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10 Ways to Save $100—Start During America Saves Week

The beginning of the year is a good time to think about your spending and savings habits.

For example, it’s tempting to spend the entire amount of your tax refund. After all, don’t you deserve a little treat? However, if you do spend all of your refund—or bonus, or raise—you’ll probably end up regretting your splurges, and wishing you still had some emergency funds set aside.

Often, savings strategies are obvious: You set a good-sized amount of money aside, and it’s there waiting for you. But sometimes, it’s the little things that eat away at your income and your savings.

The following list features both kinds of savings strategies: Big ones that work all at once, and little ones that add up over time. All of them can be put into action during America Saves Week, and every single one ensures that you can have your cake and eat it, too.

1. Track Your Spending, and Make a Budget

Understanding where your money is going is the best way to start saving, which is why your first step is to make a budget. Here’s an easy way to start, featured on the WiseBread blog. It might be that, once you make your budget and realize how much you’re spending in certain categories, you can immediately save $100 by making little trims here and there.

2. Pack Your Lunch

One of the keys to saving is developing thrifty long-term habits, such as bringing your own lunch to work instead of eating out. If you’re worried you don’t have time, cook something on Sunday and put it in individual portable containers. Start this week, and over the course of a couple of months, you can easily save $100.

3. Are You Being Over-Serviced?

It’s easy to “set it and forget it,” paying the same bills every month. This week, take a look at your regular services. Are you using all of your cell phone minutes? (Stop by your local PayDayHawaii location to review our competitive cell phone pricing and service plans.) Do you have more coverage than you need on your car insurance? Are you utilizing any extra cable channels you pay for? If your answer is no to any of these, call your provider, and change your plan, or shop around.

4. Negotiate Your Bills

Checking for over-servicing isn’t the only way to lower your regular bills. If you’re not paying a promotional rate for services like cable and Internet, you’re paying too much. Call your service provider, and ask if there is any way you can lower your bill. If they don’t automatically say yes, suggest that you’re going to find another provider. Be patient, nice, and firm, and you are likely to get a better rate.

5. Reuse, Repair, and Re-purpose Instead of Buying New

Every time you think about buying something new, ask yourself if you really need it, or can you make do with something you already have, can you repair it cheaper than buying new, or is it something you can borrow from a friend?

6. Get to Know Your Credit Card

Visit your credit card company’s website and read the fine print. Many credit cards offer free benefits that are not well publicized. These benefits may include extended warranties, free tickets, price drop protection, extra discounts, concierge services, and cash giveaways. Of course, you should not use a credit card at all if you carry a balance every month. If you can’t control your spending, or if you don’t have credit cards, consider switching over to a cash-only system. More insight on the cash-only lifestyle is here on the WiseBread blog. You can also use prepaid debit cards for those situations in which you need some kind of credit card.

7. Change Your Living Situation

Yes, this is a big change, but it also has big financial rewards. If you have extra space in your house, try renting out a room, either permanently, or to travelers using a service like Airbnb. Or, if you live alone, it might be time to get a roommate. If your house or apartment is too big for you now (maybe the kids are off to their first jobs or college), think about downsizing to a smaller place. Or consider moving to a more inexpensive area a little farther from town.

8. Clean Out Your Pantry

Empty your cupboards, see what you have, and plan meals around the ingredients you want to use up. You’ll slash your next grocery bill, and you’ll help ensure that food doesn’t go stale.

9. Create a “Cheap Fun Club” with Friends

If you’re trying to save money, it can be disheartening when friends invite you to things that you don’t want to spend money on. Instead, be proactive, and invite your friends to share in frugal activities with you, such as potlucks, watching movies at home, and board game nights. Look for discounts at restaurants and attractions, free museum nights and art shows, or take up inexpensive sports—hiking, walking, or swimming.

10. Sell Your Stuff

Taking the time to declutter your house and sell your extra stuff has multiple benefits. Not only can you make money getting rid of your old items, but you might also discover other useful things you had forgotten about.

Special Amercia Saves Week Offer from PayDayHawaii:

At PayDayHawaii, we offer the NetSpend prepaid debit card. With NetSpend, you are eligible for a NetSpend Savings Account: No minimum deposit, and NetSpend offers a 5.00% interest (Annual Percentage Yield)—one of the highest interest rates in the country. Load your card with funds from your savings account, or use it to deposit funds. And it’s FDIC insured.

To help you get started saving, during America Saves Week, PayDayHawaii is waiving the $4.95 activation fee on the NetSpend card!

For more information about ways to save, visit the America Saves website. You can also follow America Saves on Facebook, and on Twitter @AmericaSaves.

Visit a PayDayHawaii location for more information. You can now follow us on Twitter: @PayDayHawaii.

Written with contributions by Meg Favreau, Senior Editor of the personal finance blog WiseBread.


This entry was posted in Financial Education, Saving and Investing, Smart Shopping and Budgeting. Bookmark the permalink.

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