In today’s economy, we all have to work a little harder to save. ConsumerFu is here to help, with 65 ways to make 2013’s dollar stretch.
- Get Rid of the Landline – With Skype and cell phones, there is no reason to pay for a landline
- Use A No-Contract Cell Phone – Cell phone services can be found much cheaper from no-contract providers. Even an “unlimited everything” plans from one of these providers can be cheaper than a more limited plan by a major carrier.
- Buy a Bundle – Use the same service for your phone, internet, and cable and save money by getting it together. You may also enjoy some free extras.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat – Program it to heat or cool your house only during the times that you are home and save money on your energy bill. In summer, every degree you lower your thermostat can raise your energy costs by as much as 7%.
- Lower the thermostat of your water heater – Reduce the temperature of your hot water to 120˚ and save hundreds each year.
- Install low-flow shower heads – they use 70% less water, and you’ll also save money heating the water in the tank.
- Run appliances at night – when energy is cheaper.
- Rainwater Collection System – This is as simple as a new 30 gal stainless steel trash can parked under the rainspout. Dip the watering can in and give the flowers a drink.
- Compost Your Way to Savings – No skill required. Make a pile of dead leaves (shred them if you can) and pour some water on it once a day or so. Turn the pile with a stick. Use the decomposed material to fertilize your garden.
- Get rid of unused subscriptions – Collectibles, insurance and services you never use, these add up in the long run. Cancel them now.
- Turn Off and Unplug – Turn off the lights when you leave a room and teach your family to do so. Unplug standby devices you don’t use regularly.
- Keep Your Freezer Full – An empty freezer has to work harder to stay cold. Fill empty milk jugs ¾ full with water and add them to your freezer until you restock.
- Seal Energy Leaks Around Windows and Doors – Caulk and weather stripping are cheap and can save you a bundle in heating and cooling costs.
- Replace Incandescent Bulbs with LED bulbs– LED bulbs will last forever and use 83% less power.
- Learn to cook – Don’t blame your parents. Save eating out and take out for special occasions.
- Cook in Bulk – Make an extra pan of your favorite casserole next time and freeze it for the night you are too tired to cook. You will save on take out.
- Sell Your Stuff Online – Turn all that junk in your closet into cash. Sell just about anything that you do not need on Ebay and Craigslist. It’s amazing what you’ll get for stuff you thought was garbage.
- Find The Best Shopping Deals – Many online services, such as pricegrabber.com, allow you to compare the online prices for a product between several websites.
- Find Coupons Online – Many websites keep a catalogue of coupons for just about every store and service. A few of our favorites; www.thefind.com; www.currentcodes.com
- Buy Store-Brand Food – Enjoy the same food while saving money by not buying name brand products. Often it comes from the same source.
- Always Shop with a List – Making a list and sticking to it will help prevent impulse buys.
- Sell Unused Gift Cards – All those unused gift cards that you have accumulated from birthdays and Christmases will do better in bringing you extra cash than sitting in your wallet.
- Buy Fruits and Vegetables when they are In Season – Not only are they less expensive, but they are often locally purchased.
- Send in Rebates – Don’t just buy items with rebates, send them in! Copy your receipt and mail in your offer as soon as you arrive home from the store.
- Know Your Price Protection Policies – Many stores have a window during which they will refund money on your purchase if they reduce the price. Keep your receipts and watch the sales circulars.
- Buy Quality – Better quality items tend to last longer.
- Book on Tuesdays – The cheapest tickets are always available on Tuesday afternoon, usually at 3pm. The cheapest day to fly is Wednesday.
- Buy Individual Tickets – Purchasing airline tickets as a group can cost a lot of extra money. Buying each ticket individually could save hundreds.
- Use One Airline – Accumulate points by using one airline and save on your airplane tickets.
- Travel Outside of Peak Season – Many destinations have an off season. Save on hotel or house rentals and other vacation expenses.
- Take Care of Your Car – Properly inflated tires, fresh oil, clean air and oil filters, and regular maintenance can save a lot of money in the long run. You will save on both gas consumption and repair cost.
