By Tracy Achen
There are many different ways to save money which will help you stay within your budget and lower some of the frustration in your life. In this article you will find some easy tips to help you stretch your paycheck just a little further. With some extra cash left at the end of the month, you can consider doing some fun things for you and your children.
If you stock up on non-perishable foods when they go on sale and use coupons (especially on the sale items), you can save a lot of money on your monthly grocery bill.
If you get your local paper, you can clip coupons out of the Sunday circular. Another idea is to go online and visit websites such as coupons.com or smartsource.com which offer manufacturer coupons. Many national grocery chains and other retailers also offer manufacturer coupons to customers who set up an account and become a member.
Matching the sale items with your coupons can save you up to $1200 a year. You can find out more at maximizing your grocery budget with coupons.
High heating bills in the winter and cooling bills in the summer can wreak your budget. But there is a way to even out your utility bills so they are more manageable every month. Ask your utility company to put you on a monthly average billing plan. This way you can avoid the huge bills that occur due to seasonal fluctuations.
You can lower your monthly premium on health and auto insurance by raising the deductible. If you raise your deductible, just make sure that you have money saved back to cover your out of pocket expenses. A health care savings account is a good way to make sure these types of medical expenses are covered. You can also set up a regular savings account to cover deductibles for your automobile coverage.
If you don't currently have insurance (or need better rates), you can compare rates at insurance comparison websites. These sites match you to companies with the best premiums based on your insurance needs for auto, homeowners, life, and health insurance. You can do a Google search for insurance comparison sites, or visit the following websites:
It's so easy to go to a restaurant or grab something at the drive through during your lunch break. But taking your lunch to work just twice a week instead of eating out can save you at least $500 per year. Once you get in the routine, it doesn't take very long to pack up leftovers or make a sandwich before you turn in for the night. Not only will you be saving money, you'll have more time to enjoy your lunch break.
Embrace Carpooling - Sharing the ride to work with one other person can cut your transportation costs immensely (especially with today's high gas prices). Carpooling is also a good idea if your children's friends participate in the same sports or after-school activities. Just make sure to take turns so it's fair to everyone.
Let's face it... most of us don't take advantage of all the available satellite or cable channels we already have. Cancel the premium channels that came in your bundle if you really don't watch them that much and save $120 (or more) a year.
How about that Netflix or Hulu subscription you rarely use. Find one service that fits the majority of your needs and cancel the rest. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can access Amazon Instant Video for free.
One of the many ways to save money is to compare account fees between banks. If you don't have to pay a monthly fee, you can save at least $72 a year.
You can also save money by getting a lower interest rate on your credit cards. If you have a good payment history, you can call the card issuer to negotiate a better interest rate. You may be pleasantly surprised if they lower your rate. And if they don't, you can always consider transferring your balance to a card with a lower interest rate.
Shopping for sales items is a great way to save money. For example, if you shop for sheets and linens during the white sales (usually starting in early in the year), you can save up to 40% off regular prices.
And the cost of clothing can strain any budget, especially if you have kids who are growing like weeds. Shopping for clearances when stores begin to put out next seasons clothes can save 30-75% on you family budgeting for clothing.
Other times to score good buys are during the after Christmas sales, as well as after the other major holidays.
If you enjoy reading magazines, get a subscription for the publications that you always buy at the store. Then consider doing a magazine swap with your friends. When you and your friends are finished with a magazine, exchange them with each other. This system also works well with DVDs and video games.
It's also a good idea to check out your local library, where you can find numerous books, magazines, and newspapers. Many libraries also have videos that can be checked out.
Amazon also offers lots of options for their Amazon Prime Members and Kindle Unlimited. You can watch movies, check out books, and read magazines through their service.
This is a great way to try out new products with little or no money out of your pocket. Plus, these are usually samples from the major brand you'll actually use. For specific companies, the best way to find these deals is to visit the manufacturer's website directly. Usually they will have it advertised on their home page or there may be a link directing you to the page with the free offer. If you don't have anything specific in mind or just want to see what's available, check out these companies with the best free samples.
Using just half of these suggestions on ways to save money can easily save you up to $2000 a year. When your expenses aren't eating you up you'll be under less pressure and more able to concentrate on the important things in life.
Additional ways to save money: