buy a Bike. Ride the Bus. Carpool. I did this years ago and lived to tell the tale. I guesstimate I’ve saved at least 5K a year by riding my bike to school and work. I tend to carpool or ride the bus on rainy days. Since I’ve been car-free for 12 years, that’s 60K saved! Ka-ching!
- Expunge Extended Warranties. Don’t buy extended warranties on inexpensive products like cameras and kitchen appliances. The only time a warranty makes sense is if a repair will devastate your budget.
- Avoid Unnecessary Insurance. Skip mortgage and accidental death insurance as it only covers you in specific cases. Get life insurance to cover you no matter the cause of death.
- Avoid Whole Life Insurance. Whole life policies are expensive for the policy owner and lucrative for the policy seller. Term policies, which cover you for a set period, are FAR less expensive. Here’s How to Buy Life Insurance Without Getting Screwed.
- Don’t Insure Your Kids. I love kids, but insurance for children makes no financial sense. Buy life insurance to replace the income of the family breadwinner(s), those you are dependent on. Not your dependents. Here’s why your kids don’t need life insurance.
- Get a High Interest Savings Account. Switch your savings account to a high interest account, like those offered through ING Direct. You can make 3-4 percent MORE on your savings a year, rather than the pittance most checking accounts offer.
- Look at Laundry Costs. Washing clothes is a repetitive task which can cost big bucks over the span of a year. When I stop to calculate the cost of laundry detergent, the power usage of clothing dryers, and the water consumption of washing machines I shudder at the total cost of cleaning filth. Learn How to Save Money on Laundry to minimize the expensive impact of filth.
- Banish Bank Account Fees. Minimum balances, withdrawal fees, checking fees, paying bills fees, fees, and more fees. Why are you paying so much for banking? I dare you to add up all those tiny little dings you don’t want to look at and see how much you pay for banking. Compare your banking fees to other bank accounts and switch banks. I’ve been using a no fee checking account with President’s Choice Financial for years, and love it. Find a no fee checking account in your state, province, or country and live bank fee free already.
- Axe ATM Fees. Getting dinged $1 here and there for withdrawing your cash can add up! Planning your cash withdrawals ahead of time can save you lots of dollar dings over the span of a year. Axe your ATM fees by sticking to your bank’s machine, only withdrawing cash a few times a month, and check your bank plan to see if there is a better fee structure for your banking needs.
- Eat Less Meat. Where’s the beef? To save thousands in groceries try eating less meat in your family meals. You don’t have to go vegetarian, just try some meatless dishes a few times a week. Switching from animal protein to bean protein is a wonderfully frugal way to add some dollars to you bank account. Try soaking dried beans to become the ultimate money saving bean counter.
- Pay Down Student Debt. New graduate? Finished your degree decades ago? Paying off your student loan is a sure fire way to reduce interest payments, saving you thousands. Try these 5 Tips for Paying Off Student Loans.
- Manage Extra Mortgage Payments. For most of us, the mortgage represents our biggest debt. If you can manage, try making an extra payment to help end the loan sooner. Use the Loan Amortization Calculator to see the impact of how much loan interest can be reduced by paying down your mortgage sooner. Need convincing? 6 Surefire Ways To Avoid a Mortgage Meltdown could save you some cash.
- Cut the Cable. Television is expensive. Especially if you have special packages, customer loyalty bundles, and fee hungry features. Cancel the unneeded extras to save, or just cut the cable completely to maximize savings. Television may seem like a nominal monthly bill, but try adding up this expense over 12 months. See Breaking up with a cable company is hard to do for my cable cutting story.
- Cancel the Cell Phone. Roaming fees, text messages, minute overages. Cell phones can cost you big bucks over a year. Reevaluate your cell phone plan to save, or cancel your cell package to maximize savings.
- Rent Less Apartment. Downsizing your rented apartment could save you money over time. Try renting a unit on a lower floor without a view, move to a building with fewer perks, or rent a basement suite. Renting a smaller place can also save you on energy costs.
- Get a Roommate. Got a multiple room apartment or house? Rent out a room to a student or a young professional to jump start some savings. Sharing space saves on energy costs too.
- Reconsider the Landline. If you have a cell phone, do you still need your landline? Many cell phone users work on the road or away from the home. Perhaps it’s time to ditch the landline to save on utility costs.
- Maintain Your Car. Routine maintenance can save you a bundle by preventing major automobile repair costs. Follow your car’s user manual to keep up-to-date with oil changes, new air filters, and regular tune ups.
- Save Money on Gas. Gassed by the high prices at the pump? Try these 10 Ways to Save Money on Gas to cut your fuel consumption.
- Buy a More Fuel Efficient Car. Perhaps it’s time to trade in the gas guzzling clunker for a more fuel efficient automobile. Try the Should You Buy a More Gas Efficient Car Calculator to determine the break even point of a new car based on gas consumption.
- Pass on Pets. I love my dog. But our fine furry friends can cost us a small fortune in food and veterinarian bills. If you need the extra stash of cash, it may be best to pass on pets. So learn about your pet’s annual costs before bringing fluffy home.
- Use Condoms. When it’s time for sexy time, consider condoms. Health costs and babies are expensive. Preventing sexually transmitted infections is key to keeping yourself healthy, wealthy, and wise.
