Even a somewhat-modest three lunches out per week, with four dinners out over the course of a month, will cost you more than $150 -- not counting drinks and tips.
Cut the cord: Go cable-free
Somewhere between "The Stepford Wives" and "Real Housewives," cable became a utility, as seemingly necessary as electricity, water and gas. With broadband service and easier access to shows online, though, some are willing to make the cut.
Just how much would cutting cable save you? It depends on your service, of course, but 2010 numbers from research firm Centris indicated that the average monthly cable bill ran about $70. If you can't live without "True Blood" or international rugby, you're probably paying even more than that.
Give up the Internet
The slim response to giving up Internet access -- a scant 1% selected that choice alone -- suggests that this wouldn't be your favorite strategy. (The fact that you're reading this article online is even better evidence!) In its same research, Centris found that Internet service bills averaged $40 a month.
One option to consider: If you already pay for wireless network access through a smartphone or tablet PC, you may be able to get by without the Web on your home computer.
Conserve cash by clipping coupons
Coupons have become a hot commodity in the past few years, with online coupon resources becoming more prevalent. There are innumerable online coupon sites to help you find deals, but no matter how great a deal you find, make sure it's for items you'd buy anyway. After all, it isn't a savings strategy if you use a 75-cents-off coupon as an excuse to try the latest flavor of Pepperidge Farm Milanos -- as tempting as it may be!
Some have turned "coupon" into its own verb, not to mention a life goal, with strategies that may save you money but will cost you a lot of time. Driving to three different grocery stores each week doesn't seem like an exercise in efficiency, does it? If you keep to your usual items and schedule, you're more likely to enjoy savings without stress.
Bring in more money
What about choices you could make to bring in money, rather than just hanging on to what you have?
Getting a second job is a surefire way to help pay bills and pad your savings account. You'll need to ask yourself a few key questions before you take that second job, but if you have the time and energy, it's a great strategy.
A garage sale not only brings in cash, it simplifies your life and gives you more space. Watch this video for some great tips for holding a successful sale.
Try a little bit of everything
Thirty-eight percent of your peers can't be wrong: Your best strategy may be all of the above, or at least working on multiple fronts. Increasing your income gives you more money to play with -- and tuck into savings accounts -- while cuts to your budget let you hang on to more cash. With both strategies, you'll meet your savings goals that much faster.
This article was reported by Jennifer Rose Hale for SavingsAccounts.com.
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