Empty wallet from someone who needs to save money.

Save Money This Month

Who doesn’t like saving money? We all like to keep more of our hard earned money in our pocket, but few of us take any steps to make it happen. Let’s change that this month. Here are some simple ways that you can start saving money right now.

1) Keep The Change

A couple of quarters might not seem like a lot, but over the course of a month, it can really add up. Start saving your change and end up with a nice little bonus at the end of the month. All it takes is a change jar strategically placed to get the job done. Place it where you leave your keys at night and have a handy location to leave that pocket money. Once the jar fills up, take it to a Coinstar or a bank with a coin counting machine and you might be surprised at just how much you come up with.

2) Grocery Shop With A Plan

Too many people head to the grocery store without a list. This is one of the main reasons that Americans waste nearly 30 percent of the food that they buy. Before you head to the store, take the time to figure out the meals that you want to serve for the week. You can then make a list of just the ingredients that you need, eliminating much of the food waste you are used to. Using this message, the average family of four can easily save 200 bucks in a month.

3) Share Restaurant Meals

With the size of the average restaurant meal getting bigger and bigger every day, it doesn’t make sense not to share. The average caloric need for an adult is just 2000 calories, meaning that the average meal should be roughly 600 calories, assuming you eat three meals a day. Why then are most restaurant meals 1500 to 2000 calories? Take advantage of this restaurant glutiny by sharing meals and roughly cutting your restaurant meal costs in half. Even if the restaurant charges a “split fee” you still come out ahead. Even better, you will likely lose some weight in the process.

4) Buy Used When Possible

Anything that you buy will ultimately be used, so why not take the savings right from the beginning. If you need a new appliance, television, smart phone or a car, buying used is almost always the best option. Save 30 to 50 percent off the cost of new and avoid all of the inevitable depreciation. New wears off quickly, but the savings that you experience from buying used linger on.

5) Un-link Your Credit Cards

Why does every online shopping website ask you to store your credit card information? They claim that it is for your convenience, but the real reason is to allow you to make purchases quickly without time to thoroughly consider it. It is amazing how many times you will change your mind on a purchase if you have to take the time to find and enter your credit card information. If a website asks you to store your credit information, decline. Should you already have information stored, delete it next time you log in.

6) Refinance Your Car

Has your credit improved since you last purchased your vehicle? Even if it has stayed the same, refinancing can save you money on that monthly payment. Interest rates have dropped over the last few years and refinancing can take advantage of this, as well as stretching out your loan term. Best of all, refinancing is free and relatively easy. Just fill out an application and then most banks will take advantage of all the tedious paperwork themselves. As an added bonus, you can probably skip a monthly car payment. Use that money to bolster your savings or to pay down some high interest credit card debt.

7) Switch To Prepaid Phone Service

These days, the only difference between prepaid cellphone service and the major carriers is when you pay your bill. In fact, most of the big carriers have their own prepaid service at a considerable discount to their normal plans. If you are an average sized family, you can save as much as 100 dollars a month, which adds up to 1200 dollars a year in savings. Even better is the fact that you will likely never notice a difference in service quality. The only change will be paying your bill at the start of the month instead of the end.

8) Consolidate Your Credit Cards

With interest rates hovering around 20 percent, credit card debt is a real problem for those carrying balances. With the average credit card debt in this country being well over 6000 dollars, this is most Americans. Take steps to eliminate this debt and save money each month with a consolidation loan. Credit card consolidation can not only slash your interest rate, but it can also make bill paying much easier. Instead of having 6 or more payments to make, live a simpler life with one simple payment.

9) Set A Budget

Lastly, set a monthly budget. It is amazing how many people just spend freely without any real idea of where their money is going. With a budget, you can identify wasteful spending and prevent yourself from overspending. Keep in mind that this budget does not have to be anything fancy. A simple excel file on your computer will do the trick.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.