Monday, March 11, 2013

Five Ways to Save Fifty Dollars or More

The new tax hike and the resulting smaller paychecks have many people scrambling for ways to save money. Those on fixed incomes need to be especially frugal. With a few relatively painless changes, you can shave at least $50 a month off your budget. You’ll be surprised how much further your money can stretch!

1.    Pack a Lunch
Working folks are always in a rush, especially when it comes to eating during the workday. It’s convenient to have lunch delivered, use the drive-through or get takeout. It’s also expensive. For example, if you regularly spend around $7 for lunch, cutting that out at least twice a week can save you $56 each month.

2.    Use Coupons
Coupons may seem like a waste of time, but the truth is that when combined with sales, they can bring you significant savings. There are many online tools to help you match coupons with your local sales. You may even be able to get some items for free.

Even using coupons occasionally should generate at least $510 in savings monthly. Six months later and you could have more than $60 extra in your pocket. If you make big bucks as a Hanover Social Security attorney or a cardiac surgeon, the time spent clipping coupons may not be worth the savings, but if you need the money, get your coupons ready for the shop!     

3.    Flat Rate Utility Bills
Utility providers often have a fixed rate payment option that’s based on your past usage. It’s helpful to have a set payment each month, especially during the summer and winter months when electricity usage spikes. This can potentially save you hundreds during those months, but be aware that you must pay off the balance (if there is one) at some point during the year.

4.    Change or Cancel Your Cable Plan
In the age of web TV, almost every show you can think of is available through services like Hulu Plus or Netflix. These services cost less than $10 per month, saving you at least $30-$40 or more depending on your cable plan. If you want your local channels, you may be able to get them for free using a digital antenna.

5.    Stop Buying Books and Movies
If you spend money on books every month, consider checking them out at your local library instead. Even if your library doesn’t have the book you want, they can often get it through interlibrary loans. Did you know that libraries also have movies? Some of them have quite an extensive collection, even with newer releases. If you typically buy just one book or DVD a month, using the library can save you $15 or more.

There you have it – five simple ways you can get more money in your pocket without making huge sacrifices.
Carly is a frugal saver and freelance writer interested in the environment and self-improvement.

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