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9 easy ways to save $100 or more a month

Do you find it impossible to save money? In spite of what you think, you still can. Here's how.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 2, 2014 3:34PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyHaving a hard time saving money each month? Join the millions of individuals nationwide who face the same issue.


Multi-colored ceramic piggy banks © Andy Roberts, OJO Images, Getty Imagessurvey by Bankrate.com indicated that 27 percent of Americans do not have an emergency fund in place -- no rainy-day fund at all.


When it comes to saving, I've heard every excuse in the book. Some think they don't make enough, while others aren't willing to give up the little luxuries they've grown to love over the years. And some have fallen so far behind on bills that they are robbing Peter to pay Paul each month just to survive.


Bottom line: It's not how much you make, but how you spend it.


Here are nine simple tips to help you scrape up $100 or more per month:


1. Get an all-inclusive cellphone plan

Tired of paying $100 or more per month for your cellphone? Switch to an all-inclusive cellphone plan. Providers such as MetroPCS offer plans starting at only $40 per month that include unlimited talk, text and Internet. No longer do you have to worry about incurring fees for usage overages.


Monthly savings: $60.


2. Use the cash-back feature at the cash register

Each time you swipe your debit card at an out-of-network ATM, you're probably accumulating a surcharge. According to Bankrate, the national average for this fee is $2.60. Make six withdrawals and you've just accumulated $15.60. To avoid this, select the cash-back option next time you are out shopping.


Monthly savings: $15.60.


3. Give yourself a mani and pedi

In my neck of the woods, manicure and pedicure combos cost anywhere from $25 to $30. It's always nice to sit back and relax for an hour or so, but it can add up really quickly.


Because of this, I recommend scaling back the number of visits per month and conducting an online search for ways to do it yourself. And, don't forget about YouTube.


Monthly savings: $25 to $30.


4. Have girls/guys night in

As much as we could all use a break from time to time, a night out with the guys and gals can get costly. Even if you find restaurants with late-night specials, such as Applebee's, you will still rack up a nice bill once you finish tacking on drinks and the tips. To avoid this expense, try a girls or guys night in. Have everyone bring a dish and pick up a movie from Redbox.


Monthly savings: $18.


5. Scrap the gym membership

Even if the membership is only $10 a month, like Youfit, search for free alternatives. Your local parks and recreation center may offer a variety of classes for you to take, free of charge. Not only will you save a few bucks, but you will meet new friends and spice up your workouts.


Monthly savings: $10 or more per month.


6. Pack your lunch twice a week

I am not going to go out on a limb and suggest that you pack your lunch every day, because it's nice to step out of the office every now and then. However, if you spend an average of $10 a day on lunch, packing your lunch twice a week will result in a substantial amount of savings.


Monthly savings: $80.


7. Consign unwanted goods or have a yard sale

We all have those items sitting around the house collecting dust. If you're looking to stash some money in an emergency fund, head on over to your local consignment shop.


Some, such as Plato's Closet, offer cash on the spot, while others make you wait until the item is sold to collect your cut. Either way, you create more room in your home while making money. Another alternative is to have a yard sale.


Monthly savings: varies.


8. Slash your grocery bill

Start by making small cuts to your grocery list and substituting generics for brand names. And never go to the store hungry, as this is a recipe for disaster. If you can shave off $10 a week, your wallet will thank you at the end of the month.


Monthly savings: $40.


9. Drop the cable

We all know that cable can be very costly. It is easy to spend $100 or more on the cable bill alone. However, there are cheaper alternatives, such as Netflix, Hulu and Redbox, that enable you to save a ton of money each month without missing out on your favorite shows and movies. Many of the networks also offer streaming after the fact on their websites.


Monthly savings: $50 or more.


Hopefully, you can use these tricks to start building up an emergency fund so your unexpected occurrences can stop turning into financial disasters.


What simple tips do you use to save money each month?


