Each Tuesday, we will share a new tip on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to follow us for the weekly reveal along with other helpful information and interesting posts.
#1. Save your loose change. Putting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund.
#2. Divide the cost of an item by your hourly wage. If you're thinking about buying a $50 pair of shoes and you make $10 an hour, ask yourself if those shoes are really worth five long hours of work? It helps keep things in perspective.
#3. Aim for short-term savings goals. Set aside $20 a week or month rather than aiming for long-term savings goals, such as saving $200 over a year. People save more successfully when they keep the short-term goal in sight.
#4. Bring lunch to work. If buying lunch at work costs $5, but making lunch at home costs only $2.50, then in a year you could afford to create a $500 emergency fund and still have money left over.
#5. Use a grocery list. Shop with a list and stick to it. People who do food shopping with a list, and buy little else, spend much less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to the food market. The annual savings could easily be hundreds of dollars.
#6. Stick to a budget. How can you know where your money is going if you don’t budget? How can you set spending and saving goals if you don’t know where your money is going? You need a budget whether you make thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
#7. Grocery budget. Make a monthly budget for bills and other monthly expenses, but also include a budget for spending money and groceries. If you give yourself a set amount for groceries, such as $100 a week and stick to it, it’s easier to manage. The same for spending money. By the end of the month, you know what’s leftover and what you can spend.
#8. Generic prescriptions. Ask your physician to consider prescribing generic drugs. Generic drugs can cost several hundred dollars less to purchase annually than brand-name drugs.
#9. Make your monthly credit card payment on time. The $30-35 you save by not being charged a late fee each month on one card would save you most of the money you need for $500 in emergency savings Also, if you pay off your credit cards in full at the end of the month – you won’t be charged interest.
#10. Only use the ATMs in your credit union’s network. Using the ATM of another financial institution once a week could well cost you $3 a withdrawal, or more than $150 over the course of a year.
#11. Use a low limit credit card for gas. Designate a gas credit card with a low limit and only use this card when filling up your tank. This automatically sets a budget, if you budget the $300 into your monthly budget like you would normally do for gas, then you’re building credit at the same time by paying off your card each month. Also, a card with a low limit is a lot safer if it were to get stolen or become lost.
#12. Raise your deductibles on auto and homeowners' insurance. Being willing to pay $500-1,000 on a claim, rather than only $100-250, can reduce annual premiums by as much as several hundred dollars.
#13. Keep up with car maintenance. Keep your car engine tuned and its tires inflated to their proper pressure. Doing both can save you up to $100 a year in gas.
#14. Avoid fast start-ups and stops when driving. Over time, you will save hundreds of dollars on lower gas and maintenance costs.
#15. Compare prices. Whether you’re grocery shopping, traveling or filling up your tank, it’s always best to research prices and see if you can nab a better deal!
#16. Avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry; you’ll buy things you don’t need out of pure need to satisfy your empty stomach.
#17. Carpool. You may even receive a rebate from the Clean Air Campaign at the end of the year. Plus, you save money on gas!
#18. Pay off credit card debt. Credit card debt is the number one obstacle to getting ahead financially. Those little pieces of plastic are so easy to use, and it’s so easy to forget that it’s real money we’re dealing with when we whip them out to pay for a purchase, large or small. Despite our good resolves to pay the balance off quickly, the reality is that we often don’t, and end up paying far more for things than we would have paid if we had used cash.
#19. Take advantage of public transportation. Avoid spending money on a parking space, gas and auto maintenance.
#20. Go green. Choose compact fluorescent bulbs instead of regular bulbs. You may save up to $60 in electricity per light over their lifetime.
#21. Refinance. Lower your interest rate or extend your term to save money through the life of an auto or home loan. You can save thousands in interest just by lowering it ½ a point!
#22. Look for discounts. Look for sales and shop local outlets for clothes or home items.
#23. Keep good records. If you don’t keep good records, you’re probably not claiming all your allowable income tax deductions and credits. Set up a system now and use it all year. It’s much easier than scrambling to find everything at tax time, only to miss items that might have saved you money.
#24. Update your will. 70% of Americans don’t have a will. If you have dependents, no matter how little or how much you own, you need a will. If your situation isn’t too complicated, you can even do your own will with software like WillMaker from Nolo Press. Protect your loved ones and write a will.
#25. Get paid your worth and spend less than you earn. Make sure you know what your job is worth in the marketplace by conducting an evaluation of your skills, productivity, job tasks, contribution to the company and the going rate, both inside and outside the company. Being underpaid even a thousand dollars a year can have a significant cumulative effect over the course of your working life. No matter how much or how little you’re paid, you’ll never get ahead if you spend more than you earn. Often it’s easier to spend less than it is to earn more, and a little cost-cutting effort in a number of areas can result in a big savings. It doesn’t always have to involve making big sacrifices.
#26. Contribute to a retirement plan. If your employer has a 401(k) plan and you don’t contribute to it, you’re walking away from one of the best deals out there. Ask your employer if they have a 401(k) plan (or similar plan), and sign up today. If you’re already contributing, try to increase your contribution. If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan, consider an IRA.
#27. Have a savings plan. You’ve heard it before: Pay yourself first! If you wait until you’ve met all your other financial obligations before seeing what’s left over for saving, chances are you’ll never have a healthy savings account or investments. Resolve to set aside a minimum of 5% to 10% of your salary for savings BEFORE you start paying your bills. Better yet, have money automatically deducted from your paycheck and deposited into a separate account.
