When it comes to saving money, small, painless changes can often add up quickly. Whether you’re tucking funds away for a rainy day or saving up for something fun, here are a few suggestions that may help.
1. Lower your phone bill by switching to an Internet-based phone service like Skype, which allows you to make free calls from your PC. Yahoo Messenger also has a voice chat feature, which you can use to keep in touch with loved ones who don’t care for text-based instant messaging. If you use a free service for most of your long-distance communications, you can probably switch to a less expensive phone plan.
2. Curb your utility bills by washing your clothes in cold water (unless they are very dirty), closing air vents in unused rooms, and keeping the thermostat at a reasonable level. Instead of overspending to heat or cool your home to a perfect seventy two degrees, dress warmly in the winter and lightly in the summer.
3. Transfer excess money from your checking account into an interest earning savings account as soon as possible. The sooner you tuck that money away in savings, the sooner it begins accruing interest. Also, putting extra funds away helps keep them out of sight and out of mind until you really need them.
4. Take advantage of automatic savings plans. You can have a portion of your monthly income automatically transferred to your savings or investment account. If you are forgetful about finances, this is a good way to make sure your money is taken care of.
5. Save on gas by planning your errands. Instead of making several trips a week, try designating a day to take care of routine business like banking and grocery shopping as well as miscellaneous things like getting a hair cut or mailing a package.
6. Cut back on entertainment expenses by checking out books, movies, and software from your local library.
7. If possible, take advantage of “no interest” loans for major purchases. It makes no sense to take money out of your savings account, where it was earning interest, and use it to purchase an item you could have gotten with a no-interest loan!
8. Conversely, it makes no sense to have a lot of money in savings and still have interest-accruing debts. Find a reasonable balance between tucking money away in the bank and using your disposable income to pay down a mortgage, car loan, or student loan. The sooner you pay off those loans, the sooner you can start saving and investing a larger portion of your salary.
9. Get organized. When you know where your things are, you will be less likely to buy replacements for items you have “lost”.
10. Sell items you no longer need or want. If you are paying for a storage unit, consider giving what you cannot sell to charity.
By making small changes such as those listed above, saving money can be both rewarding and painless!