10 Ways to Save $100 This Week

by Meg Favreau on 25 February 2013 11 comments

This post is part of America Saves Week.

Money is like a cake. When you get that delicious dessert, it can be tempting to eat it all at once. But if you do, you’ll end up with a stomachache, that sugarcoated feeling on your teeth, and perhaps most importantly — no cake for later.

Similarly, if you spend all of your money, you’ll probably end up regretting your splurges — and wishing you had some funds sitting in the bank.

Often, savings strategies are obvious — you set a big piece of cake aside, and it’s there waiting for you. But sometimes, it’s the little things that make that cake disappear. I’m reminded of the time my childhood friend Mike held a cake on his lap while we were driving home. He took fingerful after fingerful of frosting — and when we got home, Mike discovered that he had completely defrosted the cake without realizing it.

The following list features both kinds of savings strategies — big ones that work all at once, and little ones that add up over time. All of them can be put into action during America Saves Week, and every single one ensures that you can have your cake and eat it too.

1. Track Your Spending, and Make a Budget

Understanding where your money is going is the best way to start saving, which is why your first step is to make a budget. It might be that, once you make your budget and realize how much you’re spending in certain categories, you can immediately save $100 by making little trims here and there.

2. Pack Your Lunch

One of the keys to saving is developing long-term habits — such as bringing your own lunch to work instead of eating out. If you’re worried you don’t have time, cook something on Sunday and put it in individual Tupperware containers. Start this week, and over the course of a month, you can easily save $100.

3. Check If You’re Being Over-Serviced

It’s easy to “set it and forget it,” paying the same bills every month. This week, take a look at your regular services — are you using all of your cell phone minutes? Do you have more coverage than you need on your car insurance? Are you utilizing any extra cable channels you pay for? If your answer is no to any of these, call your provider, and change your plan.

4. Negotiate Your Bills

Checking for over-servicing isn’t the only way to lower your regular bills. If you’re not paying a promotional rate for services like cable and Internet, you’re paying too much. Call your service provider, and ask if there is any way you can lower your bill. If they don’t automatically say yes, suggest that you’re going to find another provider. Be patient, nice, and firm, and you can get a better rate.

5. Vow to Reuse, Repair, and Repurpose Instead of Buying New

Every time you think about buying something new, ask yourself — do you really need it, or can you make do with something you already have or that you can borrow from a friend?

6. Get to Know Your Credit Card

Visit your credit card company’s website and read the fine print. Many credit cards offer free benefits that are not well publicized. These benefits may include extended warranties, free tickets, price drop protection, extra discounts, concierge services, and cash giveaways. Of course, you should not use a credit card at all if you carry a balance every month. If you can’t control your spending, consider switching over to a cash-only system.

7. Change Your Living Situation

Yes, this is a big change — but it also has big financial rewards. If you have extra space in your house, try renting out a room, either permanently or to travelers using a service like Airbnb. Or, if you live alone, it might be time to get a roommate.

8. Clean Out Your Pantry

Empty your cupboards, see what you have, and plan meals around the ingredients you want to use up. You’ll slash your next grocery bill, and you’ll help ensure that food doesn’t go stale.

9. Create a “Cheap Fun Club” With Friends

If you’re trying to save money, it can be disheartening when friends invite you to things that you don’t want to spend money on. Instead, be proactive, and invite your friends to share in frugal activities with you, such as potlucks, watching movies at home, and board game nights.

10. Sell Your Stuff

Taking the time to declutter your house and sell your extra stuff has multiple benefits. Not only can you make money getting rid of your old items, but you might also discover other useful things you had forgotten about.

How are you planning to save money for America Saves Week?             

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Guest's picture
Nick

Although it won't free up/save $100, this could help contribute a little bit. Make sure to unplug appliances, cell phone chargers, etc when not being used.

Guest's picture
Monday

We quit using our dryer and instead hang clothes to dry. My partner and I always bring lunch to work. We don't have cable or a landline phone. We plan food shopping around errands we have to run or on the way home from work. We buy in bulk, use coupons, watch the weekly store ads to buy what's on sale. We save our change and use it for going to the movies, buying espresso, etc.

Guest's picture

Getting a roommate is my plan as of now. I have been living alone for quite some time now and I LOVE it. I moved out on my own when I realized I was going to have to stay for a fifth year of college. I loved my roommates all four years previous but I had had enough with living with at least one other girl if not three. It wasn't even the bathroom sharing that was the problem. It was their inability to ever clean or their ability to eat all the food in the fridge, even if it wasn't theirs. It was the things like this that convinced me to move out on my own but the more I look at my bills and rent, I realize how much cheaper it would be for me to split the cost with some one else. Especially my cable and Internet bill. It'd be the same price but with a roommate, I would only have to pay half and I wouldn't mind that at all.

Meg Favreau's picture

I'm actually in a similar situation, Mary! I've lived alone for the past two years, and I LOVE it. But I've also been thinking about how I'd like to do things like travel more, and getting a roommate is an easy way to make that happen faster.

Guest's picture
Trish

I do almost all of these monthly and now make all of my own laundry soap, liquid fabric softener, dishwasher detergent, etc. Those alone feel like they save me hundreds.

Guest's picture
Pat

Before you can save, it is critical to know exactly how much you spend for everything. Just keeping a journal of what you spend for a few weeks will reveal where your money is going. it may shock you! I've been able to reduce my expenses by becoming aware of what I really need--not what I want or am impulsively driven to buy. The extra money I've saved has allowed me to have an emergency fund and sock away much needed money towards my retirement.
Ways to save small amounts of cash that add up over time: paying strict attention to bank fees and overdrafts, renegotiating cable and phone bills, bringing coffee and lunch from home, understanding food labels (especially price per portion), doing my own manicure/pedicures, shopping from my own closet and using the slow cooker to make meals to freeze for later. Your money is like a leaky hose unless you plug up the holes.

Guest's picture

Not eating out is seriously one of the best ways to save a ton of money. People don't realize how much money they spend on everything from a coffee every morning to grabbing a sub at lunch. You can save a TON of money by making the simple choice to make everything at home. Make a grocery list and a meal plan for each week. This is not only so much smarter and cheaper, its much healthier.

Guest's picture

Great article! It seems easy enough to test out this week... I better start by cleaning out the pantry :)!

Guest's picture
Russell

I agree with these tips 100%. Budgeting is the hardest for me, as probably for most. The other two I liked were using up old ingredients and inviting friends over. I can relate from experience with those two methods!

Great info!

Guest's picture

This is an awesome information. By simply follow 2 to 3 of the tips here I can save 100 - 200$ per week. Amazing home guide for moms and dads who want to save some more for their future plans.

Guest's picture

Mastering your budget is key for financial success. I am speaking from experience. Once budget came into my life, I have been able to pay down a lot of my debt. In fact you would be surprised at how much extra money you can find if you stick to your budget. This is a good article and I'm already practicing some of these money saving tips. Still have some ways to go...but I'm gonna get there.