Cutting expenses doesn't have to be painful. Here are several small changes you can make in your daily life that add up to big savings.
- Step 1: Surf the internet before you spend: start by making sure you're getting the lowest price for the item you want, then search for coupons and discount codes to further reduce the price. If you're buying a big-ticket item or paying for a repair, ask if there's a discount for paying cash.
- Step 2: Use some of the money you've saved on a dinner out -- just find a restaurant that offers 2-for-1 deals or other discounts!
- FACT: The average family of 4 could save up to $1,200 a year by eating 3 meatless dinners per week.
- TIP: Every 5 mile per hour reduction in highway speed can reduce fuel consumption by 7 percent.
- Step 3: Save on gas by walking or biking wherever you can. When you're driving, remove unnecessary weight from your vehicle, observe the speed limit, make sure your tires are inflated properly, and avoid idling, all actions that will cut down on how much gas you use.
- TIP: Use the dishwasher's "air dry" setting instead of "heated dry"; it cuts the energy used by up to 50 percent.
- Step 4: Save on toiletries. Good skin doesn't require a cabinet full of pricey products -- wearing sunscreen and not smoking are the major keys to a smooth complexion.
- Step 5: Make smart choices in the supermarket: create a weekly meal plan based on what's on sale; buy generic; and buy sale items in bulk if they're things you're sure to use. Don't waste money on convenience items, like pre-chopped veggies or ready-to-eat roasted chickens.
- Step 6: Use less detergent in your dishwasher and washing machine. As little as 1/8th of what the label recommends is usually adequate. Plus, too much detergent shortens the life of your machines. Ask your utility company if they offer off-peak rates for using energy during certain hours. If so, run your major appliances then.