Seven Simple Ways to Save Money Today

by Steven on November 2, 2011

Are you feeling the pinch in your pocket? If you are, you are certainly not alone. Millions of people are feeling the effects of an economic downturn, environmental uncertainty and a slow job market. Saving money has never been so important in some households than right now. With this need to save money so urgent, here are seven simple ways that you can help you start saving money today.

Cook your own dinner

Even if you don’t know how to cook or think you may not like it, eating out is by far one of the most costly pleasures that many of us indulge in. Eating out may not seem like a big part of your spending budget, especially if you are careful about where you eat and head for the happy hour specials. But eating out is often one of those seemingly invisible drains on our savings. Unlike a major purchase or a vacation, it can be hard to keep track of how many times we eat out every week or how much we spend on that smoothie, latte or brunch. One of the simplest ways to begin to save money is to get into the habit of cooking often at home.

Brown bag it to work

Speaking of eating out, work lunches are another of those invisible drains on our wallet. Eating out for lunch often does not feel like eating out because it is usually not a pleasure outing. You are simply filling up before heading back to work. But if you are like most people, it can be very easy to eat out several times a week without even realizing how much money you are spending on lunch. If you’re serious about saving your hard-earned cash, make it a priority to brown bag your lunch at least three times a week. If you still need incentive, sit down and do the math. Once you have seen exactly how much you’re spending just by going to work, you might feel differently about brown bagging it.

Make a shopping list (and stick to it)

One of the biggest mistakes that most of us make before going shopping is that we arrive at the store unprepared. It can be very hard to resist temptation if you arrive at the grocery store without a plan of attack. Without a list, there is a very high chance that you will buy items that are not urgent or even necessary. You may even leave the store without buying one or more of the items you came to buy! Before heading to the grocery store, make a real effort to sit down and make a complete list of everything you really need. Don’t rely on your excellent memory and cross off each item as you move along the aisles.

Stock up on perishable items when they’re on sale

Be savvy when you go shopping. You will always need certain items: toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo, cereals and other common household goods are good things to stock up on when they happen to be on sale.

Use your local library

Maybe you haven’t stepped inside a library since . . . ever. If you are not familiar with the modern library, you will probably be surprised about what you’ll find inside. Free internet use, new release movies, bestsellers, free movie nights—many local libraries offer numerous opportunities for free entertainment. Remember that your taxes pay for the library, so go ahead and use it.

Make comparison shopping a habit

No matter what kind of purchase you’re making, large or small, the smart consumer always does a complete price check. Whether you’re planning on buying a new book or a new car, simply checking online and making a few calls can save you a lot of money.

Get organized

One of the easiest ways you can save money year-round is by becoming more organized. Organize your monthly bills, credit card accounts, shopping lists, clip coupons and organize all of these in one easily accessible folder. Save money on unnecessary late fees and don’t overpay simply by organizing your financial papers and accounts.

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