#28. Invest. If you’re contributing to a retirement plan and a savings account and you can still manage to put some money into other investments, all the better.
#29. Maximize your benefits. Employee benefits like a 401(k) plan, flexible spending accounts, medical and dental insurance, etc. are worth big bucks. Make sure you’re maximizing yours and taking advantage of the ones that can save you money by reducing taxes or out-of-pocket expenses.
#30. Review your insurance coverage. Too many people are talked into paying too much for life and disability insurance, whether it’s adding these coverages to car loans, buying whole-life insurance policies when term-life makes more sense, or buying life insurance when you have no dependents. On the other hand, it’s important that you have enough insurance to protect your dependents and you income in the case of death or disability.
#31. Never spend on Impulse. Think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours. Acting on this principle will mean you have far fewer regrets about impulse purchases, and far more money for emergency savings.
#32. Combine cable, internet and telephone service. Companies now offer combined services that not only cost less, but offer the conveniences of a single bill.
#33. Send away for and follow up on rebates. After you buy a product with a rebate, send in the form that day. Then mark your calendar to remind yourself to follow up with the rebate company if the check hasn’t shown up.
#34. Buy refurbished electronics. Purchasing refurbished electronics is a great way to get the most bang for your buck. Although many people think that buying refurbished means buying low quality, that's not always the case. Refurbished laptops, smartphones, and other electronics are simply products that have been returned to the retailer or manufacturer, and then repaired and put back on sale at a discount. Many times these items are returned because the box was nicked or marked during shipping. Always do your research and make sure that this is the best option for you, but it's definitely worth looking into.
#35. Convert to a gas water heater. They’re more efficient and will save you money in the long run.
#36. Never pay checking fees. With so many free checking account plans available, there’s no reason to pay a fee. And if the bank happens to charge you one, ask them to reverse the fee or take your business to a credit union – like CDC FCU, where checking is free.
#37. Get a rewards card. There are so many rewards cards that pay out in cash or points that can be redeemed for travel or products. Many of these cards don’t have an annual fee. Many people travel for free using points earned from a credit card. The CDC FCU credit card offers really great rewards.
#38. Shut vents in unused rooms. This isn’t advisable if you have forced air heating, but shutting vents in unused rooms can save on your heating and cooling bill.
#39. Get tires from Costco or other wholesale clubs. Simply put, they cost way less than buying them at the dealer or even at a chain tire store. Plus, they usually come with a lifetime warranty for rotation, balance, inflation checks, and flat repairs.
#40. Get organized and avoid missing payments. Everyone has been there. Missing a payment or two because the bill was buried beneath a stack of papers or in a list of emails. Get organized and avoid those late payment penalties. Bill pay is a great way to make sure your payments are made on time, every time. You can combine all of your bills into one easy payment.
#41. Grow a garden. Even if you start out with just a few things, like herbs, tomatoes or another vegetable you eat often, you can save on that item by growing it yourself. You also get the satisfaction that comes from eating locally and enjoying fresh food grown by your own two hands.
#42. Enjoy the simple things. Fun doesn’t always have to come from a movie theatre, comedy club or theme park. Stay in, pop some popcorn and enjoy a game night friends and family.
#43. Emergency fund. Having a back-up fund may prevent you from having to tap or max our credit cards if your refrigerator dies or your car needs maintenance.
#44. Use cold water. The most expensive part of washing clothes is heating up the water. Using cool water saves money—around 50 cents per load—on heating bills. Hot water does in fact clean better, but save it for seriously soiled clothes rather than the just-slightly-stinky stuff.
#45. Leave your wallet behind. Going for a walk? Leave your wallet when you head out so you won't be tempted to grab coffee or go on a mini shopping trip.
#46. Delete credit card numbers. Remove credit card numbers from online accounts… like right now! This way, with each new purchase, you'll have to consciously plug in those numbers and question whether the purchase is really necessary.
#47. Don’t buy just because you have a coupon. Coupon clipping shouldn't be a chore. Sit down once a week or once a month and only clip things you really will use rather than buying something just for the sake of getting a good deal.
#48. Double the recipe. Cook multiple meals at a time—double a recipe, or cook a few recipes at once—and then freeze some for later when you've got no time for meal prep (saving you from the expense of take-out food). Ifonce-a-month cooking is too daunting a task, stick to once a week or a couple times per week.
#49. Hang stuff up to dry. Dryers not only expend energy, they damage clothes and decrease their lifespan. The actual cost of running a dryer isn't all that steep, but the more immediate effect is maintaining the integrity of each item of clothing.
#50. Take care of the clothes you have now. Even if you have to pay a little more to do a separate load of whites, you'll promote clothing longevity. Clothes are an expensive investment, and taking good care of your wardrobe can save money over time. Take small steps—sew on lost buttons, patch jeans (totally looks cool anyway), etc.—to keep clothes past their prime.
#51. Ditch cable. Streaming is taking over how people watch TV these days – and making it a lot easier to get the show you want to see and making it a lot cheaper too! Check out this article for more info. http://time.com/money/3767927/cable-tv-without-paying-bill/
#52. See what’s going on around town. Check the local newspaper, town website, or coffee shop boards for free or cheap events, from farmers' markets to concerts in the park, that are going on around your hood.