Mini Changes. Bigger Money.

July 23, 2020

Categories: Education, Tips

You can save money with minimal effort just by changing a few habits and being aware of spending.

Here are six simple tips on how to cut down expenditures little by little.

1.  Turn off electronics and lights
People sometimes habitually leave the T.V. on for hours without even watching it. This wastes electricity, which wastes money. Turn it off if you’re not watching and do the same with lights whenever you leave the room. You’ll lower your electricity bill.

2. Watch your water usage
Taking shorter showers saves not only water, but the energy it takes to heat the water, both of which you pay for in utility bills. Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth or in between dishes you’re rinsing rather than leaving the water running continuously. And be aware of the water you may be overusing elsewhere, like keeping a sprinkler on too long.

3. Sell unwanted objects
Most of us have possessions that add nothing to our lives and just take up space. Sometimes, we move boxes of items or pieces of furniture from place to place without ever even unpacking them. Consider a garage or yard sale. Or sell items online. You’ll get rid of the clutter and gain extra money.

4. Take out and go out less
Although socializing has largely been curtailed during these times, it’s still a part of many people’s lives. Cutting down on take-out food or eating at a restaurant, and cooking at home instead, can save a significant amount of money. Just be sure to stick to your shopping list so you don’t succumb to impulse purchases at the store or when ordering for delivery or pickup.

Look for coupon deals for those items and consider forgoing name-brands to cut down costs. You can also replace other activities that costs money like concerts and movies. Find alternative diversions such as hiking, visiting a nature preserve or just having a socially-distant gathering in a park.

5. Wait before you spend
Impulse shopping, whether in person or online, can drain away money, especially if these purchases are made on high-interest credit cards you can’t pay off. Before you click “submit order,” wait at least a week. You may be surprised how quickly that must-have purchase becomes something you can live without.

But even if it’s something you still know you want and that will get significant use, you may find a better deal if you wait for the right price.

6. Avoid coin machine premiums
Like to use the coin machine to turn spare change into bills? Beware: most machines charge a percentage of the money, like 10%, right off the top. If there’s an option to take the entire amount as a gift card or credit slip for a store you shop at frequently, take that option. For instance, if you know you’re planning to paint your bedroom the following week and there’s an option to get the entire amount of change as a gift card to the paint store, do that. But be sure to keep the gift card safe as you would with cash.

Or bypass the machine entirely. If your financial institution takes rolled coins as deposits, this can be the best choice. You can deposit the money into your checking account to offset everyday necessities. Or put it in a savings account to add to an emergency nest-egg.

Cynthia Kolko, The Summit Federal Credit Union