Lots of people say they “can’t” save money. But I don’t believe that.
Simple Strategies to Save More Money
I want to challenge you to save more, by looking at various areas where you’re spending money – and thinking of creative ways to slash costs. Start with the following suggestions:
Save on Your Current Housing
Some of the ways you can cut your existing housing costs are to get a roommate, rent out a room, and cut back on decorations and upgrades. If you’re a homeowner, you can also look into refinancing your mortgage. According to a 2011 study from CreditSesame.com, about 12 million credit-worthy Americans haven’t yet refinanced from higher-rate mortgages, and are now overpaying on their home loans. By refinancing, these consumers could save about $436 a month, or more than $52,000 over 10 years. To check current mortgage rates, receive quotes from multiple home lenders and get the best possible mortgage deal, go to HSH.com to do some comparison shopping for your next home loan.
Save on Your Car
If you live in a city with reliable public transportation, consider selling your car to raise cash. If you really need a car, start thinking of ways to lower your cost of ownership. Evaluate your monthly car payment, gas and maintenance charges, insurance, parking, and so forth. See if you can get better deals on everything. For instance, if you’re paying $50 a month for parking at your apartment complex, can you park it outside the building and get a $50 discount from your landlord? Then there’s insurance. Ask your insurer about any discounts for which you might be eligible: good driver discounts, lower rates for taking a defensive driving course, or even decreased premiums for having an alarm system or antitheft device. Also, by raising your insurance deductibles, you can save 10% to 25% off of your annual premiums. If you haven’t checked out the going rates for car insurance, visit Insure.com to see if you can lower your car insurance premiums. You may even be able to re-negotiate your car payment, through a process called auto refinancing, which allows you to get a lower interest rate and a smaller monthly payment than you currently have.
Save Money on Food
Avoid wasting money on the things that can really blow your budget like eating out frequently. I’m not only talking about restaurants. I don’t have to tell you the impact of spending $50 or $75 for dinner for two. I’m talking about eating out at fast food places, or spending what seems like small change on local delis and the like. If you’re not careful, before you know it that “chump change” can really add up. That daily run for coffee and donuts or a bagel and juice before work can cost you five bucks a day, which equals $100 dollars a month, or $1,200 a year. Just as bad are those trips to the vending machine for junk food each day at work. If you spend $3 a day on these small items, eliminating those purchases saves $900 in a year. At the grocery store, use coupons and choose your purchases based on the price per unit for everything from toiletries to food products, and take advantage of sales and reward cards from retailers who offer discounts to repeat customers.
Save Money on Medicine and Medical Costs
The typical brand-name prescription costs $100, while the average generic drug is just $30, a 70% difference. If you hit the pharmacy once a month, in the span of a year you’ll save $840 just by using generic drugs instead of brand-name prescription drugs. Also, lower your healthcare costs just by negotiating medical bills with your doctor. Be direct in asking your doctor for a discount. Doctors realize that there are 47 million people in this country without healthcare coverage, and many millions more who are under-insured. If you fit into one of these categories, or if you simply are having a procedure done that your healthcare insurer won’t cover, be upfront about it. Try saying: “Doctor, I really want to have this procedure, but it will be too expensive for me to cover by myself, without insurance. Can you be flexible on the bill so that I can get the proper care that I need?”
Save Money on Household Items
Get creative about stretching the stuff you already buy and use at home on a regular basis. We all need toothpaste, right? To save money reach for the tubes, not the pump toothpastes sold in many stores. Why? Pumps don’t last as long as tubes, so they give you less bang for your buck. What about that deodorant you buy. Did you know that budget-conscious people purchase sticks or roll-ons because aerosols get used up faster? Not to mention that aerosols are less friendly to the environment.
Save Money By Kicking Bad Habits
If you have a habit that’s hurting you, financially or health-wise, it’s high time you kicked that habit. Take cigarettes as a case in point. The average pack of cigarettes costs $4, excluding state taxes. If you smoke two packs a day, that adds up to $10 daily (taxes included) just for the “pleasure” of sucking on a nicotine stick! Do your best to rid yourself of that bad habit. If you can, you’ll save $300 dollars a month or $3,600 dollars a year, not to mention the savings you’ll reap from fewer medical bills.
Save Money on Utilities
Being a lot more conscientious about your habits around the house can help you save thousands of dollars on utilities. Here’s how to be savvier in this area. Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. That goes for toaster, coffee maker, blender, and other appliances. Leaving them plugged in is just draining power and wasting money unnecessarily. If you make a habit of unplugging these items, you’ll save 10% on your energy bills. The same thing goes for wasting energy by having so many lights on in the house. Turn off lights when you leave a room. Also, switch high-watt bulbs to lower-wattage ones or fluorescent bulbs to save even more money. Lower your hot water costs by up to 50% just by taking showers instead of baths. Only run your dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer when they’re full for additional savings on your utility costs.
Save Money on Clothes
If you must go shopping, go when there’s a sale, or use those store coupons. Additionally, save yourself money by simply shopping around. Take advantage of Internet deals and stop buying designer labels. Places like H&M and Target have really cute clothes, too, and usually no one will ever know that you bought that nice pair of jeans from a discount store or an outlet. By refusing to pay full retail price for your clothes, you can save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in the course of a year.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to save money – if you’re willing to look at every area of your spending and personal finances.
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is a personal finance expert, speaker, and author of 15 money-management books, including the New York Times bestseller Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom.
Lynnette has been seen on more than 1,000 TV segments nationwide, including television appearances on Oprah, Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show, The Steve Harvey Show, Good Morning America, The TODAY Show and many more.
All information on this blog is for educational purposes only. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach, is not a certified financial planner, registered investment adviser, or attorney. If you need specialty financial, investment or legal advice, please consult the appropriate professional. Advertising Disclosure: This site may accept advertising, affiliate payments or other forms of compensation from companies mentioned in articles. This compensation may impact how and where products and companies appear on this site. AskTheMoneyCoach™ and Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach® are trademarks of TheMoneyCoach.net, LLC.