The Best Ways to Save Money
If you're working hard to make ends meet and feel overwhelmed at how you can possibly save money, take heart! Some of the best ways to save money are easy to do and take some simple planning to put into place.
Track Your Spending
Bank of America says one of the best ways to save is to take time to see where your dollars are going. Get a small notebook and keep track of every purchase, or you use a smartphone app to help you. If you stop off at the local coffee shop every morning, it may not seem like a lot for each individual purchase. When you add them all up at the end of the week, however, those coffee trips can really add up. The same goes for eating lunch out and other habitual purchases.
Grocery Shop Plan
Shopping when you know you need food but you're not sure what, or if you're just plain hungry, usually ends up in spending more than necessary. It can also lead to multiple trips to the store when you realize you've forgotten something. One of the best ways to save on groceries is to come up with a weekly menu with an ingredient list. Review weekly sales flyers to see what's on special for the week and use those items to plan your menu. Most of all, learning to cook can save you additional dollars by curtailing eating out. Not to mention, it's much healthier than fast food.
Avoid Name Brands
Financial guru Dave Ramsey recommends buying store brands and generics as a best way to save. They're generally cheaper with little, if any, taste or quality difference. On the other hand, if you are a coupon user, you may find the name brand is a cheaper option coupled with a coupon. You'll definitely want to take a few minutes to compare and go with the cheaper option. In addition to using physical coupons, look at using rebate and coupon apps such as Ibotta and eBates. Many grocery stores also have their own apps you can use for additional savings.
Review Your Utilities
Forbes suggests taking the time annually to compare utility rates to see if you're getting the best deal. You can use websites like ElectricRate and ChooseEnergy. Depending on where you live, there may not be more than one service choice. You can still save on your bills by doing energy improvements on your home. Many of these tasks are simple and inexpensive, and the payoff to your savings over time can be significant.
Reevaluate Your Insurance
Often when people buy car insurance, they continue paying the policy annually without much thought. Car insurance rates can change, and a great way to save is to review your policy regularly says U.S. News & World Report. You can compare quotes online and if you decide your policy is still the best, you should see if there are additional changes to make, such as discounts you are eligible for or increasing your deductible.
Switch Your Cell Plan
Cell phone plans can be expensive, with the average consumer spending over $1,000 a year. There are many excellent wireless pre-paid plans that include data that are much cheaper than the big name carrier plans. Bible Money Matters' top way to save money on expenses is to review your cell phone plan and find a cheaper one. You should also look at your bills to see just how much data you actually use during a given month and whether it's feasible to reduce your data plan to something more realistic.
Advice website The Balance says a top way to save is to set up an automatic savings plan. This can be done with most banks, credit unions, and even some investment firms. These plans automatically place a certain percentage of your deposits into a separate account. Since it happens automatically, you don't need to think about it. There are also several smartphone apps that you can link to your bank account that will do the same process.
Replace Cable TV
The Simple Dollar recommends cancelling cable TV, which has become increasingly popular. The average monthly cable bill is over $100, and streaming services are much cheaper. Netflix runs from $8.99 to $14.99 per month, Hulu from $7.99 to $11.99, and Sling starts at $20. Even cheaper, get a card to your local library. Many carry a selection of DVDs as well as books and other forms of entertainment for free.
Be Aware of What You Spend
These are just a few of the best ideas to save money. The key is to be aware of what you spend and make a plan to tackle stray expenses while researching your buying options more carefully.