5 Ways to Save Money on Everyday Expenses

By David Ning on 23 February 2011 (Updated 4 June 2014) 3 comments
Photo: Yuri_Arcurs

"There's no such thing as a free lunch" is a phrase we often hear. That's certainly true, but even if you can't have it for free, any little bit of savings helps, right? Luckily for us, there are ways to spend less on practically everything as long as you look for proven strategies. Here are five ways to save on your everyday expenses.

Go Generic

Whether it's the brand of spaghetti that you are used to or a prescription drug that helps you feel better, chances are good that there is a generic brand that costs less. In the case of food, it might taste a little different, so weigh the pros and cons. But when it comes to something like pills, they are medically proven to work the same, so make a change and lighten the load on your wallet. (See also: Generic Drug Price Lists for Six Major Pharmacies)

Get 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

This is only for those who already carry a high balance, but with credit card interest rates going up, it makes no sense to pay that ridiculously high APR when you can just apply for a credit card with a 0% balance transfer rate.

Refinance

Rates are creeping back up, but if you are still holding onto a 6%+ interest rate on your mortgage, then it's definitely time to look into whether you can refinance at a lower rate.

You do pay fees in most cases, but as long as the difference in interest rates is big enough, the move will be worth it. With a $10,000 balance, you could be talking about $2,000 in interest payments every year!

Re-Shop Your Insurance Policies

With the help of the internet, it's painless to comparison shop. And when it comes to insurance premiums, it really pays to take a look at your policies regularly to see if a competitor can offer you a lower price, since your situation is always evolving.

Change the Way You Shop

Frugality is gaining ground in our society, but the majority of people still always pay full retail prices. Tricks such as shopping off-season, buying at thrift stores, clipping online coupons, or limiting your shopping sprees to only outlet malls are all fairly easy ways to save money and still get the same quality that you are used to.

It takes discipline to not just whip out your credit card whenever you see something you want at the store, but eventually, the money you are able to save will convince you to be patient. The key to success is to start somewhere and continue to make improvements.

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Andrea Karim's picture

I'd have to add: negotiate! This means haggling, but I'm tired of paying full price for everything. It doesn't have to be an unpleasant experience. Just a friendly inquiry as to whether the manager can offer a better price - I've been doing it with my gym, cable company, and even at Goodwill (where I found a great jacket that needed to be washed; the manager took 30% off because I would have to clean it).

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Brandon

One way I try to save money on entertainment is getting to the movie theater early. That always saves a few bucks on the weekend.

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Ian

Get Target's REDcard and save 5% on all your purchases at Target. Everyone who shops at Target should get one. It's instant savings, not some cashback or rewards program. It may not be much but it's 5% you wouldn't get otherwise.