25+ Practical Ways to Save Money Every Day
Trimming the excess fat from your budget is not as difficult as it might seem. Although you may have little control over your mortgage or day care costs, you can save hundreds of dollars every month on groceries, utilities, cell phone charges, transportation costs, bank fees, prescriptions, entertainment, and much more. This article teaches you over 25 ways to save money every day.
How much money can you expect to save each month by trimming the excess fat from your budget? That is the $64,000 question since results vary from household to household. Variables include income, size of household, spending habits, time management, level of enthusiasm and discipline, willingness to change, and prospects for the future. Here are some guidelines you might consider:
If your income is $50,000 or less, try to eliminate $250 - $500 a month in nonessential expenses. That adds up to $3,000 - $6,000 a year.
If your income is between $50,000 and $100,000, try to eliminate $500 - $1,000 a month in unnecessary expenses. That adds up to $6,000 - $12,000 a year.
If your income is between $100,000 and $150,000, try to eliminate $1,000 - $2,000 a month in unneeded expenses. That adds up to $12,000 - $24,000 a year.
How to Save Money on Utilities
1. If you’re not using an appliance, unplug it.
2. Turn off the lights in a room you are not using.
3. Don’t keep the television on if nobody is watching it.
4. Install compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). According to EnergyStar.gov:
If every American home replaced just one light bulb with a light bulb that's earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars.
By changing one bulb, you could save $40 or more over the lifetime of the bulb. By changing five bulbs, you could save $200 or more over the lifetime of the bulbs. By changing 10 bulbs, you could save $400 or more over the lifetime of the bulbs.
5. Raise the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. They do not have to be on the coldest setting.
6. Don’t leave your holiday or outdoor lights on during the day.
7. Turn off your outdoor lights when you get home.
8. According to the United States Department of Energy, you can save about 10% in annual utility costs by installing a programmable thermostat.
9. Have your furnace tuned up every two years and save up to 15% in fuel costs.
10. Clean or replace furnace filters once a month. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy consumption.
11. Soak your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher.
12. Run full loads of laundry and dishes.
13. Do multiple loads of laundry in succession. Your dryer will work more efficiently because it will not have to keep warming up.
14. Did you know that the permanent press cycle on most washing machines uses about one-third more water than the regular cycle?
15. Check the progress of your dryer periodically. This allows you to untangle sheets, bath towels, jeans, or overalls so that they will dry more quickly.
16. Buy a water-efficient toilet. If your toilet was manufactured prior to 1994, you are probably losing about two gallons of water every time you flush.
17. Repair leaking faucets. A dripping faucet can waste over 300 gallons of water a month. That adds up to nearly 4,000 gallons a year.
18. Since it takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub, taking a shower is more cost-effective.
19. Water your outdoor plants and lawn early in the morning before the sun burns off moisture.
20. Pay your utility bills on time to avoid late charges.
How to Save Money on Banking
Bank fees can add up. According to CNBC.com, “Americans spend more than $15 billion in bank fees even though free checking still exists at many credit unions and online-only banks.”
Here is a list of 30 common bank charges:
Account research fees
Balance inquiry fees (online, by phone, or at an ATM)
Cancelled check copy fees
Cash deposit fees
Charges for redeeming rewards points
Fees to replace a damaged, lost, or stolen debit card
Direct deposit fees
Dormant account fees
Early account closure fees
Fees for depositing international items
Fees for returning original checks with paper statement
Fees for transferring money from checking to savings, and vice versa
Foreign transaction fees
Human teller fees
Minimum balance fees
Mobile banking fees
Money order fees
Monthly maintenance fees on checking accounts, etc.
Online bill payment fees
Overdraft protection transfer fees
Over-the-phone bill payment fees
Paper statement fees
Returned deposit fees
Returned mail fees
Stop payment fees
Traveler's check fees
Wire transfer fees
Would you want to pay $1.00 to replace a lost or damaged debit card? How about paying $1.00 for a printed ATM statement or a roll of quarters? What about paying $3.00 to use a human teller? And it doesn’t stop there. Miami.CBSLocal.com reports that "For a dollar a month, some banks allow you to go straight to the front of the phone line, skipping other callers on hold."
Here are 10 banks that offer free or low-cost checking:
- Ally Interest Checking
- Bank of Internet USA
- Capital One 360
- Discover Bank
- Everbank Yield Pledge Checking
- FNBO Direct
- Key Bank
Fabulous Freebies That Will Add Joy to Your Budget
Here are 10 websites where you can score lots of free stuff including free groceries:
- AllYou.com—Receive over 50 birthday freebies as well as coupons for groceries and household items.
- Coupons.com—Find coupons on over 2,000 brands on everything from laundry detergent to canned tomatoes.
- FreeSamples.org—Get free beauty, food, health, household, and pet samples. You can also receive free household and restaurant coupons.
- SmartSource.com—Find free coupons for groceries, beauty aids, and weight loss products.
- TheBalance.com—Receive free food and beverage samples including cereal, chips, coffee, crackers, and entrees.
