Smart Ways to Save Money

Spare change can add up to big savings.

Dealing with money and expenses is a responsibility every adult has to take on at some point. While earning and spending money are the tasks most people are familiar with, saving money often presents a challenge. The fact is there are many simple, everyday methods for saving money. The simplest ways are also the smartest because they represent the repetitive habits that will help you save money throughout your entire life.

Step 1

Save your spare change. Ask for paper coin rollers at your bank. Sort the change every six months, stack it in the rollers and then deposit the total into your savings account.

Step 2

Bundle your electronic services. Call your cable provider and ask what kind of bundling packages they offer. Switch your service providers if a package program costs less. Experts at "Money" magazine estimate you can save up to 25 percent by ordering phone, cable and Internet service from one provider compared to paying separately.

Step 3

Call your credit card issuers and ask them to waive your annual fees. Find the number for customer service on the back of your credit card and speak to a customer service agent. Tell them you are considering canceling the card if the fee cannot be negotiated.

Step 4

Pay off credit card debt as quickly as possible. Pay as much over the minimum payment as you can afford to reduce balances more quickly. If you owe on more than one card, pay off the smallest balance first, then apply that usual payment to your next smallest balance and continue until all of your cards' balances are paid. Depending on the size of your debt, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in interest charges and late fees if you don't carry a balance on your credit card.

Step 5

Check out books, movies and music from the library instead of purchasing them.

Step 6

Cut down on driving. Walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation as often as possible. You will not only save on gas and maintenance costs but on depreciation of your car.

Step 7

Entertain at home. Rent movies instead of going to the theater and reduce the number of times you would normally eat out in half. MSN's money editor, Jennifer Mulrean, reports that, in 2002, the average person spent over $2,000 dining away from home. Making just these changes can easily save a typical family over $1,000 a year.

Step 8

Buy used items when practical. Shop at consignment stores, yard sales and online sources for items you and your family need. Search carefully and you will find new or nearly new items at much lower prices in resale outlets than retail stores.

Step 9

Quit smoking. Speak to your health care provider about a smoking cessation plan. Contact a local support group for extra help. Based on an average price of $5 per pack, the cost of smoking a pack a day is around $1,800 dollars a year. That does not include the gas spent driving to the grocery store or the unnecessary purchases that might be made along with the cigarettes. Breaking a tobacco addiction might also prevent you from spending untold amounts of money in medical bills and, more importantly, help you live longer to enjoy all the money you saved.

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