Written by Fred Fletcher

Right now everyone is trying to save money. Even people who are still relatively well-off (compared to others or to previous times in their lives) are keeping an eye on their expenses. Part of the reason for this is the fact that such people are often asked for help from friends and family members not doing as well; another reason stems from familial or legal responsibilities, such as court-ordered child or spousal support. Then again, saving money is not just for those who are cash-strapped and needy. Money-saving strategies can also be useful for those who want to invest more and make better use of their resources.

10 ways to save money

With that in mind, here are 10 simple ways most people can start saving money right now:

1. Cut back on eating out.


This can be as simple as eating out less often. Even one meal less eaten out during the week can make a significant difference in a year’s time. Another more specific suggestion is to stop ordering drinks with meals, instead ordering water. For a couple that goes out, eating 3 times a week (a reasonable number for two people that work and who cannot eat in all the time), and who maybe spend $5.00 for two soft drinks, meaning that they spend roughly $15 a week, such a simple strategy can lead to a savings of around $780 in a year’s time ($15 times 52 weeks). Even more savings can be achieved if you also skip dessert, which is probably not good for you anyway. Drinks and dessert can often cost as much as the meal itself, in moderately-priced family restaurants.

2. Change to a cheaper auto insurance company.


Right now, the competition among insurance companies is bringing about significant savings to those who are willing to always be on the lookout for a better deal. If you do some comparison shopping, you will find cheaper rates; keep in mind, though, that you will need to keep doing this on a regular basis, since rates change continuously and vary greatly from company to company. As in other industries, the bigger companies (Amica, Metropolitan, Allstate, Geico, etc.) do charge higher rates, which is a good reason to go with smaller auto insurance companies (SafeAuto, Progressive, The General, Esurance, etc.).

3. Sign up for the ”MagicJack” Phone Jack.


In order for it to work, you have to have reliable internet service. If you meet this requirement, it makes no sense to hang on to that over-priced home phone service. Unfortunately, in general, you will have to get a new phone number for your MagicJack, but, other than that, there appears to be few inconveniences or drawbacks. To sign up, just go to RadioShack (which can be accessed online). Once you pay for the device, you will be on your way to hooking up the service. After confirming that the service works, disconnect your home phone service–this should save you a ton of money over a year. By the way, it is usually possible to keep a DSL line while not also having an active home phone line service. You can confirm this through your local phone service company.

4. Keep changing from satellite to cable and vice versa


Local competing companies provide cheaper plans and services. Both cable and satellite TV services offer special deals on an on-going basis. Sign up for one, then, as that plan switches to higher prices, cancel it and sign up with another service. In general, satellite TV services can be cheaper than cable, but be careful that they don’t zap you on things like equipment and connection charges, which they will throw in for free during special offers and if you aggressively negotiate for these privileges. These companies want your business and will do whatever they have to do to get and keep your business.

5. Shop around for lower-interest credit cards.


Keep transferring balances in order to take advantage of lower rates. You can also request lower rates, especially if the rates you are being given right now are exceedingly high. If possible, pay off your credit cards using a home equity line of credit since you will then be paying a lot less in interest for the money you still owe; this will increase your mortgage payments (but usually not by much, unless the loan amount is rather large) but, with each house payment you make, you are building equity in your home, a privilege you do not get when making credit card payments.

6. Trade in or get rid of over-priced gas guzzlers


Opt for more fuel-efficient, perhaps mechanically-more-reliable vehicles. Americans are notorious for buying gas-guzzling SUVs but this is just not a good idea in a bad economy, especially when you consider that gas is getting more and more expensive.

7. Give up or sell some of the expensive-to-maintain ”luxury” possessions in your life. This can be boats, extra leisure vehicles, motorcycles (unless this is your regular form of transportation), RVs, vacation homes, etc. You can get these back later on when the economy is better–in the mean time, they are nothing more than an unnecessarily heavy chain on your budget. You might invest the money you save from not hanging on to these luxuries.

8. Move to a cheaper residential setting.


This can be a less-expensive apartment or rental home. If you own the home you presently live in, consider finding ways to reduce the expenses connected to it, such as by finding a tenant for part of the house, weatherproofing the house better (which, in the long run, can provide huge heating and cooling savings), or maybe renting it altogether, if you can find another cheaper place to move to.

9. Cut down on expensive vacations.


You should seriously consider vacationing close to home. You may even stay at home, while engaging in simple day trips to local attractions–places that maybe you and your family have unfairly overlooked and taken for granted?

10. Become a much more efficient shopper.


This means buying generic products (instead of name brands you may have gotten used to, which can be much more expensive), buying things on sale, using coupons, buying in bulk (when feasible), and buying things where they are the cheapest (instead of trying to get everything at one supposedly-convenient location). Local butchers, for example, if you can find them, can sometimes be cheaper than supermarkets, if purchasing meats; dollar stores, to give another example, can be the cheapest place to buy lower-priced items (such as cleaning supplies, canned foods, personal cosmetics, etc.), when compared to big department stores.

To discuss further on your debt free options, please contact our specialists at Debt Fix.