There are times when it seems like living within a budget is too much effort. A series of small things may throw your budget completely off track, where just one or two of them could have been handled with less stress. If you have been living on a budget for a while, you may have enough to cover the unexpected. Or, you may want to regain the security of having the emergency fund back to the size it used to be.
Regardless of the reason, finding ways to save money will help you add to your savings, with only a few sacrifices. This will help in fitting all the new expenses in your budget, without the need to find other ways to earn money.
The best way to plan to save money 2is looking at the choices you make. Many ideas can be had by looking around the web for sites like savemoneytips.com or by looking at what your friends purchase, if they use different brands, stores or products than you do. This is far from a complete list, but a few of the ways that just might save you some money are:
- Fill out surveys for prizes from your favorite stores
- Buy generic brands, or less well-known ones
- Pay attention to unit price when food shopping
- See what perks you have already, before purchasing services
- Use coupons and rewards when you have them
- Being energy-wise, both with electronics and insulation
Store surveys are a hassle, if you have to email something, or keep the entire receipt for a call that could last for minutes, especially during busy times. However, one manager I know of told me that for every 50 receipts they give, nationwide, only 2 people will respond. “For the time it takes you to fill out the 10 question survey, you actually have a better chance to get the prize we offer than if you would play any of the lotteries.” This makes a double bonus; support the stores you love, and have a better chance to save money with the prize offered.
Unit price, when shopping, is one way to save money that could be used as a teaching tool for young people. Most stores have a unit price that is easy to compare on items like meat and produce, but they also have them on the shelves. Once in a while, the name-brand items on sale actually turn out to still be more expensive than another brand next to it. The tags will give you the price per unit, so comparing between a jar of one brand and a different-sized jar of another brand is easy.
This may encourage you to try a different brand of an item. You may well find there is little difference between them, and the possibility that you will like something even better about the new brand. If you have anyone with allergies, this is something you will want to take time with, and make sure that there is little possibility that the brand that is a better price won’t result in an unexpected emergency. But in the main, most of the brands sold have very similar ingredients- to save money, a bit of experimentation may save you a double-digit percentage on groceries.
Research your options
Many of the ways to save money are by making changes to your habits. Unplugging phones, tablets, and laptops when they are charged may save your battery, as well as your money. An investment in power strips makes it easy to turn off all of the TV, game systems, players and other devices with one click. The power drain is slight for one remote-controlled item, but if you have multiple items on the one strip, even if they are not all on at the same time will add up over the month. Some companies estimate the savings, if this was done every day, may be as much as 20 percent of your monthly power bill.
Make sure you use your perks! Studies show that Americans do not take vacations, even when they are paid. You need the time to relax and recharge, and not using paid vacation is an expense that will affect your health and productivity. Using the time to do other things to save money is an option, of course.
[Read: Save Money On Holiday Shopping!]
While planning the vacation, see if your auto insurance offers a travel agency, or similar service. A roadside assistance plan that is included with an auto policy may also offer a selection of other services, including a way to comparison shop for cars. And local power companies can offer a rebate in addition to any other incentives for proof of adding weather-stripping, window coverings, or other measures that will save money on power or other bills in the future.