16 Easy Ways to Save $100 This Month

By Ashley Marcin on 13 November 2014 1 comment

What would you do with an extra $100 in your pocket? Think of a good answer fast, because if you follow the below tips this month, that's exactly what you'll have.

Trim the Fat on Groceries

The average family of four spends between $146 to $289 a week on groceries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We spend around $75 per week for a family of three, and whenever I'm looking to save some money, I hit this area first because I know I can still eat well for less.

1. Plan Your Meals

Meal planning can help you make use of the ingredients you buy and eliminate food waste. Start by digging deep into those cabinets and freezer bins. Make a list of what you already have and then consult cookbooks and online recipes for simple meals for the week. From there, make a concise list of what you need and stick to the list. (See also: 10 Budget-Friendly Meals Everyone Should Know How to Make)

2. Shop at Discounters

Evaluate your store options and see if discount shopping is for you. We switched to shopping at Aldi one month and immediately saw a $100 reduction in our food bill costs (around $25 savings each week on average). If you're single and smart about shopping, you could eat well on just $20 this week. Don't want to switch stores? Try adding these 25 frugal items to your organic grocery list or switching to generic/store brands.

3. Cook in Bulk

You can save both time and money with assembly or bulk cooking. This idea takes meal planning to the max, but if you play your cards right — you can spend one weekend shopping and cooking for the entire month and take advantage of bulk buys, coupon savings, and other store deals in the process.

Plan Your Entertainment Carefully

Is weekend spending your vice? We all like to have fun, but if you need to save money — the dinners out, movie dates, and other activities are things you can easy trim without losing too much quality of life. Here are some ideas for getting your kicks on the cheap.

4. Make It a "Freekend"

My family makes a habit of trying to include what we call Freekends or — free weekends — at least once a month. Seeing as we usually spend around $50, this can be a great help if we need to buckle down and save. And it's easier than you might think. Here are 50 fun, free ways to have fun with friends and 20 ideas to entertain your kids for free.

5. Find Cheaper Thrills

If you just have to go out, be smart about it. For example, AMC movie theaters offer reduced rate movies before noon. Sites like Groupon and Restaurant.com help you find deals on things to do in your area. And never leave home without checking the social media sites of your favorite restaurants and store to see if they're running any sales or promotions.

6. Use Your Perks

We keep a binder of coupons, loyalty cards, gift certificates, and other money-saving entertainment stuff right by our back door. Before heading out on a Saturday afternoon, we consult the binder to see if we can modify our plans and save a little cash in the process.

More Money Saving Ideas for the Long Haul

For a longer term money-saving plan, the tips above juyts won't cut it. Get serious about spending less with these easy lifestyle changes.

7. Change How You Think About Energy

You likely won't see huge savings immediately, but changing the way you approach energy can put some money in your pockets. Turn off lights when you're not using them. Turn your thermostat down (which can save you up to $10 per degree each day). Investigate your utility services to see if you can switch to off-peak hours usage at a lower cost. And if you're able, shop around for more competitively priced energy providers.

8. Cut Out Pricey Services

Trim the fat on services, like landline phones and cable, that you rarely use. My family relies on our cell phone plan for communication, eliminating duplication. We also switched to Netflix and Hulu (which total less than $20 a month) versus our old $100 cable bill.

9. Go Cash Only for a Month

If you have a hard time tracking the money going out of your bank account while using cards, switch to cash for a month and see if it helps you. For some, the physical act of paying with dollar bills helps with savings. I'm one of these people, and if you're not convinced, here are six reasons why using cash-only rocks.

10. Stash Your Change

While you're at it, make a habit of putting all change and dollar bills into a jar when you get home, then see how much you have at the end of the month. Many banks also offer programs that do this same thing. So, if something cost you $25.15, the $0.85 would automatically transfer into your savings account.

11. Use a Cash Back Card

You don't need to switch your entire routine, however. Using cards can actually be in your favor, just try to find one that gives you cash-back rewards for your shopping. Here are the 5 best cash-back credit cards you can apply for today.

12. Brown Bag It

Skip your morning coffee and pack your lunch to cut down on food costs that pile over your grocery bill. You can buy a whole bag of coffee for the week that costs less than $5 versus spending almost that much on a single cup per day.

13. Quit Your Gym

Is your $75 gym membership earning its keep? We cut ours years ago, and I'm in the best shape of my life. Try exercises like running and body weight workouts that require no equipment. Here are 7 online workout channels you can get for free or little money. And these at-home exercises are just as good as going to the gym, but they'll cost you nothing.

14. Spa Yourself

I rarely go to the salon for manicures, pedicures, or other spa services. I dye my own hair, too. Plus, my hairdresser offers discounts on Tuesdays — just $15 for a haircut, which is a $15 savings over the usual price.

15. Fast

Challenge yourself to a fiscal fast. You can choose to stop spending money for any length of time, but start with just one week and work up to a month. Then stick to buying only essentials like food, medicine, and bills. This tip is great in a pinch!

16. Pay Attention to Your Money

Last, but not least: Examine your bank account to see exactly where your money is going. Perhaps you have a monthly subscription you forgot about. Or maybe, like me, you realized that your bank is charging you $5 each month for an account you no longer use. Every little bit counts, so take charge of your money.

Need an extra $100 next month? How are you going to save to get it?

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