A Dozen Ways to Save $50

Shopping Savings
on September 19, 2004

Lets face it, we all could use some extra money, but finding it isn’t that easy. However, if you follow these simple steps, you’ll save at least $50 (and often more) on each suggestion in a year:

  • Cancel your cable, turn off the TV, and spend some time enjoying your family, friends and the beauty of the world around you. You’ll be surprised how much more time you have. At $30 a month, this tip will net you $360 each year.
  • Replace going out to the movies with family game or movie nights at home. Board games are just a few dollars at a local thrift store, and library movie rentals are a dollar or free. Movie outings can run $20 each (not including a sitter), so if you only replace three per year, you’ve saved $60.
  • Shop at a general merchandiser like Wal-Mart or Target for non-food items such as detergent, toothpaste, and shampoo. Most grocery stores have high mark-ups on these items. Saving an average of $1 each week gets you more than $50 a year.
  • Eliminate (or lower) babysitting costs by starting a co-op with friends. Trade sitting times with a family or two. You’ll save $15 or more on each date, netting $180 a year if you go out once a month.
  • Take your lunch and snacks to work. You’ll save $2 to $3 every day on lunch and a dollar or so on snacks. That adds up to $500 to $1,000 each year.
  • When you go out to eat, make it for breakfast or lunch. Prices are typically lower than during the dinner hours. Saving $5 using this tip every other week saves you $130 a year.
  • Instead of expensive gifts, give something from the heart. Write and frame a letter that lets the recipient know how much he or she means to you. Or give an IOU coupon book to a friend or family member, who can redeem coupons for things such as free babysitting, a cup of coffee, a car wash, or house cleaning. This will not only bring you closer to the recipient, but also can save $100 or more in a year.
  • Stop smoking. In addition to the health benefits and lower insurance premiums, you’ll easily save $1,000 a year kicking a one pack a day habit.
  • Refinance your mortgage. By lowering your rate only 1.5 percent, you’ll save more than $64 a month over 15 years on a $75,000 mortgage (a total savings of nearly $11,600). Many banks will forego the closing costs to keep you as a customer.
  • Pay off your mortgage early. Keep in mind that paying interest can double or triple the final cost of your home. Even just a few dollars extra every week toward the principal of your mortgage will save you thousands on interest over the life of the loan.
  • If you rent, ask your landlord if you can do some handiwork or landscaping for your unit or other properties in exchange for a reduction in rent. Your savings with this tip could be anywhere from $50 to a months free rent.
  • Simplify and get rid of unused items. You’ll be helping others in need, and if you itemize, charitable contributions are fully deductible. Estimate the value of non-cash items such as clothes, furniture and automobiles. Always request a receipt for your records. Just by cleaning out your closets each spring and fall you can easily save $200 to $300.

Finding that extra bit of cash isn’t so hard after all. Just put these simple steps to use and in no time you’ll be quite a bit richer.

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