How to Save Money

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50 Money Saving Tips for You

It’s not always easy to make ends meet. You want to save money and build a nest egg but something always seems to get in your way. That’s because you don’t have a plan. But we do! Follow these 50 money saving tips and you could be headed to financial stability in no time.

1.       Start with a solid budget and well-defined goals. Make them both realistic based on what you actually earn and spend every week. It’s easier to follow a budget when you have one.

2.       Add up your expenses every month, including all your cash receipts. Then, pick a date (the 1st or the 30th) to examine what you’re really spending your money on. That way you’ll know where you can trim.

3.       Set some short-term savings goals. Instead of only considering big purchases as your end goal, set smaller marks along the way. Can you save $10 a week, $20? Start small to get in a good savings habit and increase the amounts as you can.

4.       Use an envelope system, putting cash for recurring expenses in real or virtual envelopes so all your necessary expenses are covered before you spend on luxuries.

5.       Consolidate your student loans. Depending on the loans you have and your personal situation, you could save hundreds of dollars a month and thousands over the life of your loan by consolidating your loans or paying them off early. Charter College’s Education Loan Specialists are very knowledgeable about student loans and can help you determine the best course of action, based on your unique situation.

6.       Don’t use credit unless you can pay off the full amount you spend. Credit cards can charge whopping interest and penalties if you’re late. Don’t give away your hard-earned money to a bank.

7.       Cut down on debit purchases. It’s easier to spend money when it doesn’t feel like cash.

8.       Use autopay. Autopay will help ensure that you pay all your bills on time to avoid late fees and interest. If you can’t set up autopay, use a system of calendar alerts so you never miss a payment.

9.       Pay close attention to the balance in your bank accounts so you NEVER overdraw them. Banks charge steep fees for those erros.

10.   Don’t use ATMs anywhere but your own bank. User fees that out-of-network institutions charge can add up.

11.   Renegotiate when you renew. Whether it’s health, homeowners or car insurance, make a habit of checking for a better deal every time you renew your policies. How much money could you save?

12.   Raise your deductible. Contact your insurance agents and see how much you could save by increasing your deductibles; it might be worth it.

13.   Don’t buy on impulse. For big ticket items, wait a month before your purchase. Do you still need it? Then, do some research and find the best deal. For smaller purchases, wait a week.

14.   Save your loose change in a bank that can’t be opened. Make a habit of throwing change into a sealed piggy bank every day. When it’s full, break open the bank and deposit it into a bank account.

15.   Save as much as you spend on your nonessentials. So if you’re treating yourself to a latte, only do it if you can match its cost and put the same amount into savings.

16.   Calculate your expenses based on what you earn. For example, if you make $10 per hour and you see an outfit that you really like that costs $70, ask yourself, is it worth seven hours of your time? When you put purchases in perspective, it will help you reconsider before you buy.

17.   Take full advantage of matching funds your employer might offer. If your company matches contributions to a 401 K or other retirement fund, don’t miss out on that free money.

18.   Use discounts offered through your company. Many companies offer discounts on their own products, but some also have arrangements that provide employees with discounts on everything from phone bills and computer purchases to fitness centers and entertainment venues.

19.   Stay healthy. Time out of work can cost you big time, so eat well, get enough sleep and exercise, avoid alcohol and cigarettes, and wash your hands –a lot!

20.   Practice preventative dental care. Don’t let poor oral hygiene turn something minor into something major and costly. Take care of your teeth and gums and go for regular checkups.

21.   Buy non-perishables in bulk. If you have the room to store items like paper goods, diapers, toiletries, etc., then shop when they’re on sale and buy them in bulk.

22.Have your breakfast and coffee at home. Those fancy coffee drinks can set your budget back. Instead of grabbing unhealthy and expensive food out, eat in.

23.   Make your lunch instead of buying it. The few bucks you save each day could add up to hundreds of dollars by the end of the year.

24.   Entertain in instead of eating out. Consider taking turns with friends and family to have some fun at each other’s homes. You could do potluck suppers where everyone pitches in or schedule hosts in rotation.

