When it comes to saving money, we tend to get stuck on finding ways to save big. We want to save hundreds on car insurance, or slash our cellphone bills in half. Maybe we check out refinancing a mortgage to save $1,500 a year.
None of these are bad things. But if you’re living on a reasonable budget, there are only so many steps you can take to save a lot of money in one area. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cut spending and increase savings.
It just means that you need to look for smaller ways to save. Because every dollar really does add up.
Want to see just how much small savings can add up? Take a look at these creative ways to save small.
Cook at Home
Cooking at home can save you a ton of money – even if your idea of dining out is a $1 burger from McDonald’s. If you make your own burgers in bulk, you can make them for cheaper than you can buy them on the dollar menu. Plus, you’ll eat healthier while saving potentially hundreds per year.
Shop the Outer Aisles of the Grocery Store
Health gurus will tell you that the outer aisles of the grocery store are where it’s at for healthier food. This is usually where you’ll find fresh, whole foods like meats, produce, eggs and dairy. They can also be cheaper if you shop smart and put together your own meals at home.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Keeping your car in good shape is an excellent way to extend its life. Yes, this means regularly paying for maintenance. But when you do that, your car will last longer, which saves you a lot of money in the long run.
Pack Your Own Snacks
Brown bagging a lunch is a great way to save money. But when afternoon snack time hits, do you always turn to the vending machine at work? If so, you could save by packing your own snacks. Fruit is always a good option, or even candy bars you buy in bulk at the discount store.
Unplug Your Appliances
According to DoSomething.org, about 10% of all electrical energy goes to “energy vampires” – appliances and electronics that suck energy even when they’re not turned on. Unplugging your TV, cellphone charger, laptop, gaming system and other electronics when they aren’t in use could save you a few hundred bucks a year.
Install an Irrigation Meter
Your water company may charge you twice for every gallon of water you use – once as you get it in, and once as it goes out to be processed as sewage. But the water you use to water your lawn and garden doesn’t become sewage! Ask your water company if you can install an irrigation meter. It’ll measure how much of your water goes to your lawn, so you don’t get charged the sewage cost of that water.
Turn Down the Water Heater
There’s no sense in setting your water heater high enough that your water could scald someone! Plus, setting your water heater to 120 degrees or lower can save you a ton of money.
These are just a few of the ways that you can save big by saving small. Each of these steps may only save you a few dollars a week – but even $5 a week adds up to $260 a year! What could you do with an extra $260 this year?
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Image: manny morell