10 Tricks That Will Save You Money

by Sean Bryant on July 10, 2012

A lot of people are still struggling to stay ahead of debt. Here are a few ideas that will save you some cash without having to cut back too much.

1. One of the easiest ways to save money is to stop eating out. If you can’t find the time to prepare meals, remember that pre-made food from the grocery store is still cheaper than a fast food meal, and all you have to do is reheat. Check for frozen food sales. A “10 for $10” deal is not uncommon and gives you 10 incredibly cheap and easy meals.

2. Most grocery stores will post their sale items online. “Pre-shop” to find the best deals, and then design your weekly menu and grocery lists around the sale items. Keep a roster of recipes that you can adapt to whichever protein is the cheapest. Always have a specific grocery list that you stick to. Shopping with a partner will help keep you from impulse buys.

3. Grocery stores will also mark down older meats as a “manager’s special.” If you can cook that food the same day, you save money without having to worry about spoilage. If you can’t use the food immediately, but the deal is too tempting, make sure you freeze the food right away. This is a great way to get expensive meats like fish.

4. We may be in the middle of a heat wave, but turning your air conditioning up to 78 or even higher will save big bucks. Drink lots of water and use fans to stay cool. A spray bottle on hand will cool you off if you don’t mind getting a little wet. Store a damp washcloth in the freezer and place it on your pulse points for a refreshing cool-down.

5. Before you head to the store for anything from clothing to pots and pans, check out your local secondhand or thrift store first. They stock everything you might ever need at prices that are often half of buying new. Just be sure to thoroughly check the item’s quality in the store and wash it well when you get it home.

6. Some items, like boxes, paint or old furniture, can be found for free online. Check your city’s Craigslist or Freecycle posts. You can even request items that you may need. Often, people who are moving will want to get rid of extra items as quickly as possible.

7. Consider switching your car insurance provider. You can get quick online cheap auto insurance quotes from most companies, and some sites will even pull quotes from their competitors so that you don’t have to. It takes five minutes to see if you can save. Doing the same with your home insurance can also save you money, get a new home insurance quote available online today.

8. If you don’t want to switch insurance companies, raise your deductible. This will lower your monthly premiums. This is a simple way to save on a necessary cost. Just make sure that you have some savings in case of an accident.

9. Don’t be afraid of coupons. They’re free, and they always save you money. Organize them by expiration date so that you don’t miss out on any deals, and don’t be afraid to stock up on essentials if you have a good coupon. However, remember to only use coupons for the things you actually need.

10. Try group coupons. There are multiple companies that offer these and will email deals to you daily. Often you can save over 50 percent on things like oil changes or dentist appointments. The deals have to be bought within a certain time frame, but you will have months to actually use your coupon.

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created OneSmartDollar.com in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.
  • i like how a bunch of your items are related to food savings.. i find that groceries are really the variable cost in our lives that offer the greatest opportunity for savings..

  • These are all great tips! In my case, I’ve managed to get free furniture from family – so if you need something, ask around first in case someone in looking to get rid of something – it’s a win-win situation. I’ve also bought manager’s special bread and then just put it in the freezer right away.

  • Great tips on saving some $$! I don’t think I could turn my thermostat up to 78 though. We keep ours around 72 or 73…I may look to set it 1 degree higher but I’m not sure I could go more than that!

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