Perhaps Ben Franklin said it best: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” A penny isn’t very much money these days, but the principle still applies. Cutting expenses is almost like increasing your income, and small amounts can add up quickly. Read on for 10 tips for saving money that are more feasible than you realize. They’re so simple, in fact, that you can start them today to save more of your hard-earned pennies!
- There’s an app for that. It seems that these days most chains of restaurants and stores have their own apps for your smartphone. While it might not be worth it to download all of them, setting up accounts with a few of your favorites could save you money. Stores like Target have plenty of coupons in their app that save you money right at the register. Apps like Ibotta apply to many different stores and give you your rebates back later.
- Make a list and check it twice. Having a list when you go shopping helps eliminate impulse purchases. Grab a cart, get what’s on the list, and check out. Avoid the aisles that are the most tempting for you.
- Bring your own bag. Many cities and states are reducing plastic bag use by charging for bags. Bringing your own could save you big every time you go to the store. Even if your store doesn’t charge for bags, many stores will give you a few cents off your order for each bag you bring. Just leave them in the car and you can’t forget them. Great for the environment and your savings account!
- Choose generic brands. Most of the time, there’s very little difference between the pricier name brands and their generic equivalents. Some products are even made in the same factories and simply packaged under different labels. Be more loyal to your savings account than you are to particular brands.
- Make a meal plan. Americans throw away a lot of spoiled food every day. Since food represents a pretty big part of the budget for most of us, throwing away food means throwing away money. A little bit of planning can help reduce this waste. If you know your recipe uses half of a package of something, plan another meal that week that will use up the other half. Only buy the food you need for your plan and you’ll avoid throwing money in the garbage.
- Pack a lunch. At work and at play, eating out costs a lot more than making your own food. Whether a container of leftovers from dinner, a thermos of soup, or a simple sandwich, you’ll save big when you take your own food and snacks with you!
- Drink water. Adding a soft drink to your restaurant meal will usually add about $2 to $3 to your bill. A few cans a day from the vending machine adds up to about $20 per week. Even buying in bulk from the store can’t be compared to the free, or nearly free, water that we all have access to. It’s a whole lot better for your health, too!
- Check your thermostat. Turning your heat down just a degree or two in the winter can add up to big savings on your energy bills. Likewise, turning the thermostat up a few degrees in the summer cuts your air conditioning costs. There’s no need to keep your home at the same temperature year-round. Dress for the season and enjoy smaller utility bills.
- Check out your local library. The convenience of online shopping gets us the latest best-seller on our doorstep within two days. But since most books are only read once, a library is often a better option. You may have to wait a bit for popular new releases, but most books are easily available. You can even download e-books and audio books directly to your devices. And the library is more than books! Browse the latest copy of that magazine that caught your eye in the checkout line or borrow a DVD instead of renting for your next movie night.
- Avoid extra fees. Know where to find local surcharge-free ATMs in the Savannah Metropolitan Area. Pay your billson time (automatic bill pay through online banking is really helpful for this!) and avoid late fees. Plan your online purchases to take advantage of free shipping offers whenever possible. These fees can really add up and give you nothing in return.
For more tips for saving money, or advice on what to do with those hard-earned pennies that you’ve saved, contact us through our Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union website or step into one of our credit union branches in Chatham, Bryan, or Effingham counties.