More on Money Talks News:

91Comments
Jan 2, 2014 6:21PM
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Don't apply to me

1. Do not have cell

2. Don't do  number 2 ( pun intended)

3. Never had  mani pedi

4. Every night is night in

5. Gym? Get my work-out at work and  doing housework

6. Pack my lunch 5 times a week

7. Consign?  I use/ wear  my stuff until  it literally  is no more usable

8. Grocery -  well, maybe. But not 100 a month. Can't cut in half.

9. Cable? Dropped 4 years ago.

Wow, how pathetic.  How un-american I am, not participating in a vanity fair.

And I work  full time.  Hard work. The problem is that nobody wants to pay what it takes to make a decent living anymore.

Jan 3, 2014 3:58AM
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Here are some other helpful tips!!!

-Grow all of  your own food...even in the winter. Window boxes work wonders.

-Churn your own butter. Mill your own grain. At least it won't be GMO.

-Buy or dip your own candles. Forego electric. Knit sweaters and read aloud from books.

-Sell house and move to woods in log home.

-Sell car and buy a bus pass or bicyle to work. In winter, cross-country ski to work.

-Deliver newspapers before regular job. Work on weekends as telephone solicitor.

-Instead of gym membership, chop wood for new source of heat. Fireplace.

-For recreation, cancel cable and watch old movies from the 1950s to see what life was like when the American Dream was possible. Or....here's a thought: Quit taxing half of our income!! Maybe we would be able to save our hard-earned money if the government didn't take half of our income with sales tax, property tax, income tax, school tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.  Maybe more Americans would have jobs, if they weren't outsourced to foreign countries. And maybe food wouldn't cost a fortune if half of it was not imported.




Jan 2, 2014 6:13PM
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Wow - if only I didn't already do these things........   I guess I won't be saving anything!
Jan 2, 2014 8:22PM
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I paid off my car in three years, but I've been putting back that amount every month for the last two years, as if I still had a car payment. Haven't touched any of it. You can save quite a bit that way.
Jan 3, 2014 10:42AM
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In November you'll have a chance to save some REAL money. Be sure to vote. And when you do vote, consider the damage most incumbents have done to our economy, and consider the field of candidates in terms of what they will cost you in the long run. The tax code is in DESPERATE need of overhaul. Incumbents have done NOTHING about this. Obstructionism has cost you enormous amounts of money. Vote OUT the obstructionists (this means YOUR Congressperson), and vote in the pragmatic candidate who has enough life experience to recognize how Washington influences regular people, and who has the courage to pursue a workable economic course.  
Jan 2, 2014 8:55PM
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I already do all of those things and still haven't seen my bank account grow. Oh well.
Jan 2, 2014 7:01PM
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I canceled all my cable TV 2 years ago..Saved over $2,000
Jan 3, 2014 9:46AM
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I just moved to FL from NJ which I could no longer afford.  I got a welcome new resident card from Bright House and now get internet and basic cable for $29.99 plus tax.  I have my Magic Jack phone hooked into my laptop and can make endless phone calls from the computer - plus calls to Canada.  The initial outlay for the Magic Jack was about $40.00 a few years ago and then costs $29.99 a year.  I have a cheap prepaid Virgin Mobile cell phone that costs about $20.00 every three months, so phone service costs me about $100.00 a year.  Tonight I'm going to a mission for free food.  i'm on Social Security and it's hard living on it, but I do my best to keep expenses down.
Jan 2, 2014 7:39PM
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I often hear about people saying they can't sock money away because they don't have any.  This is a very informative article about cutting costs for those people who are looking for ways to cut costs, not an article for those who already do.


We area a family of 4 who spend $250 a month on groceries, conserve electricity, gas, water and fuel, we have a mortgage pymt, property taxes, internet, a small cable package and cell phones.  But because we choose to do some of these cutbacks such as taking our own lunches to work 5 days a week and only having the mani/pedi in the summer months, we save about $350-$400 per month, that's $4200-$4800 per year. 


