Tips for Saving Thousands this Year

In this economy, everyone is trying to come up with ways to make more money or spend less. If you look it up in a search engine, you won’t find a whole lot of ideas. There are ways out there, but some of them are the things anyone can tell you. It isn’t about new or old information, it’s about how you do the things suggested.

The first thing anyone will tell you about saving money is that you need to learn how to budget. Before you can do this, you really should actually look at your accounts and figure some things out. The easiest way to start this is to create an Excel spreadsheet for the next few months. Make a chart where you will place your income and outgoing. You can put each bill into a separate line and then divide up other things like when you withdraw cash, when you use debit, and credit charges. You can create a formula within Excel that will show you your profit or loss by each month.

There is also a website called Mint that can help you watch these trends, but you have to be willing to give out personal information. If all your money is going towards bills, you may have to start looking at different ways to make extra money. If you are spending a lot of money on things you don’t need, you will need to create a budget for these. If you just love to shop, a budget can force you to either buy less or go to cheaper stores. 

A lot of people think thrift stores or second-hand shops are for the poor or won’t have what they are looking for. You might be surprised by the goodies you can find in these stores. Sometimes these stores have sales where you can get things that are already pretty inexpensive for two percent of the original price.  These things may be gently used but you can always give them a good wash or re-purpose them and nobody will ever know the difference. If you feel like you are taking from the poor, even though you aren’t as you are buying things and often part of the proceeds goes towards charity, then make sure to donate back to these stores.

Another cheaper way to shop is to buy in bulk at warehouses. A membership at a warehouse will cost around fifty dollars but you will make it back within a few months. Buying food, paper supplies, and other necessities at a warehouse is going to allow you to make fewer trips to the store and save up some money.  It isn’t about buying more at once, although that will save you on gas money, but about getting the lower price per unit.

When you shop at any grocery store, you should look at the tags and examine how much per unit each variety or brand costs. Even this simple change can help you out with saving money. Also, look at stores that run promotions such as saving money on gas for every x amount of money you spend in a month at that store. This is a quick way to save a little bit of money over time without spending more than you needed to. You just make these stores with promotions your usual shopping centers.

Coupon cutting is not just for bored housewives! Purchasing a coupon mailer account or using sites that give out manufacturer coupons can save you more than just a few pennies. Some stores will double coupons from time to time but also, if you read the fine print on your coupons, you can often stack them or buy multiples on the same one. Don’t overstock on things you won’t need but when you see a coupon you might be able to use, put it aside in an envelope or with your grocery list for later. 

You never know when you might have a coupon at a store that already has a sale on the same item. You shouldn’t be going out of your way to get an item just because you have a coupon. The only way coupons really save you money is if you use them when you will need to buy the item anyway. It is tempting to buy something frivolous when you have a discount but try to not fall into this habit as it will end up costing you money.

The best thing you can do about your debts is to pay them off in full every time you can. If you use a credit card, try not to just pay the minimum amount due.  Pay whatever amount you can afford at the time.  Not only will this prevent the company from piling on interest, and charging interest on the interest; it is good for your credit score to pay your bills completely and on time. A better credit score will save you money later on new loans and will help you out when you run into trouble with financial institutions. 

Always look into cash back programs that your bank or credit company may provide. If you can sign up for a higher percent of cash back rewards, then even if it is a reward program you may save hundreds of dollars. Once again, like coupons this does not mean spend extra on something you don’t need but rather think about where and when to shop that will get you the most money back.

If your insurance has a “money back for completing programs” deal, definitely take advantage of this. These tend to be simple programs where you fill out a quiz and then do some at-home fitness routines to earn money. If there is no cash option for these reward programs, see if there are gift cards. Gift cards can be helpful during the holiday season or perhaps you will find one that satisfies your own needs.

Other ways to earn money are making websites or blogs with advertising, answering surveys online, and using search engines like Swagbucks. The one thing to remember when signing up for things like surveys or blogs is that not everyone wants you to make any money. Look around and see if they are a scam first. Sometimes this can be accomplished by merely typing the company’s name into a search engine. Most often these things do not pay in cash either, so you will have to check out what kinds of rewards they offer.

Another way to make money, not online, is to offer services to people you know.  This can be as simple as raking their lawns or babysitting their kids and as complicated as running a yard sale or marketing for a neighbor or friend’s small business. Yard sales can be a good way to get cash and shopping at them can help you save money too. 

The biggest thing is to create a financial chart of your profit or loss and find out where you are actually spending all your money. If you truly don’t make enough to pay your bills, look into things such as food stamps, EBT, or welfare. In the long run, following all of these tips will save you lots of money, maybe even thousands.