Save Money in 5 Seconds or Less With These 29 Easy Tricks

Saving money often takes a lot of effort and time, but I have found some tricks you can use to save money in just five seconds or less. Some these are quick tools to help you avoid unnecessary purchases, and others are quick ways to save money on things you do decide to go ahead and buy. Finally, there are some really quick things you can do at home to save money that only take a few seconds.

5 Second Tricks Before You Buy

Saving starts before you even pull out your pocketbook.

1. Do Your Own Assessment

Before you buy something, think about how much you would pay before you look at the price tag. Only consider buying if the price is less than the number you came up with before you saw the price tag.

2. Consider Your Cash

Do you have enough cash in your purse or wallet to purchase the item? If not, leave it on the shelf.

3. Is It Inconvenient?

Imagine exactly where you would put the item after you buy it. Do you have room? Would you have to rearrange things to make a place for it? After this quick exercise you may decide not to buy the item, saving yourself not only money, but the hassle as well.

4. Sum Up the Parts

Visualize all of the materials that went into making the item. Is it worth consuming that much of the world's dwindling resources?

5. Walk Away

If you really want or need the item, you'll come back later.

6. Use the Buddy System

Text a friend (or your spouse) for a second opinion — "Do you think I should buy this?" For best results, pick a frugal buddy!

7. Do a Price Check

Pull out your smartphone, and do a quick online search. You might find a better price and save money.

8. Is It Worth the Work?

Make a quick estimate of how many hours you would need to work to pay for the item. Is it worth it? For example, if you take home $20 per hour, you would need to work three hours to pay for a $60 shirt. Considering how much time an item will cost you is a quick way to put a potential purchase into perspective.

9. Estimate Cost Per Use

Take the price of the item and divide by the number of times you will use it. Does the potential purchase seem like a good value considering how much it costs for each use?

10. Downgrade

Find a lower priced version of the item you are about to buy. For example, pick the generic or less fancy version that costs less.

11. Find the Clearance Rack

Pick up an item on sale or from the clearance area instead of your usual brand.

12. Edit

Take something out of your cart at checkout that you don't really need. It is easy to get into "buying mode" at the store and put extra things in the cart.

5 Second Tricks to Save on Purchases

Save at the point of attack with some smart buying strategies.

13. Carry Your Coupons

I keep a small file of them in my car. Coupons won't do any good if you leave them at home.

14. Use a Rewards Credit Card

If you've decided that this is a worthy purchase, and you have the cash to pay for it, use a rewards credit card to get cash back or earn travel discounts. (See also: How to Pick the Best Rewards Credit Card for You)

15. Use a Store Rewards Program

On top of rewards credit cards, sign up for your favorite store's loyalty program. When I buy 10 gallons of milk, I get the 11th gallon free. When I buy 10 pizzas, I get the 11th one free. At the grocery store, I use a fuel saver rewards program — last week I got gas for less than $1 per gallon!

16. Order Water

Skip the expensive beverage loaded with corn syrup or chemicals

17. Skip the Extended Warranty

Decline extended warranty when you check out. In most cases, extended warranty is a better deal for the store then it is for you. (See also: 4 Warranties That Aren't Worth It)

18. Decline Dealer Add-Ons

If you're buying a car, beware of the sneaky hidden costs dealers may be trying to pack on.

19. Avoid Unneeded Size Upgrades

Why not get a large instead of a medium for only 50 cents more? Because paying 50 cents extra for something you don't need is a waste of 50 cents.

5 Second Tricks at Home

Saving money starts before you leave home.

20. Hang Up

Politely end telemarketing calls or excuse yourself from sales pitches within the first five seconds. This will save you time and likely money as well.

21. Fill Up

Fill your water bottle at home and take it with you.

22. Lights Out

Turn off lights when you leave a room to save money on your electric bill.

23. Go On a Canceling Spree

Cancel an unused subscription to a streaming video service or game account. This can often be done with a couple of computer mouse clicks (or smartphone screen taps).

24. Change Your Furnace Filter

It'll increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system and you'll save money on your utility bill. Plus your system will last longer with regular maintenance.

25. Check the Air Pressure in Your Tires

Low air pressure costs you money in the form of reduced gas mileage and wears out tires faster.

26. Do a Balance Transfer

If you have a high interest credit card debt, use a balance transfer offer to pay less interest and get out of debt faster.

27. Invest in Index Funds

Direct your investment contributions into an index fund with low expenses (around 0.1%) instead of a managed fund with a 1% or higher expense rate. This can be done in a couple clicks on your investment company's website.

28. Switch to LED

Put an LED bulb in a frequently used light fixture. Here's how much you can save.

29. Tweak the Temp

Turn your thermostat up a couple degrees in summer and down a couple degrees in winter.

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