Quick and Easy Ways to Save Money are Everywhere
You might think that in order to save money, you have to give up something. In fact, you don’t have to look far for ideas that can save you money, and you even stand a chance of coming out ahead. As with many things, a little creativity goes a long way. Here are some quick and easy money-saving ideas to get you started:
Talk for Less
Maybe it’s time to break up! With the phone company, that is. If you’re not ready to go strictly mobile and you’re looking for an alternative to the landline local telephone company, consider switching to VoIP. Companies like Vonage, Ooma, Lingo, Magic Jack, and local cable companies provide landline features along with extraordinary savings. The average home telephone bill runs around $50 per month compared to $6 for VoIP—a fast and simple way to put $500 bucks a year back into your pocket. In most cases, you can even keep your previous phone number.
Conserve Energy, and Save Money
Switching your house over from incandescent light bulbs to Energy Star™-qualified fluorescent light bulbs can save you more than $40 in electricity costs over the lifetime of each bulb. Multiply that by how many lights you have in your house, and you’re likely to save a nice chunk of change.
Transfer Balances to a Low-APR Credit Card
If you carry a credit card balance, consider transferring it to a low-APR card like the Alliance Credit Union Visa®. This simple switch can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings over the year, and also helps you pay down your balance, since less money goes to interest each month.
The Alliance Card has no annual fees, cash advance fees, or balance transfer fees, and introductory rates start at 4.99%* for 9 months. If you’re thinking of a balance transfer, remember that not all offers are created equal. Make sure to read the fine print and consider these five critical balance transfer factors.
Want a Discount? Ask for One.
Have you ever called a company to clarify your bill and after about twenty minutes you’re being given a special rate or promo offer? A few calls to find out about special offers, better rate plans, and to cut out services you don’t need can take a nice dent out of your monthly bills. Short on time? Check out BillCutterz. That’s their job—negotiating discounts on recurring bills. Of course, they do take a slice of the savings, but it may be worth taking a look.
Remember the days when water used to be free? Nowadays, every time you buy a soda or a bottle of water, you spend at least $1.50. As an experiment, monitor how you much you spend on sodas and bottled water over the course of a week. They’re making some very nifty reusable water bottles these days. There’s also some lively discussion concerning the benefits of tap water and filtered water over bottled waters.
Save Yourself the Clipping: Go Online
There have been TV shows on coupon cutters, How-To Clip Coupon classes, and there are extreme “couponers” that can reduce a $600 a month grocery bill down to something less than a $100. This is Home Economics taken to a brand-new level. Well, the exciting news is that coupons have now gone online. Coupons.com has 242 coupons available—”Just click, print, and save.” Save on everything from Cheerios to Starbucks coffee. A couple of other coupon sites worth visiting are SmartSource.com, and CouponCabin.
Preferred Customer Cards Bring Rewards
Many retailers offer discounts in exchange for signing up for a membership. Safeway, for example, has a rewards card you can swipe at the time of purchase to get a discount on many items. Ask before you sign up if there is a way to know what items are discounted, so you can know before you buy. At least some stores list the member discount right next to the standard price.
Believe it or not, there are often free alternatives to name-brand software, including office suites, word processors, and graphics editors. If you’re a little tech-savvy, you can often find a free software package that’s just as good as the mainstream brand. Do some research first, and make sure the software is stable and has the features you need. The Free Software Directory and Open Source Software Directory are good places to start. With a little looking around, you can even find online user groups that offer free advice and tutorials on how to use the software.
Feel you’re spending too much on luxuries? Here’s a thought: For non-household spending (bills, food, etc.), put aside the credit and debit cards, and pay only with cash or checks. Why? Cash and checks require a little more time and effort, which gives you more opportunity to think about whether you really need what you’re buying. There’s a good chance you’ll find yourself spending less.
Whether it’s energy, shopping, information, or the little things you do every day, opportunities to get more out of your money are all around us. These ideas can be just the beginning. Get out there and save!
*Annual Percentage Rate. Introductory APR for a period of nine (9) billing cycles. After that your APR will range from 10.90-17.49% based on your credit worthiness.