By  Thu Oct 17, 2013

7 Small Ways to Save Big

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We’re all constantly looking for the best way to save money, but sometimes the advice we’re given either isn’t realistic or it’s too much of a sacrifice to make in our daily lives.

There are, however, some small things you can change that will make a big difference in your bank account.

1. Put away money every paycheck

Most financial advisors recommend saving between 10 to 20 percent of your income each paycheck. Try putting away just $10 a week into your savings. That would equal $50 per month, or $600 per year. That’s a large chunk of money you normally wouldn’t have and all you have to do is put $10 away per week. That’s $1.42 per day — less than a cup of coffee!

2. Cut the costly coffee run

Speaking of coffee, part of your routine may be stopping by a Starbucks in the morning before work and buying a cup of coffee. With an average price at around two dollars a cup, that habit can quickly add up and get costly. It doesn’t seem like much, but spending two dollars, 5 days a week for 52 weeks means you’re spending $520 per year on just coffee.

A bag of the House Blend from Starbucks costs $11.95 and produces 24 servings. That breaks down to 49 cents a cup, much more cost-effective than two bucks a pop.

3. Make a trade

It’s fall, which means it’s time to break out the sweaters and coats. For some, this means shopping for new cold-weather threads. This year, why not skip the department stores and call up your friends. It seems most people only wear a small portion of what they have in their closets, so why not purge your unworn items in a friendly swap party? The more friends you get together, the more options you all have.

This is a great way to keep your wardrobe fresh and your closet free of clutter.

4. Grocery shop in a hurry, but not when you’re hungry.

If you allot a certain amount of time to go food shopping, fitting it in right before you have somewhere to be, it could be a strategy to help save you money.

In 2012, the supermarket industry made roughly $609 billion in sales. It’s easy to wander aimlessly down the supermarket aisles and start grabbing everything you think you may eat, especially if you’re hungry. It’s also beneficial to make a list — this will help keep you focused at the store.

If you have a list, a full stomach and a time-limit, you’ll be able to get in and out without overspending.

5. It’s probably online and it’s probably free.

These days, almost anything you want to read or watch can be found for free online. Have a subscription to a magazine? You can save money by canceling it and reading the same articles online for free. Is there a movie you want to see? Instead of ordering it on DVD, you can stream it for free online.

If you’re not a huge TV person and you only follow a select few shows, it can save you a ton of money to cancel or not even sign up for a cable. Most shows can be viewed for free online the day after it airs.

6. Buy generic

When it comes to buying prescription drugs, most of the time, a generic version is comprised of the same formula and sometimes costs half of its name-brand version. The reason why brand-name products cost more is because of the expensive marketing involved in promoting it.

The next time you’re at the pharmacy and buying Ibuprofen or cold and flu medicine, compare the ingredients with the generic version and if you don’t see a big difference, opt for the cheaper version.

7. Cut commuting costs

It’s no secret that gas prices can be costly, especially if you have a long commute to work. Sitting in traffic isn’t much fun either. There are options that can help remedy this.

Public transportation has its perks. It can save you time sitting in traffic and saves you wear and tear on your car. Carpooling or riding your bike to work if it’s close enough are other options that will save you money. Sharing driving duties with a friend or neighbor will give you a break from driving and save you on gas money. If you live close enough to work to bike, you can fit in some exercise — you’ll definitely be fully awake after you arrive to the office!

Most importantly, the less you drive, the more it can help reduce the cost of your auto insurance. Certain insurance companies will reduce your yearly insurance costs if you’ve cut down on driving. Try it — a simple phone call could save you some dough.

How do you save money? Tell us about small changes you make to save money.

 

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