36 Ways To Save Some Extra Cash Each Month
The holidays are approaching very quickly and with that comes a lot of stress caused by money issues for so many people. Just recently, I took a look at my own finances to see if there were any areas where I could save a little cash each month. It was such a good exercise that I decided to expand my view and look at ideas that would fit a wider range of people. Some of the following ideas will save a substantial amount of money while others only save a few dollars here and there. Keep in mind as you read through that these small savings add up very quickly and before long you’re saving a decent amount of money!
This is not an exhaustive list so if you have ways that you save money each month, please share them with your fellow readers in the comments section. This is one area where we can definitely help each other!
- Tax Benefit of Ordering Online. If you’re gearing up for a substantial purchase, such as a new laptop, take a look at ordering the item online instead of walking into a local store. If you were to purchase the new Macbook Pro laptop from Apple (without an educational discount) you would spend $1,999 plus an additional $119 on sales tax at 6%. Ordering through Amazon would get you the same laptop $4 cheaper and you would save the $119 tax. Don’t worry about shipping either–Amazon picks up the tab.
Savings: Around $60 per $1,000 spent
- Search For Promo Codes and Coupons. A quick Google Search for Promo Codes will give you a treasure chest of results! Make your search even more effective by putting the name of the website in as well.
- Sign Up For Coupons Via Email. So many of the local stores you frequent will have a place on their website for you to sign up to receive coupons via email. Papa Johns and Borders are just two examples. Borders will send you a 20% off coupon quite often which is very useful this holiday season.
- Buy In Bulk Where Possible. If you have children, this suggestion can be a huge saver. Items such as snacks, paper towels, sodas, trash bags and detergent can all be found in larger sizes at big box retailers. Consider joining Costco but take into account the cost of the membership. If the membership cost is prohibitive, look for bulk items in your grocery store or Wal Mart.
- Consider Open Source Software. It is very easy to log on to your website of choice and order Microsoft Officeor Quicken but it is just as easy to download a free alternative. OpenOffice is a fantastic alternative to Microsoft Office and will save you hundreds of dollars in the long-term.
- Buy Store Brands For Common Items You’re throwing money away if you’re buying name-brand aluminum foil, Ibuprofen or paper towels! Switch to a store brand and save!
Savings: About $5.00 per grocery store visit or $20 a month
- Cut Back On The Movie Theater Experience. Going to the movie theater to catch the latest releases just isn’t worth it. Consider renting a DVD instead. When considering concessions and ticket prices, renting a DVD from Blockbuster and making your own popcorn will save a couple around $20 for the evening.
Savings: $20 per movie
- Rent DVD’s From Netflix. Take the above idea one step further and rent your DVD’s from Netflix instead ofvisiting your local movie shop. Netflix doesn’t have the high overhead that those retail stores carry and the savings is passed on to you.
Savings: Roughly $3 per movie
- Invite Friends Over Instead of Going To The Bar. Going to the bar can be a very expensive evening! Oftentimes, the cost of a few mix drinks out on the town would buy you a bottle of liquor to have at home. Instead of venturing out, consider inviting friends over for a cheap poker night. The savings on your drinks will surely provide you with the $10 buy-in!
Savings: Varies on your lushness
- Drink Some Beers Instead of Cocktails. I know James Bond wouldn’t be the same if he didn’t order that trademarkMartini but does it matter as much to you? Beer is usually had for $2 at a bar while a mix drink costs around $4. If you buy beer, you can drink double-fisted all night for the same cost!
Savings: $2 per drink
- Visit Your Local Library Reference books are great to own but how many novels do you read for a second time?Do you really need to own that book? Instead of buying your books, take a look at your local library. Most libraries get the new releases the same time as your local book store.
Home – Utilities and Other Bills
- Cut The Home Phone Line. Old-fashioned land line telephones are being tossed aside by so many households these days for good reason. Avoid the taxes and fees by going through Vonage. You get the same quality service and also save on long distance!
Savings: Varies by location but around $15 per month
- Are You Watching Your Premium Channels? I carried HBO at my home for the longest time because I wanted to watch The Sopranos. That $13 per month is now back in my pocket since the show is off the air. If you aren’t watching your premium channels, call the cable company and cancel. You can always add them again when the show you like comes back on the air.
Savings: Around $10 per month
- Look At DSL and Cable Internet Pricing. Cable Internet costs around $55 per month in my town. DSL’s normal rate (after the introductory $19/month offer) is $30 per month. I personally think the extra speed is worth the $25 premium but consider the switch if you’re just checking your email and browsing the web.
Savings: Varies by provider
- Are You Using Your Cell Phone Plan? So many of us purchased our cell phone plan based on what wethought we would need. Now that you have a history of bills to look over, try and determine whether you really need the plan you’re on. Most of the time, cell phone plans go up in $10 increments so see if it might be time to drop down to the plan below.
- Consolidate Your Cell Phone Accounts. If you are married and both spouses have their own cell phone accounts, stop throwing money away! You can definitely save by combining your two accounts into one “family share” plan.
