Most people cringe at the thought of cutting back, clipping coupons or creating a budget. Becoming frugal, much like losing weight, requires a lifestyle change. But just like many diets start with a cleanse to detox your body, you might want to do a financial cleanse before you tackle a full blown money make-over.
Taking the time to evaluate where you might be wasting money can quickly kick start your savings.
How To Save Money Today
Save on Gas: The simple act of downloading an app like AAA's new Trip-Tik to efficiently plan your route or GasBuddy to find the best local gas prices, can help you make sure you are getting the most combustion for your buck. While you are at the station, be sure to check your tire pressure. Low tire pressure is a gas guzzling culprit most people don't even think about. The gauge should read between 32 and 35 lbs for most passenger cars, but check your manual or look for a sticker on the inside of the drivers side door.
Related: 5 Sneaky Fees to Avoid
Edit Your Cell Phone Plan and Grocery List: When you do a financial cleanse, you need to edit things like unused minutes and spoiled meat out of your financial diet. Start by looking in your fridge, what food do you buy that routinely spoils? Stop buying it. Spend a week living off of your pantry and freezer to save a week's worth of grocery money and make room. Now it's time to take a look at that cell phone bill and edit out what you don't need. Do you really need unlimited texting? There are apps out there that offer it up for a one time fee of $1.99 instead of that $9.99 monthly charge. Want to really save? Add yourself onto a family members plan. By combining plans between three adults you can save upwards of $40 a month per person for unlimited mobile to mobile, text and data.
Call the Cable Company: Ten minutes on the phone can save you $10-$20 a month. A call to your cable or satellite provider letting them know that you are looking into switching providers-- based solely on your rate-- can get you free HBO and a credit on your monthly bill. The trick is to choose “cancel an existing account” on the automated phone system. That will patch you through to the retention department, they have the power to give you discounts and free package upgrades. It helps to have the competitors website up so you can spout off the offers they have advertised. This lets the representative know that you've done your homework and your serious.
Make an Investment: Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. If you're are a morning latte fiend, invest in a coffee maker that can give you what you want. Many single cup coffee makers can now steam your milk and make you a caramel latte that rivals what you'd buy at the the best coffee shops. You will have to shell out a chunk of change up front and invest in cartridges, but in one year, the average machine will have paid for itself seven times-- and saved you on your daily latte without sacrificing flavor. Even better you'll gain an extra 15 minutes each morning since you won't be standing in line or sitting in the drive through.
The bottom line to saving-- think smarter not harder. Small changes that yield big results are a great way to start off a fiscally fit plan.
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