1. Credit cards.
If you have credit card debt, pay it off as soon as you can. A $100 purchase could end up costing you twice that much if you pay the bill late.
Pay off the credit card with the lowest balance first. Look at your budget for areas to free up cash and put that extra cash into your credit cards. Paying only the minimum will only cost you more in the long run.
One way to look at it is: credit cards are designed for banks to make money off of you. Turn it around and use credit cards responsibly, build your credit and never pay any fees. Be sure to apply for a credit card with no annual fee. Annual fees can add up to over $79 a year just to have a credit card.
If your credit is less than perfect, consider a secure credit card. Your initial deposit is your credit limit, and as long as you pay your bill on time, the credit card company will convert your card into an unsecure credit card and your deposit will be refunded.
Only use your credit card for things you know you are able to pay off at the end of the month. One way to build your credit is to use it. You can have some of your utilities paid automatically through your credit card, then pay your credit card completely off at the end of the month.
American Express lets you earn cash and rewards with your purchases, and you can use that cash to pay off your bill.
Car insurance payments can sometimes be very high. The best advice I could give is to get a quote from different providers and go with the best deal.
3. Gas. The only way I know not to spend money on gas is not to drive. Since that’s almost impossible to do, try driving less. If you can carpool with a co-worker a couple of days a week, take a train or a bus, it’d save you money on gas.
Make sure to keep tires properly inflated and your trunk clutter free. Both of these can reduce your mileage.
4. Heat/AC. You can save a lot of money by controlling the temperature inside your home. Turn the AC or heat off or down at night or when you are at work. Unplug all appliances when not in use. Unplug cell phone chargers after phones have been charged, and use a surge protector to connect TVs, gaming consoles, computers. This will make it easier to unplug all your appliances while everyone sleeps or no one is home.
5. Cable service. My family was able to get rid of cable service all together. We realized we didn’t have enough time to sit down and watch a show at the same time every week. We signed up for Hulu and pay only $7.99 a month. We can watch shows as early as the day after they air, whenever we want with limited commercial breaks.
Another option is Netflix. You can stream movies right to your computer. If you have an Xbox, Nintendo Wii or PS3, you can stream movies and TV shows to your TV. The price starts at $7.99 a month.
All you need is an internet connection. If you can’t live without cable, try only keeping the basic channels. Both of the services above will let you try them for a week before making a commitment. You can also suspend service for up to 90 days at a time and pay nothing for that period of time.
6. Phone Service. If you don’t use all of your minutes every month, or if you only text but don’t talk a lot, switching to a prepaid service might be better for you.
Companies such as T-Mobile have great pre-paid plans. Unlimited text, talk and web for $50 a month. As long as you pay your $50 every month, you have service. There are no extra hidden fees or chargers for going over your minutes because there is no limit.
7. Groceries.The best way to save on groceries is by clipping coupons. Read my post on how to coupon.
Make sure to always stock up on items when they are on sale so you won’t have to pay full price for things you need.
8. Shopping. When shopping for electronics, clothing, etc., make sure to research. Sometimes shopping online can be cheaper (and a lot more comfortable) than going into the store. Most stores also allow you to shop online and pick it up at the store within hours. When shopping online, use online coupon codes, and be sure to shop through Ebates.
Ebates gives you cash back on your online purchases. It’s free. There are no hidden fees. You also get a $10 gift card when you sign up and make your first purchase. I just received a $10 Target gift card after making a purchase online for something I needed to buy anyway. I also received a check for $3.30 in the mail for a percentage of my purchase price. All of this was absolutely free.