People should keep a budget, the more you look over your finances the more conscious you are to spend wisely. If their is multiple people in the house running up expenses, it is a good way to track the spending of each person and address problems in spending if you see it on paper.
A nice trick to saving money is if you have a checking account to over write all expenses and hide the extra in the bank register book. Like if you spend $5.50 for lunch, then write in the check book that you actually spent $6.00 – that way $.50 cents was hidden in the checking account. Keep doing this for a year then go back and check the actual balance compared to what you have listed in the check book. You may find a few extra hundred by the end of the year that you can use for Christmas shopping, or to put towards a vacation. It is a good way to save money where you might of otherwise been tempted to spend it.
Some other ideas for saving money include:
Cable Company: When you see advertising for new customer rates with your current cable company, call them up and demand that you receive the same rate, you are a dedicated customer that has been with them for many years, why should you not also be entitled to the price deals new customers are getting. If not, you might consider shopping around for a cheaper cable company.
Insurance Company: If you have good credit as well as a good driving record, then call various insurance companies to see if you can get a cheaper rate. This will cause inquiries on the credit report, but it will be worth it if you can get a better deal.
Phone Company: If you see a better plan, and you are not already locked into a 2 year contract you might consider switching to a new phone company. You need to weight the cost of buying a new phone with the new phone company to see if it is worth the money you will save in the long run.
Electric Power Company: If you have been living at your current address for a few years, you may be eligible for a levelized billing plan. That means that the power company estimates the bill every few months to distribute the payments so you are not hit with high costs over the winter months, this will likely increase the summer months. And at the end of the year if you have not paid the actual amount there may come a bill for the remaining amount. You can always offset this by paying a higher amount and running up the credit on the account.
Credit Cards: If you are dealing with a credit card with high interest rates, this can be tricky depending on your individual situation. If you have good credit then do some research of other creditor offers and use that as leverage to negotiate lower interest rate with your current creditor. Threaten them that if they do not lower the interest rate that you might have to take your business elsewhere. Be prepared if the creditor says no way, to follow through and find a lower rate card to switch to. Now this is just not possible if you have a poor credit rating. If that is the case you just have to wait until you improve your credit to change the situation. If the creditor agrees to lower the interest rate, they may require an account review. This should not be a hard hit inquiry against the score, but a soft hit. Be sure to ask a head of time what type of inquiry they will be pulling.
There are various community programs to help people out that are dealing with hardship. These programs fall under different names for different states and cities. You can contact your local Public Aid Office, or even the Chamber of Commerce. Some programs range from food pantries, to utility assistance, Goodwill, Salvation Army. You just have to do some digging to find them.
Also if you are dealing with high costs for medication you might try web sites like http://www.needymeds.org/ – this site allows you to contact manufactures and request discounted or free medication.
Use coupons when you go shopping, but be realistic if it is a high priced name brand store, their prices are already inflated that the discount is not really a deal. Check out the various grocery stores in your town, do some research on the products you specifically buy. Find out what items you are fine with switching down to generic versions and which ones you absolutely want brand name. Find the store that sells them items for the lowest and make the time to go to them stores.
Take the time to shop yard sales, discount stores and the such, but remember you are trying to find deals on items that you need. It is not a deal if you are just buying cheap stuff because it is on sale, if you don’t absolutely need it.
When paying bills, find out if the companies you owe money will discount the amount owed on the method you use to pay them. If you can set up automatic bill pay and save them having to mail out statements they may pass the savings on to you. I have seen some mortgage companies offer this deal. I recommend that if you set up payments through your checking account online, that you opt for a manual bill pay, where you have to go in each month and send the transaction instead of letting the system do it for you. That way it don’t accidentally send payment when the money is not in the account. It is so very important that you remember exactly when each bill is due, even if you don’t see a statement for that month and you get in on time and send payment. Nothing worse then incurring a late fee for a missed payment.
A big one for saving money, buy everything you need at the grocery store, if you run out, don’t just run to the gas station to pick up what you need. Make the trip to the grocery store to buy the last minute items. Gas stations and convenient stores always charge higher amounts for the same items.
Never use Personal Finance Companies, Title Loan Companies, or Pay Day Loan Companies. They are all SCAMS! They charge defaulted interest rates from the get go. Don’t use the Rent-To-Own appliance stores. If you set up a contract for 72 weeks or more you are in the end paying 4 times what the item cost to begin with. I am sure that the same applies to the buy here pay here car lots. It is just not worth it in the end. Save the money up first and pay at once.
I am sure there are more ways to save money, but here are the key ones that everyone can apply.