Chances are that you already know ways to save money. For example, foregoing a drive-thru latte each morning can add up to a cool $1,000 every year, and saving your loose change at the end of the day could generate enough cash to cover the cost of a round-trip domestic plane ticket. Whether you are saving for college or looking to build an emergency fund, here are a few lesser-known tips for saving money throughout the year:
1. Practice Preventive Care
Preventive oral care is an easy way to save cash in the future. Getting your child’s teeth cleaned twice yearly can prevent oral decay and cavities, which can cost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in dental bills. Most dental insurance covers cleanings and examinations – often at no charge.
2. Make Short-Term Savings Goals
If the thought of needing hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund your retirement and your children’s college education seems intimidating, it may help to make short-term savings goals rather than long-term goals. Try saving $50 each week, and contribute to your savings account via automatic withdrawal from your paycheck or your checking account. You will have accumulated $2,600 within a year. Saving will quickly become second nature.
3. Shop Online
Shopping online can pay off big if you make use of cash-back websites. By clicking through sites to popular retailers such as Amazon and Sears, you can get up to 8 percent cash back or more on your purchase.
4. Buy and Cook in Bulk
You can cut your food expenses significantly by purchasing your food in bulk, and cooking it in double batches. Soups, casseroles and meats freeze very easily, saving you both time and money.
5. Avoid Unnecessary Fees
Bank fees such as NSF and ATM fees can add up very fast. Over-drafting your account just once a month and visiting an out-of-network ATM twice a month can add up to more than $500 per year. Set-up automatic text alerts to let you know when your account balance is low, and always use no-fee ATMs at your own bank.
6. Itemize Your Taxes
Taking the standard deduction is by far the simplest way to file your taxes, but you could be missing out on some big deductions. If you moved, paid out-of-pocket health expenses, made charitable donations, or paid interest on a home mortgage, your itemized deductions could outweigh your standard deduction by thousands of dollars.
7. Clip Coupons
Clipping coupons can save big money. Compound your savings by shopping at stores that double or triple your coupons. For an added benefit, pair your coupons with sale items in the store’s weekly circular, and you could save hundreds of dollars on your grocery bill each month.
8. Shop Off-Season
Consider waiting until after winter passes to stock up on new long-sleeve shirts, jackets and boots for your family. You could be spending a fraction of the cost on winter attire, which can sometimes be more costly than summer clothes. Additionally, shop for seasonal décor after the holidays. You’ll find that the best present of all is a 50 percent discount on wreaths, ornaments and gift-wrapping.
Whether you’re driving to work or dropping kids off at school, carpooling could help you save money on gasoline and tolls and reduce gas emissions. As a bonus, you’ll be able to use the carpool lane, which has less traffic and could help you get to where you want to go.
10. Subscribe and Follow
You’re likely solicited to subscribe or follow pages on social media. Doing so could actually save you cash. Some restaurants regularly email coupons for free children’s meals to subscribing parents, and many retailers regularly post discounts on their Facebook pages.
Do you have money-saving tips of your own? Share the wealth by posting them in the “Comments” section below.