- Negotiate Your Mortgage. Never settle for the bank or mortgage lender’s first offer. Always ask mortgage brokers for the best fees, terms and mortgage rate. Save thousands in interest costs. Try the Loan Amortization Calculator to see your savings.
- Negotiate Your Salary. Getting a job offer is fun and thrilling. But settling for your first offer may be a mistake. Companies exist by keeping their costs down, hence paying employees as little as possible. When you get an offer, try negotiating for a little bit more. Try these 10 Tips for Salary Negotiation.
- Plan a Staycation. Stay at home for your next family vacation and save on lodging, dining out, and traveling costs. Staycations involve visiting local attractions like museums, parks, festivals, and play grounds. Get to know your area and neighbors better by vacationing near home. Or Build Your Own Modified Staycation Vacation Package to get the best of both worlds.
- Switch to Exchange Traded Funds. When investing in your retirement, consider switching your mutual funds to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs have lower management fees than mutual funds. The less money you spend in management fees the more you keep in your portfolio. Try the Portfolio MER Calculator to calculate your total investment costs. You many just be surprised how much these fees eat into your returns!
- Grow a Garden. Cut some cash from your grocery bill by growing your own food. Planting some common veggies can help save a bundle. Want some hard numbers? Follow J.D. Roth in his series: How Much Does a Garden Really Save? Don’t have space for soil? Learn How to Grow Vegetables in a Pot.
- Switch to Cloth Diapers. The number of diapers a baby and toddler uses until potty trained is staggering. Calculate the cash spent on your baby’s poopy disposable diapers and you may just s$it yourself. Consider switching to cloth diapers to save some bucks. The biggest money savings can be found if you plan to have multiple children or can buy used cloth diapers. Trent at The Simple Dollar discusses his cloth diapering thoughts.
- Buy Used. Need some furniture, books, or car? Why not buy used to save! Buying used goods not only saves on taxes, but saves you from spending top dollar on retail. Most of my furniture and nearly all of my books were bought used. It’s astounding the quality available if you’re willing to wait and buy used.
- Quit the Gym. Go for a Walk. What’s up with fitness club initiation fees, contracts, locker fees, and monthly rates? Joining a gym can be an expensive relationship, especially if your membership or contract is hard to break or goes on for years. Know your rights before joining a gym and be aware of the pitfalls. Before paying a gym, consider these 10 Free Ways to Get into Fitness to save a bundle, or just go for a walk.
- Love the Library. I love reading books. I love not paying for books even more. Save yourself on Amazon bills by going to your local library and signing out your books for free. Besides, the library offers more than just free books! Get access to videos, CDs, and audio books. Be sure to watch out for due dates and fines.
- Get a New Job. Changing careers or finding a new job can pay dividends in the size of your paycheck. Boost your earnings to save more bucks. Need resume advice? Download these free resume templates to help you find a better paying job sooner.
- Make a Shopping List. Curb impulse grocery spending by downloading the Printable Grocery Shopping List. A shopping list can help you stay on the frugal track and avoid expensively packaged foods, save time at the store, and helps you remember what healthy foods to buy. Easy.
- Switch Home Heating. Is heating your home burning a hole in your wallet? If you heat with oil, perhaps it’s time to switch to electric? Your state or province may offer rebates and incentives for switching to more energy efficient forms of heating. Try these 3 Attic Insulation Methods to Seal in Savings and Child Proof Your Electrical Outlets to Cut Energy Costs for additional savings.
- Sell Your Stuff. Are endless racks of CDs, videos, books, sports equipment, and stuff cluttering up your space? Consider selling some of your stuff to raise some funds and clear some space. Try selling through garage sales, local swap meets, and online through craigslist, Kijiji, and eBay.
- Stop Buying Crap. Do you really need the latest gizmo or gadget? Resist the marketing muckity muck when advertisers launch crap, unveil crap, and convince you to upgrade crap. Crap is expensive. Learn to Just Say “No” to Crap before your wallet gets whacked by needless crap.
- Leave the Liquor. Spirits can be fun. But lots of liquor can leave your pocketbook dry. Try drinking less alcohol to help boost your savings.
- Shop Out of Season. Save some serious dollars by buying goods out of season. Buy winter boots in the spring, get wrapping paper after Christmas, and buy a bike in the fall. Buying goods out of season means finding end of season sales, reductions, and clear outs.
- Shop In Season. Buying broccoli in January is crazy expensive. Buying fruits and vegetables in season keeps grocery costs down. Try shopping at local farmer’s markets and freezing perishables for the winter. Besides, food just takes better when it’s in season.
- Use Your Benefits. Does your employer’s compensation package include medical, dental, chiropractor, massage, and other physical therapies? Since you’re probably paying a fee for this health care you’d be silly to squander the benefit. Be sure to visit the dentist and fix all your ailments by using your benefits. A healthy smile is priceless.
- Claim Your Tax Credits. When doing your yearly taxes, don’t forget to claim your health expenses, child credits, and education amounts. Missing an exemption could cost you thousands. Collect all your receipts during the year so you’re not scrambling to prove your costs come tax season. I store my receipts in simple envelopes to help tame the clutter and confusion throughout the year.
Saving an extra $1000 a year is not impossible. It just takes some strategies, creativity, and patience to amass the moolah over time.
Your Turn! What are your ways to save big bucks every year? Share your thoughts!
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