- Get the best gas prices – use gasbuddy.com to find the cheapest in your area. With loyalty cards you can save up to an additional 3%.
- Drive Smart – Save Money: Accelerating and braking gently saves you money. Use cruise control if you have it.
- Car Insurance Rates – How long have you been with your current insurer? Rates fluctuate monthly. Check out the other guys and save some money.
- Routine Car Maintenance – Change the air filter yourself. It’s easy.
- Change Your Own Oil – You’ll save hundreds over the life of your car. Use manufacturer’s recommended grade to get another 1-2% in savings. Here’s how.
- Keep your tires inflated – improve mileage by 3.3% by keeping them at the right pressure- that’s more than most gas reward cards.
- Use a Rewards Credit Card – Use a card that accumulates reward that work with your life. This could be travel rewards or just cash back.
- Fix your taxes– make sure you aren’t paying too much.
- Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment – Ask your local government for a reassessment of your property value and save on property tax outlay. It will reduce your overall mortgage payment by hundreds.
- Invest in Yourself – Rather than buy that new gadget or dress, put $300 in an index fund and pay yourself for a change.
- Call Your Credit Card Company – Ask them for a rate reduction or you’ll take your business elsewhere. Credit card companies are very likely to do you a deal if you just ask.
- Improve your credit score – The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to qualify for lower interest rates. This will save thousands over the life of a car loan or home mortgage.
- Funnel Your Paycheck – Set up your paychecks to automatically funnel a percentage, say 10%, into your savings account. If done automatically, you will forget about it and get used to living on just 90%, until you realize how large your bank account is becoming.
- Claim Your Unclaimed Funds – Each state has a department that manages unclaimed property. Check online for free. Do not pay for someone to do this for you.
- Get out of Expensive Habits– A $2.20 Starbucks coffee for every work day is almost $600 a year.
- Cut Your Cable Plan – Get Netflix or Hulu instead. It’s $7.99 a month – and no ads.
- Negotiate Cable Rates – If you can’t live without it, negotiate for their introductory rate. Many cable companies will agree rather than lose a customer.
- Attend Free Cultural Events – Local universities, community colleges, and civic organizations often have free cultural events, lectures and social gatherings that are open to the public.
- Check for Free Entry Days at Local Museums – Many museums and cultural attractions have a day set aside each week or month when local residents can get in for free. They don’t always promote them, so just ask politely.
- Go to the Library – Check out books, movies, and music. While you’re there check the calendar of each county library for a list of free events.
- Go to Matinees or Dollar Movies – Save money and beat the crowds.
- Cancel Magazine Subscriptions – It’s 2013, and we have the internet!
- Health Care Savings – Ask your doctor to give you sample meds from the office for short term med needs. He gets them for free so why shouldn’t you?
- Doctor Visit Smarts – In the information age there many doctors are making virtual house calls – for free. Drop him an email and tell him your problem. You’ll get an answer, free of charge.
- Preventative Health Care – Get regular check ups and physicals. The $100 you spend now will save you thousands if a condition goes undetected.v
- Go with a High Deductible Health insurance Plan – If you are healthy you can save $100’s each year by raising your deductible.
- Cut out Bad Habits – Quit smoking, cut out the soda, reduce alcohol consumption and stop snacking on high sugar and high fat foods. You will save money and health care costs.
- Cancel the Gym Membership – Don’t waste money on gyms. Unless you are actually spending a lot of time there, cancel the membership, and use the fresh air instead.
- Take Free Online Courses – Not all education has to cost an arm and a leg. Many well respected universities offer high quality courses online at no cost.
- Shop for textbooks online – Save hundreds on used texts through Amazon and get free shipping with a free student Amazon Prime account.
- Buy Refurbished Technology – Refurbished iPads and laptops can be found at sites such as the Apple online store or Overstock.com. They will work just as well, have a warranty and will save hundreds of dollars.
- Cost of Education – Send your kid to the community college for two years before you ship him off to Harvard. You can also view programs that are accelerated online degree programs to save money in the long run.
- Save Money on Software – Many software products have comparable free programs online. Instead of Microsoft Office give Google Drive or Open Office a try.