Looking For Some Simple Ways To Save More Money?

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The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Toi Williams, of Fine Tuned Finances

If you are like the majority of people across the nation, you are interested in finding ways to save more money without having to dramatically change your lifestyle.  The good news is that there are many different methods you can use to reduce your everyday spending and eliminate unnecessary expenses. 

Here are some of the simplest ways to save more money in your daily life.

Create A Spending Budget

Many people overspend because they do not have a plan in place to limit their monthly spending to an amount that is affordable on their salary.  By creating a spending budget that includes all of your monthly bills, limits for discretionary spending, and a set amount for saving, you will be better able to monitor your spending and keep your expenses below where they will begin to create debt.  Having a spending plan in place will also help you identify areas where spending can be cut or eliminated to have more money available for other needs.

Use A Shopping List

Retail stores are experts at getting people to purchase more items than they intended to purchase when they walked in the door.  In-store sales, clearance displays, and the placement of high-profit merchandise are all carefully designed to catch your eye and entice you into spending more than you should.  In order to curb this spending impulse, make a shopping list of the items that you need before heading out to the store and stick to this list while you are in the store.  That way, you only buy the items that you actually need.

Choose Fee-Free ATMs

If you use an ATM that is out of your banking network, you typically get hit with two fees: one from your bank and one from the bank that owns the ATM you are using.  Instead of using whatever ATM is closest when you decide that you need cash, plan your withdrawals to only occur when you can use an ATM that will not cost you a fee, like the ones within your banking network or located in retail locations and advertised as fee-free.  At up to $6 per occurrence, eliminating these fees can save you over a hundred dollars per year.

Search For Discounts

There are discounts available for almost anything if you are willing to look for them.  Many retailers advertise their discounted merchandise on their websites and in sales flyers sent out to areas close to their retail locations.  In many cases, these discounts can total 25% or more off of the cost of the merchandise you want.  Before leaving to shop for a particular item, take the time to research which retailers are offering discounts on that particular item and which one has the lowest price.  You may be surprised at the price differences you will find between retailers for the same item. 

Consider Used Media

The prices charged for new movies, video games, and books are much higher than most reasonable people are willing to pay, especially when there are so many other venues available to get the same or comparable quality items for much less.  There is a multitude of resale shops sprouting up across the country that sell used movies, video games, and books for a fraction of the price that you would pay for them new.  These items are inspected for quality before the shop purchases them and the company typically offers a short guarantee that the items will work after purchase.  Used media may also be purchased online from places such as Amazon and eBay, although you may not get the same guarantees that you would have purchasing the items from a resale shop.

Adjust Your Entertainment Options

You can save a lot of money on your entertainment options by being smart about the type of entertainment that you choose.  By shifting your habits slightly, you can reduce the amount that you pay for entertainment by 40% or more.  If there is a new movie that you would like to see, wait until you can see it during matinee times or until it appears at your local second run theater.  Instead of paying between $50 and $100 to see a nationally recognized band live, spend $10 to go see a local band in a more intimate venue.  Most cities have a wide variety of low cost entertainment options available, so check your local newspaper or city’s visitor guide for locations, times, and prices.

Avoid Careless Mistakes

Careless mistakes can cost you a lot of money very quickly, so it is best to avoid making mistakes at all costs.  Overdrafting your bank account can result in expensive overdraft charges and bounced check fees.  Neglecting to put enough change in the parking meter will result in having to pay a ticket.  Parking in a handicapped parking space without a permit will cost you even more.  Follow the rules at all times and read the signs that are around you.  Do not let stupid actions cause you to waste money on fines and fees that could be easily avoided.
Following these simple tips can help you save hundred of dollars each year without having to change your lifestyle or make major sacrifices.  The money that you save can be best used by bulking up your emergency fund or paying down any existing debt that you may have.  If you can control your impulses and stick to your plan, you will end up saving quite a bit of money.

How about you all? What are the most effective ways you’ve found to save a little extra money each month without necessarily changing your overall behavior?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

    ***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355220839/sizes/l/in/photostream/

    Comments

    1. I always search for coupons before I do something. It only takes a second and sometimes I can save a lot!

    2. I always search for coupons before I do something. It only takes a second and sometimes I can save a lot!
      My recent post $3,275 in Extra Income and My Goals!

    3. Sustainable Life says:

      The best one on here is to avoid careless mistakes. I used to be awful at this but have since gotten way better. They are so costly and expensive, and they can typically easily be avoided!
      My recent post September 2012 Monthly Review

    4. If I need to save money I'd combine shopping trips and not eat out as much. That'd be the easiest way for me to save a few bucks.
      My recent post Carnival Cruise Price Protection Saved Me $160

    5. Toi Williams says:

      All of those are great ways to save more money without having to change your everyday lifestyle.

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