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Lately, it seems as if weve become oversaturated with tips and tricks to save money. Everywhere you turn, websites, blogs, and magazines are rehashing lists of sure-fire money-saving methods. However, many people still overlook the simplest ways to cut back on their expenses. From buying in bulk to cutting back on that morning coffee run, some of the most effective saving methods are often the most obvious. Weve compiled a list of 10 easy ways to save money every month.
1. Compile Loose Change
Remember when you were 10 or 11 and kept a piggy bank? Well, now is the time to dust off that bank and put it to good use! Clean out your purse, go through your drawers, empty out your pockets, and collect all of your loose change. Youll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly the nickels and dimes add up.
2. Buy Items Second Hand
Many websites have a great reputation for selling used items such as books, CDs, and DVDs. Instead of shelling out $20 on a brand new DVD, why not check out websites like Amazon, Half.com, or Ebay to score some great deals? Additionally, these aforementioned sites allow users to rate their transactions, ensuring that buyers are warned about unreliable sellers. While youre browsing for the next DVD to add to your collection, you might want to consider selling some of your own unwanted things for extra cash.
3. Stretch Out Your Shopping Trips and Swap Clothes with a Friend
Are you a shopaholic and low on funds? Get together with a few friends and have a clothing swap. Not only will you be cleaning out your closet, but youll be able to snag a new dress or pair of skinny jeans without spending a cent.
4. Get Smart about Grocery Shopping
Have you ever taken the time to stop and think about your spending habits at the grocery store? If you find that youre spending much more than necessary, now is the time to to reassess your purchases. Do you find that you plan to buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread and end up leaving with three bags of chips? One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If youre hungry while you shop, youll be tempted to buy things that you crave, rather than the essentials that you need. Additionally, one way to cut back on frivolous grocery habits is to make a list. Write down everything that you need beforehand and make it a point to stick solely to your list. Check your local newspaper or even browse online for weekly coupon specials.
5. Buy Store Brands and/or in Bulk
Instead of going to the store every week, start buying things in bulk. Although this method isnt applicable to everything, it does save money when it comes to everyday household items, such as toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and simple food items such as cereal and dried pasta. Additionally, WalletPop recommends stocking up on items such as toothbrushes, blank DVDs, and light bulbs.
Similarly, another way to instantly save money is to buy store brand rather than name brand groceries. In fact, the majority of store brands cost an average of 27 percent less than big name brands, reported Consumer Reports in October 2009. Worried that the taste will be drastically different? As it turns out, name brands care more about the appeal of the packaging rather than perfecting the products taste. Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst for the NPD Group, told Consumer Reports that, as a result of that extra spending, national brands are more likely to have the latest in convenient packaging, and foods may have the newest tastes or be fortified with trendy supplements.
6. Make a Weekly Allowance
This may sound like the most obvious tip, but perhaps its obvious for a reason. If you find that youre always spending over your means, maybe its time to think about enforcing a weekly allowance. Think about your expenses: what are the absolute essentials that you need every week? Using old receipts, attempt to calculate your weekly expenses. To prevent going over your quota, only take out the amount of money you need each week. It may be hard at first, but with serious effort and discipline, youll learn how to budget your money more wisely
7. Avoid Late Fees
After awhile, late fees can really add up. Make it a priority to return your DVDs and library books on time.
8. Cut Back on Dining Out
Attempt to cut back on eating out. Sure, its nice to have someone cook for you, but it certainly puts a strain on your wallet. Instead of dining out every week, try to limit yourself to once or twice a month. Test out your cooking skills; websites such as Foodnetwork.com have a plethora of recipes for every level of chef, from beginner to veteran. Invite friends over for a potluck. Instantly, youll have a big meal without having to do all of the work!
9. Limit Your Morning Coffee Fix
If youre one of those people who cant function without coffee, try to limit your trips to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Start brewing your own coffee at home and buy a thermos to take on those long commutes. Dont have a coffee maker? Never fear! Brands such as Folgers, Nescafe, Maxwell House, and Tasters Choice all make instant coffee.
10. Recycle Cans and Bottles
Need spare change? Many supermarkets have recycling centers where you can get money for your old bottles and cans.