Saving money is not as hard as it seems. Here are ten practical tips that you can do to begin saving money, without changing your lifestyle.
1. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. CFL bulbs consume 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, but give the same illumination. Make sure to buy only lamps and bulbs that have the Energy Star rating to ensure quality compliance.
2. Make a list when going to the grocery and stick to it! Anything that is not on the list is not a "need”, but merely a "want” so avoid busting your pockets for unnecessary items. Buy non-perishable consumables in bulk to benefit from bulk discounts.
3. Use coupons when available. Take the time and have the patience to clip and organize grocery coupons. When added together, savings from using all coupons in one grocery trip can be as much as $20-$30. Purchase dining and shopping coupons online and print them at home. Doing so can save you at least 50% on the face value of the coupons.
4. Buy online, whenever possible. Online stores pass their savings from rental costs and warehousing to the online consumer, thus they can afford as much as 70% off their rack price. When buying items online, Google it first together with the word, "discount code”. This can give you further reductions on the item you want to purchase. Try also online bidding: they offer at least 75% off the original purchase price, for practically new (slightly used!) items.
5. Take lunch to work. Buy potato chips and soda from the grocery and make a homemade sandwich and pack them in a brown bag.
6. Eat homemade dinners as often as possible. Plan menus that are practical and easy-to-cook to encourage eating at home. Save money by dining out only on special occasions.
7. Use everyday pantry items for skin and body care. Cucumbers, honey, milk, lemon, salt and baking soda are some items in your home that can also be used to take care of your skin.
8. Avoid shopping to de-stress. Try walking around the park or watching a movie instead.
9. Bring your own sodas and snacks when watching a movie. The cost of sodas and snacks are at least 25% higher in movie houses. Plus, homemade popcorn tastes much better: you can put on all the salt and butter you want!
10. Pay off your credit card balances each month and avoid finance charges. Better yet, use cash as much as possible, unless using plastic will give you a better deal (0% interest on appliance purchases, or cash rebates).