25.   Cut back on eating out. Whether you eat out every week or just a couple of times a month, consider eating out one fewer time. Take that savings and put it right in your saving

26.   Make weekly menus and cook at home. Consider making dinners that do double duty. For example, can that roasted chicken become chicken tacos the next night? Or will it serve as leftovers for lunch?

27.   Use a grocery list. Use your menu to create a grocery list –and stick to it so you don’t make unnecessary purchases. Make sure to buy produce in season and search out sale items.

28.   Buy store brand. The expensive cereal you buy with the fancy packaging might be the very same as the less expensive one in the store’s brand bag. Big food companies often produce their products for supermarket chains –they just don’t put their name on it.

29.   Use public transportation whenever you can. Instead of Ubers and taxis, save money by using buses and trains.

30.   Bargain shop for travel. Use the internet to search for cheap flights and hotels. Comparison shop by researching several different websites, and then contact airlines and hotels directly to see if they can beat your best price.

31.   Go for generic. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, choose off-brand or store brand medications. They often contain the same active ingredients as their name brand counterparts but can cost considerably less.

32.   Research prescription drug suppliers. Especially if you take regular medications, find the best source from which to purchase them. Supermarkets sometimes offer lower prices than pharmacies and some medications can be purchased online for a discount.

33.   Drive the speed limit. You’ll save on fuel by driving the speed limit and avoiding fast stars and stops. It’s also better for your engine, which could help increase the longevity of your automobile.

34.   Perform regular car maintenance. Keeping your car tuned helps it perform more efficiently, saving you money at the pump. Regular maintenance can also detect little problems before they become big—and costly—ones.

35.   Comparison shop for gas. But don’t drive around. Do it online. It’s easier than ever to find the cheapest price for gas in your area with an online search.

36.   Get three quotes. Before you do any home repairs, get at least three estimates. You want to choose the contractor who will do the best job for the cheapest price.

37.   Conduct an energy audit of your home. Your utility company may even do it for you. Discover energy inefficiencies in your home and you could save hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.

38.   Plug up energy gaps. If air can get in and out, so can your energy. Caulk drafty windows, add weather strips to doors, and insulate around pipes.

39.   Choose quality over price. Whether you’re buying clothes, furnishings or appliances, opt for good quality that will last. You’ll save money in the long run by not having to replace items so often.

40.   Buy at discount outlets. You can find brand names at discount outlets and save money without sacrificing style. Consider shopping online and at consignment shops for a wider variety and deeper discounts.

41.   Don’t dry clean. Avoid the chemicals and the cost by washing clothes yourself. Even dry-clean-only items can often be sponged clean without damaging the fabric.

42.   Get rid of the land line. Do you have a cell phone and a land line? Why?

43.   Check your plan regularly. Contact your cell phone provider and make certain that you’re using the cheapest plan for your needs. You may be entitled to discounts that you’ll only discover if you ask.

44.   Discontinue subscriptions and memberships you don’t use. If you belong to a gym, but don’t go, cancel your membership. If you subscribe to magazines and newspapers that you never have time to read, consider accessing the content online. Some publications have online-only memberships that are less expensive than their delivered versions.

45.   Find free fun. Your city or town probably hosts dozens of entertainment opportunities every month. Find them and have a lot of fun without paying a lot of money.

46.   Use your library. You can get books, magazines, movies, and music –all for free from your local library.

47.   Opt for amateur sporting events. If you love baseball but can’t afford the pros anymore, check out less expensive college or high school ball. Those young basketball, football and hockey players might be heading to the pros and you’ll be able to say you saw them when.

48.   Set gift-giving caps. It’s great to give gifts to people you love, but you don’t have to break the bank to do so. Agree to price limits and plan to give gifts that really are more about the person and the thought than the gift.

49.   Give your time. Sometimes the best gifts only cost your time and talent. Homemade gifts can become appreciated treasures. Or consider giving a few hours of handiwork or housecleaning.

50.   Shop right after the holidays. Have you ever noticed how cheap things are right after Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s? For non-perishable items, consider buying now for next year.

At Charter College, we know it can be hard to stick to a budget. That’s why we wanted to share these money saving tips. Do you have some of your own? Let us know!