- TheKrazyCouponLady.com—Find over 4,000 free grocery coupons.
- Get free samples from Procter & Gamble at PGeveryday.com.
- Receive free coupons from Kraft Foods at KraftFirstTaste.com.
- Find free Kellogg’s coupons at KelloggsFamilyRewards.com.
- Score a free piece of chocolate every month at participating Godiva boutiques. To qualify, you must sign up for Godiva’s Chocolate Rewards Club at Godiva.com/get-rewards.
How many customer rewards cards do you have?
Miscellaneous Ways to Save Money Every Day
1. Stop smoking cigarettes. According to 247WallSt.com, "A person who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day in New York state will spend more than $4,000 a year, which is roughly 10% of the average American income before taxes."
2. Do you really need 100 cable channels? Why not switch to basic cable and use the money that you save to pay off debt or boost your retirement savings.
3. If you've been eating out more than twice a week, consider eating out no more than once a week, once every two weeks, or even once a month. You will appreciate eating out more and be amazed at how much money you can save. When eating out, always look for half-priced dinner specials.
4. Stop spending $5.00 or more on a latte and muffin every morning while on the way to work. Use the money that you save to pay off debt or build up emergency savings.
5. Give up the daily or weekly lotto. Your chances of winning on a single ticket are one in 175 million. If you're spending $10 a week on scratch-off tickets, that adds up to over $500 annually.
6. Are you looking for something to do this weekend? Get a free newspaper and check the listings for free or low-cost theatre, exhibits, festivals, kid stuff, etc.
7. Sign up with every free customer rewards program that comes your way and receive discounts and freebies. Here are some of the most popular rewards programs:
Grocery store fuel perks programs: You can save 10 - 20 cents off a gallon of gas for every $100 you spend on groceries, prescriptions, and qualifying gift cards.
- Giant Eagle
Department stores, drug stores, etc.:
CVS ExtraCare Program
DSW Rewards Program - This is one of the best customer rewards programs around. For example, when you sign up to receive DSW emails, you will receive $10 off your next in-store or online purchase.
Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards
Walgreens Balance Rewards
West Elm Rewards Program (The Key)
Restaurants, pizza shops, coffee bistros, etc.:
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Coldstone Creamery
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Jamba Juice
- Jersey Mike’s
- Moe’s Southwest Grill
- Pizza Hut Rewards
- Red Robin Royalty
- Rita’s Italian Ice
- Starbucks Rewards
8. If you cannot show up for a medical appointment, call in advance and reschedule it because you might be charged a no-show fee. In an informal poll, almost one third of the medical practices surveyed said they charge a fee for no-shows. Although $25 seemed to be the standard amount for a no-show fee, one practice charged $50.
9. If your employer has a flexible spending account, don't lose another dollar and use it. A flexible spending account--also known as an FSA--is a tax-advantaged plan that allows you to set aside a portion of your earnings to pay for qualified expenses such as medical and dependent care. Money deposited into an flexible spending account is not subject to payroll taxes, thus saving you money.
10. Even if you have health insurance or Medicare, you can still save 10%-80% on hundreds of prescription medications at GoodRX.com. You can compare prices for all FDA-approved prescription drugs at virtually every pharmacy in America. GoodRX’s database includes big pharmacy chains (Walgreen’s, CVS/Pharmacy, Costco, etc.), supermarket pharmacies (Safeway, Kroger, Albertsons, etc.), local pharmacies, and mail-order pharmacies.
11. If you receive a gift card that you don’t want, you can sell it online and get up to 93% cash back on its face value. You can also buy other people’s unwanted gift cards and save up to 65%. Choose from thousands of retailers including Best Buy, Crate & Barrel, Disney Store, Dunkin Donuts, Exxon, Home Depot, Kroger, Olive Garden, Red Robin, Safeway, Sears, Shell, Starbucks, T. J. Maxx, Target, and Walmart.
12. To help you shop smarter, here are the best products to buy for each month of the year:
January – Cold-weather apparel, Christmas decorations, linens, bedding, towels, televisions, fitness equipment, and watches
February – Cold-weather clothing and discounted Valentine’s-Day gifts
March – Frozen foods (March is National Frozen Food Month), St. Patrick’s Day items, and cold-weather apparel (what’s left of it)
April – Mattresses and jewelry (Never buy jewelry close to holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.)
May – Furniture and mattresses over Memorial Day weekend
June – Father’s Day deals, gardening supplies, and lingerie (Victoria’s Secret holds one of its semi-annual sales during June. The other one is in December.)
July – Clothing and outdoor gear during Fourth of July sales, house paint, and personal electronics during Christmas in July sales
August – Patio equipment, lawn mowers, swimwear, laptops, and back-to-school supplies
September – Summer clothing, patio equipment, lawn mowers, swimwear, cars, and iPhones
October – Candy, cars, jeans, outdoor furniture, and camping gear
November – Black Friday deals on tablets, laptops, gaming systems, and home appliances
December – Christmas decorations beginning the day after Christmas