21 Teeny-Tiny Ways to Save
They say it’s the little things in life that have the biggest impact — and that’s quite true in the context of money matters. While making massive changes to the way you spend can help boost your bottom line, so too can minute measures that you may not have considered. Starting today, keep more cash in your pocket by instituting these teeny tiny ways to save. (See also: 37 Savings Changes You Can Make Today)
1. Sign Up for the Keep the Change Program
The Keep the Change program is exclusive to Bank of America, but there are other banks that have similar programs that round every debit-card purchase up to the nearest dollar and deposit that amount of change into your savings account. If you use your debit card frequently — I sure do — the savings can add up quickly.
2. Dress Warmer Around the House When It’s Cold
No need to turn up the heat when there’s a nip in the air. Head to your closet and put on socks, sweatpants, and a nice warm top to stay cozy instead of cranking up the thermostat.
3. Use Natural Light Whenever Possible
During the daytime, rely on natural light around your home and office when you’re working. You’ll save electricity, of course, but you’ll also prevent your bulbs from burning out faster.
4. Eat More Leftovers
Don’t let perfectly good food go to waste by stuffing it in a plastic container to rot in the fridge. Eat the leftovers for lunch or incorporate them into a new dish the next night.
5. Raise Your Insurance Deductibles
If you raise your insurance deductible, your premium will go down. Of course, then you’ll have a high deductible, but if you're confident that you won’t get into an accident anytime soon, this money-saving idea can save you a nice chunk of change.
6. Pay Down Credit Card Debt
If you have a credit card, stay on top of the payments — and try to pay them down quickly — so you’re not charged the high interest rate that’s attached to them.
7. Walk or Bike Instead of Driving
Put the car in park and travel by foot or bike to run errands that are near enough. Even once or twice a week will preserve a generous amount of gas throughout the year.
8. Bundle Your Media Services
If you don’t already have a package deal for cable, phone, and Internet, call your provider to inquire about a bundle. Savings for bundling all three products could result in a decent reduction on your monthly bill.
9. Use Your FSA If Your Employer Offers It
If your workplace offers a Flex Spending Account, take advantage of it for co-pays and other eligible medical expenses and health products.
10. Use a Grocery Store Club Card
Many grocery store reward loyal customers with exclusive savings that are only given to those shoppers with club cards. It only takes a minute to sign up, and you’ll see just how valuable it is on the bottom of your receipt.
11. Open the Windows When It’s Cool Out
Instead of blasting the air conditioner or fan, open the windows to cool off if the weather outside is conducive.
12. Examine Your Bills Closely
This is one of my favorites on the list because so many people take their bills for granted. The billing entities (probably) aren’t trying to rip you off on purpose, but mistakes happen, whether it’s human error or a computer glitch. Take a look at your bills closely each month to make sure that all charges are correct. If something seems to be off, inquire about it — it could mean more money in your pocket.
13. Brew Your Own Coffee
If you’re a frequent coffee-shop patron, you’ll save money when you switch to a regular regimen of home-brewed coffee. Just be sure you're making the appropriate amount of coffee for those drinking it; don’t brew a whole pot if you only intend to drink a cup or two. You’ll also lessen your carbon footprint by investing in a reusable travel cup — I prefer these barista-approved KeepCups — which will save you a few cents off your coffee shop purchase on those sporadic days when you choose to indulge.
14. Unplug Electronics and Appliances When Not in Use
"Vampire voltage" is when electricity is being consumed by electronics that are plugged into an outlet but not in use. It’s called that because it’s literally sucking money out of your pocket. When you’re not using an electrical item, unplug it to avoid being bled dry.
15. Record Movies on Your DVR
Have you noticed that there aren’t many good DVDs available lately? Unhappy with the current rental selection, I’ve starting scrolling future screenings on my premiums channels to find movies that I’d like to watch later. When they're in my queue on a Friday night, I can skip the potential On Demand or DVD kiosk purchase and put a few bucks back in my budget.
16. Reuse Paper
Every sheet of paper has two sides. If you can use the other for notes or for printing, do it. That’s less waste in the recycling bin, fewer trips to the office store, and a savings of up to 50% on paper each year if you make this a habitual practice.
17. Visit the Library for New Books
When you’re in the mood for a new book, visit your local library (yes, these still exist) instead of purchasing a hard copy or digital download.
18. Pay Your Bills Online
If you haven’t noticed, stamps aren’t cheap. You can save a few dollars a month on stamps and a few dollars a year on envelopes by paying your bills online instead of through the regular mail.
19. Just Say No to Newspapers and Magazines
We live in an age where information is disseminated almost immediately. By the time those print editions come out, someone in cyberspace has already let the cat out of the bag. Drop the newspaper and mag subscriptions — and avoid them in the checkout lanes — to save money.
20. Save Loose Change
Put the change in your pocket in a jug at the end of each day. Every few months or so, roll the change and either deposit it in your savings account or treat yourself to something special.
21. Buy Store Brand Food
Switching just one of your name-brand favorites to the store brand will save you anywhere from a few cents to a dollar or so. Imagine how much you can save if you switch several.
What other small ways can you think or to save a few bucks here and there? Let me know in the comments below.