Savings: Varies by company
- Group Errands Together And Save On Gas. Do you go to the grocery store on one day, Home Depot the next, WalMart one other day and so on? Group all three of those trips into one. Cutting out that back-and-forth mileage should save you a little bit of cash every month at the pump and will even help the environment!
Savings: Varies on mileage
- Stop Wasting Electricity! When you’re sound asleep in your bed, why is your computer on? Some people need to leave their PC’s on at night if they’re running a server or downloading large quantities of data. However, if you’re like most people, your computer should be turned off when you go to sleep. If nothing else, set your computer’s power options so that it goes to sleep when you do.
Home – Banking and Fees
- Use Your Savings To Pay Off Credit Card Debt. If you have a credit card that isn’t on a 0% interest introductory period and you’re carrying a balance, you’re throwing away a great deal of money! This one seems so obvious but people still build savings accounts while carrying debt! If you have $1,000 in debt on a 21% card, you’re throwing away $17.50 in interest fees every month.
Savings: $17.50 per $1,000 debt on a 21% card
- Bank Errors Will Cost You. Take 30 seconds each time a bank statement or credit card bill arrive in the mail.Almost every year, I catch a fee or purchase on one of these statements that shouldn’t have appeared. This past month, I found a $60 charge on my bank statement for an order that was canceled. A quick call to the merchant and my $60 was back in my account.
- Use Online Billpay. Online Billpay is a great way to save on stamps, envelopes and energy. Paying your bills is quick and easy and you’ll save $0.39 for each one you don’t have to mail.
Savings: $3.90 per 10 bills
- Don’t Pay Your Credit Card Company Interest And Fees. With so much competition in the credit card industry, there is no reason for you to hold a credit card with annual fees. Unless you’re getting a great deal on benefits, the $60 annual fee or so should go right back in your pocket. Cancel those cards and sign up for a card that doesn’t burn you every year.
Savings: About $60 per year
- Now Check Your Bank Fees. Just like the credit card company, your bank is probably charging you a monthly feeto keep your money there. Shop around and find alternate options such as student checking to cut those fees out.
Savings: Around $5-$15 monthly
- Use Your Bank’s ATM. Convenience will hurt you. It is so easy to run to the closest ATM machine and take out$20 but you’re going to get hit with a $2.00 fee! That’s 10% of your withdrawal! Instead, use your bank’s ATM or get cash back with your purchase at supermarkets and retail stores when you know you will need the cash. If you have the willpower to not spend cash in your pocket, take out a full week’s worth of cash at once if you must pay a fee.
Savings: $2 per ATM Visit
Home – Kitchen
- Eating Out Eats A Hole In Your Wallet! Don’t get me wrong–eating out in restaurants is a nice treat but can you afford it? Surely you can eliminate one trip per month and save yourself some cash. Consider this–a couple of cheeseburgers, an appetizer, two sodas and a tip at a neighborhood grill will drain you of about $32.50. At that price, you could cook yourself a couple of steaks at home and enjoy a few beers with your meal. You’d probably have money left over for dessert too! Eating out really adds up so definitely review your meals.
Savings: $10 for two people at a moderate restaurant
- Supermarkets Love Selling Prepared Foods. Those subs, pasta dishes, rotisserie chickens and chicken fingers near the deli counter at your grocery store are tough to pass up until you see how much it costs for you to prepare the same food at home. Sure, it can lengthen the time between your purchase and your first bite but it is often worth every second.
Savings: Varies by meal
- Shrink Your Waistline And Grow Your Savings Through Soda This is an easy one that helps your wallet and your weight. Substitute one soda per day with a glass of water. Buying soda in a 12 pack brings the cost down to only a quarter or so per can. Even though it is only a quarter, one soda per day getting substituted with water will save you some cash!
Savings: $7.50 per month for one soda a day
- Paper In Your Cabinets Means Less In Your Wallet. Why are you eating on a paper plate or drinking out of a plastic cup? Are you at a barbecue? If not, use a regular dish and glass for your meal and keep your money in your wallet! You’ll run your dishwasher a few extra times per month but the savings will not go down the drain.
Savings: $10 per month
At The Office
Savings: Up To 6% Of Your Salary
Savings: About $4 per month for basic coverage
Savings: At least $2 per day, $60 per month
Savings: $24/month for two $3 coffees each week
Savings: $12/month for 3 trips a week.
- Stop Smoking! This is a dead horse that continues to be beaten but why throw away so much money? Everyone will be happier once you quit and you’ll save your lungs and your money.
Savings: $42/month for only 3 packs a week
- Cancel Your Gym Membership. I’m a big advocate of the gym but so many people have good intentions and no follow-through. If you’ve signed up for a gym membership and you’re not going, take the trip at least one more time to cancel.
Savings: About $50 per month
- Let Your Hair Grow. I was on a schedule of getting my hair cut once per month. I changed to once every six weeks and I doubt anybody has noticed. This cuts out (pun intended) some of those costly trips each year and saves me a bit of cash.
Savings: $87 per year
How Do You Save Your Money?
Every one of us is frugal in some way so if you have something to add to this list, please do! Leave a comment telling everyone how you save some cash each month and give us an estimate of the amount.