Yes it can be done.  My husband and I don't make much but we scrimp and save everywhere that we can and it has started to payoff. 


If you think you can't do it, you can start the way we started, every time we went grocery shopping we would get $10 back in cash and we put that in our savings accounts.  Eventually we learned to make the other cutbacks and like I said, we are starting to reap the benefits of it.



Jan 2, 2014 8:56PM
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as soon as you have a dollar in your pocket there will always be someone around asking you for two

so recognize it and don't give it up


don't want what you know you cant afford

remember everything you buy may require maintenance

don't buy things you cant afford to maintain

try to avoid credit cards use only in emergencies

and skip the gym and walk it's really better for you anyway

don't keep pets if you cant afford your own food  unless you have mice

Jan 3, 2014 9:43AM
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Guess I'll have to give up those manicures/pedicures, (rolls eyes)
Jan 3, 2014 1:26PM
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I'm surprised they didn't mention coupons in the article to save money.

You can save a lot of money on your groceries, personal care products, toiletries, cleaning products and pet care products by using coupons and price matching at participating stores.

 

I save a lot of money by clipping coupons from the Sunday paper and online at coupon sites along with digital coupon downloads on my local grocery store shopping card.

 

It's easier when you set up a coupon binder and the key is to use coupons when the items are on sale and you don't even have to become an extreme coupon clipper to easily save an average of 35% off your bill. 

Jan 2, 2014 10:41PM
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Everything that was mentioned here to cut or reduce is good. I would recommend saving with an online savings account and have a fixed amount deducted every month on a set date and have this go to a different bank. Savings interest isn't big in fact it stinks, but if the only way you can save is to separate your checking account money from savings and FORCE yourself to save that way.
It is true, it isn't all about how much you earn but how much you can save and make the money grow and work for you.
I worked with a mortgage broker some time ago and he claimed to gross $700,000 or more. That is terrific as long as you don't spend $690,000 on luxury cars, business expenses and entertainment. It takes good habits every month to save and make your money work for you. You have to start somewhere, so for those who need to get started, do it even if it is small. The habit of saving will get a person going in the right direction.
Jan 3, 2014 11:14AM
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Drink one-gallon of water per day.  It's cheaper than other beverages and will fill you up so you eat less food.  You'll look better, feel better, and lose weight (which may help you quit and/or avoid some types of prescriptions). 
Also, for those who are currently plus-size, getting down to regular sizes will give you more clothing selection to choose from and regular sized clothing costs less than plus-size.  (Even at the thrift stores, you will find more selection in the regular sized clothes than the plus-size.)
Jan 8, 2014 3:17PM
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#10 move to another country that doesn't require you to pay for insurance that covers nothing.
Jan 2, 2014 4:09PM
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Getting a better cell phone plan is an excellent one.  I highly recommend shopping around and finding the best plan for you.

All inclusive is not necessarily the best way to go though.  My personal provider is Ting.  Ting actually charges you for what you use breaking out by minutes/texts/data.  So if you use less of something you pay less.  Just as a comparison I actually shifted my wife and I away from MetroPCS where I was paying $90/month to Ting where I pay an average of $60/month for both of us.

Anyway you can get away from the big 4 and save a lot of money.  I highly recommend shopping around and find the plan that fits you best.  By the way if you are checking out Ting use this link https://zll4ogo6p.ting.com/ and $25 should you choose to switch.

 

Jan 2, 2014 9:51PM
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Money was meant to spend not save, but because of lifestyles of different folks assessments of inflow and outflow must be regulated, if you are one of many without the ability to manage you are in big trouble.... get help and learn. Also learn to sock a little back because **** happens and some day you get old and can't work.  
Jan 2, 2014 8:57PM
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mostly respect money people work hard for it
Jan 8, 2014 3:21PM
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Stop being parent's to the frauds who get Gov't assistance.  Not the people who TRULY need help...just the frauds and illegals!
Jan 7, 2014 3:48PM
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No.1 Get rid of Obama and the rest of the libtards.

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