While it may not necessarily sound like a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, for a lot of us having an extra $1,000 at our disposal would be a big deal. But outside of a bonus from work or an especially good tax refund, most of us aren't likely to just have cash like that simply fall into our laps.
Luckily, Memorial Day weekend is a great time to start new habits that could net you a cool thousand in savings by this time next year. We’ve given a lot of advice in the past about how saving a little money each day can add up to big bucks in the long haul, and today we’ve put together 11 of our favorites saving strategies.
A quick note before we get started: if you need money immediately for a cash emergency or other unexpected expense, then you probably aren’t looking for ways to save money over time. Instead, you may want to explore other options, including personal loans, credit card cash advances, or a title loan, which could put up to $10,000 in your pocket in as little as 30 minutes.
Eating fast food can be a convenient and tasty treat when you spend most of the day out of the house, but it’s also undeniably expensive. Even just a simple cup of coffee will add up week after week and month after month. Save yourself some money and pack your own lunch for work.
Occasionally, long after you’ve canceled or discontinued a service, a charge will keep hitting your bank account each month like a financial ghost. Take a minute to look through your monthly charges to determine if you have one or more of these recurring charges slipping under your radar. Weeding them out could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
This one is an oldie but goodie. Leafing through the weekly circulars, cruising online sites and cutting coupons from periodicals while you watch TV at night could add up to big savings on your grocery bill. And in this modern digital age, there are also plenty of coupon apps that can help you save big on items you use every day.
It’s not fun and it’s not exciting, but the best way to end up with money from the lotto is to stop buying tickets. The saying goes that the lottery is a tax on people who don’t understand probability, which may sound harsh, but it is also true. The chances of winning back the money you’ve spent throughout your life on tickets are very unlikely, so go with a sure winner and save that money.
While you shouldn’t go out and buy things specifically to get reward points on your credit cards, if you’re going to be spending money anyway, you might as well take advantage of the opportunity to get some of it back. Take advantage of reward programs on your credit cards if it makes sense for you and your financial situation.
Speaking of credit cards, there is no good reason to carry a balance on any of your cards for more than a month or two. The interest rate on credit card debt is often much higher than you realize, and can be enough to negate any reward benefits or savings you’ve found in any other part of your budget.
The expense of gas can add up fast, and commuting is always an unpleasant way to begin and end your day. Solve both problems by finding a co-worker or two you can carpool with. Carpooling will also save you a lot more money in the long run by decreasing the wear and tear on your vehicle from driving it every day.
Does a tree falling in the middle of the forest make a sound? Maybe, maybe not, but it definitely doesn’t need the heat running if no one’s there to watch. Air conditioning and heating your home is expensive, but unfortunately, most thermostats don’t have a way of discerning when a house is empty or not. A programmable thermostat does, and can, save you hundreds of dollars a year.
It’s an investment, but if you’re still using those old halogen bulbs then you can save yourself some money by replacing them with LED bulbs that use significantly less electricity and will last four times as long.
While there’s nothing wrong with pampering yourself from time to time, if you’re serious about saving money, salons, spas, and mani-pedis are an easy category to downscale. You can order the same salon-quality products online and have a home spa day for a fraction of the cost.
Bottled water may not seem expensive, but all those plastic bottles can add up quick considering how much you’re supposed to drink each day. Instead of buying them in bulk, invest in a filter for your sink and reusable bottle you can fill up at home for pennies on the dollar.