Top 5 ways to save money today!

posted by Melissa Cappleman
July 17, 2009

With ever-increasing daily expenses, such as gas & grocery prices, money is especially tight these days. 

Here are my top 5 ways to save money today.

Tip #1 – Grocery shop once a week

You will save both time and money with this tip. Since you’ll only be going shopping once, you’ll be saving on gas. More importantly, you will avoid the SuperStore effect – when you go in to pick up a loaf of bread and come out with a cartful of stuff.  And don’t forget to plan for lunches (leftovers from the previous night’s dinner work just fine) and save even more money.

When you do go on a weekly grocery shopping trip, stop by a farmers’ market first. Not only will the produce be fresher, it will likely be less expensive than at a store. And you’ll be able to cook with what’s in season, further reducing your grocery bill.

Tip #2 – Raise your insurance deductible

When every extra dollar in your budget counts, this might be a great way to quickly raise funds. Calculate how much you would save over a period of 6 months.  If you would be able to relatively easily pay the new deductible in case of an accident, call your agent.

Tip #3 – Cancel your vision insurance

First do the math. Typical vision expenses for an adult include 1 eye exam every two years, a pair of glasses and/or 2-year supply of contact lenses. Add up all these expenses and then divide by 24 months. If the result is less than what you’re paying monthly in your vision insurance (plus whatever co-pay/deductible your plan requires), then it will make sense to simply pay out of pocket and save the difference.

By the way, next time you need to get a new pair of prescription glasses, keep the frame and ask to replace the lenses. It’ll be a bit cheaper and many places will clean and tighten the frame for free.

Tip #4 – Ride public transportation

Think about how much you spend for parking, gas, tolls, repairs and other auto-related costs. Going completely without a car might be a bit extreme, but most areas offer very efficient public transportation options.  Some communities also offer ride-share and van-pool options that are flexible and easy to sign up for. Check out your city government’s webpage for more information about available options.   

There’s also a nice fringe benefit to riding public transportation (aside from saving the environment). You’ll finally have time to do absolutely nothing! Think about the books you always wanted to read and didn’t have time for!

Tip #5 – The INSTANT money-maker

Did you get a sizeable income tax refund this year? If yes, then make sure to adjust your withdrawals. This way, instead of giving the government an interest-free loan, you’ll give yourself a pay raise.

Check out this handy IRS calculator.  http://www.irs.gov/individuals/page/0,,id=14806,00.html

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