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25 ways to save an extra $1,000

Used collectively, these tips can easily make you $1,000 richer by the end of the year.

By Stacy Johnson Jul 16, 2012 11:45AM

This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyEvery year, I make New Year's resolutions. And every year, I stick to them -- for a few months. By July, I've often given up.

 

I'm not alone. "A full 35% of New Year's resolutions are broken before the end of January of the successive year," one survey revealed. If your resolution was to save more money, we can help.  In the video below, Stacy Johnson reveals six ways to save $1,000. Check it out and then read on for 19 more.

1. Cut your cellphone plan.

Have you looked at your cellphone history lately? If you're using less than your allotted minutes, text or data, switch to a lower plan. Six months ago, I dropped my $89.99 unlimited plan for a $59.99 plan with 1,000 minutes -- a savings of $30 a month and $180 so far. And I don't miss the minutes. (I wasn't using them anyway.) 

 

2. Ditch the land line.

Speaking of ditching things, it may be time to cut the land line. If you primarily use your cellphone, why keep two services that do the same thing? As Stacy said in the video, cutting your land-line service can save $25 to $30 a month -- about $300 a year.

 

Image: Happy Man (© Radius Images/Jupiterimages)3. Take a staycation.

Two of my friends just took their summer vacations. One spent a week in Hawaii and spent close to $2,000 on airfare, hotels, and dining out. She thought she got a good deal -- until my other friend bragged that he had taken a weeklong staycation and spent only $500. He saw all the tourist stuff we never go to as locals and ate at local five-star restaurants every night for a week.

 

4. Raise your deductibles.

Raising your insurance deductibles will lower your premiums. For example, increase your car and homeowners insurance deductibles from $200 to $1,000, and you could save hundreds. Just make sure you don't raise the deductible higher than you can afford if you need to file a claim.

 

5. Drop the gym membership.

I vowed to do more cardio this year, but I'm not spending the $34.99 a month my neighborhood gym charges. Instead, I'm running at the local park and using some Tae Bo videos at home. Sure, I feel silly sometimes doing high kicks in my living room, but I've saved $209.94 so far this year by skipping the gym. 

 

6. Turn off the premium channels.

We've laid out how you can ditch cable altogether and still watch your favorite shows. But if you want to keep cable, at least dump the premium channels. HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime each cost about $13 a month or $39 for all three. If you cut them off today, in just six months you'll be $234 richer.

 

7. Brown-bag it.

A survey by staffing firm Accounting Principals found that more than 66% of workers spend about $2,000 a year on lunch. If you start brown-bagging it every day, you could easily cut that by 50% and save $1,000 a year.

 

8. Cut out ATM fees.

My old bank didn't have nearby ATMs, and it charged a convenience fee when I used one outside of its network. So I spent about $5 for every ATM withdrawal. Going to the ATM once a week was costing me $20 a month. So I switched to a bank with more free ATMs in my area, saving $240 a year. If you're paying for access to your own money, you should do the same.

 

9. Buy out of season.

Buying out of season (swimsuits in January or Halloween decorations in November) can save you a ton of money. This year, Target put heart-shaped Russell Stover boxes on clearance for 75% off a week after Valentine's Day. I got four boxes for $2.25 each, a savings of $6.74 per box.

 

10. Sell what you're not using.

Want a painless way to beef up your savings? Go through your house and toss everything  into a box that you haven't used or worn for a year. Then sell that stuff and put the money you make into savings.

 

11. Buy generic.

Many products are the same, no matter the brand name. For example, we suggest skipping the name brands on pain relievers, water, milk, margarine, bleach, cleaning products, and spices. They all worked as well as their name-brand counterparts, and we found savings of up to 60%.

 

12. Use coupons.

Vow to always use coupons, and not just for groceries. With sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, you can snag deep discounts at local retailers. And if you're shopping online, always do a quick search for a coupon code before you check out. But don't let coupon availability cause you to buy things you otherwise wouldn't. 

 

13. Quit smoking.

In my area, a pack of cigarettes costs about $4.75 (and that's cheap). Smoke a pack a day and you'll spend about $142 a month. In a year, you'll spend $1,734. Quitting isn't just good for your health, it's good for your wallet. If you're not going to quit, at least save some money on the smokes you buy.

 

14. Reduce your energy use.

According to The WhiteFence Index, U.S. consumers spend an average nearly $97 a month and $1,159 a year on electricity. If you reduced your bill by 30%, you'd save about $30 a month. That isn't hard to do: Just install CFL light bulbs, turn up (or, when it's cold, down) your thermostat, and flip the switch when you leave the room.

 

15. Stop paying for pricey shipping.

The other day I got a warning from Mint.com telling me I spend a lot on shipping costs. I looked at my history, and they're right. Last month, I spent more than $50 for shipping, including having a hard drive overnighted to me for an extra $19.99. Don't do the same. Look for sites with free or discounted shipping and just wait the few extra days. If you ordered $19.99 overnight shipping once a month, you'd spend about $240 a year on delivery fees.

 

16. Do it yourself.

Hiring a pro is expensive, especially when you have the Internet to teach you how to do it yourself. In the past year, I've fixed a leaking faucet, replaced a shower head, repaired a door, and re-tiled my bathroom -- all things I didn't know how to do before I started.

 

17. Comparison-shop for beer.

Between happy hour, game-day specials, and weekly ads, there are plenty of deals to keep you from paying full price for alcohol. For example, we found a website called SaveonBrew.com that posts discount deals on beer in your area.

 

18. Find free fun.

No matter what you like to do, there's probably a free or cheaper version. For example, I love live music, but even a cheap concert ticket can cost $45. If I go twice a month, that's $1,080 a year. But my city hosts weekly free concerts downtown. Now I only buy tickets to big-name bands once or twice a year, saving about $1,000.

 

19. Buy last-generation electronics.

Buying the latest and greatest electronics isn't always worth it. Electronics like smartphones are updated so frequently that the changes made from one year to the next can be barely noticeable to the average user. As soon as the new device comes out, the old device gets cheaper. So wait and buy year-old devices to save.

 

20. Haggle.

I never used to haggle, not even at a garage sale, but then my sister scored a $100 discount on a new couch just by asking, and I was hooked. Ask for a discount before you buy anything, even at a major retailer.

 

21. Stop buying new books.

I've been eyeing the new Charlaine Harris book, but Amazon wants $21.95 for a hardcover copy. I know there are plenty of ways to get a book free or dirt cheap, so I'm waiting. And you should too. Buying new books is costly, especially when you can get them for free at the public library or by using a book swapping service


22. Buy used.

There are some things you should never buy used, like helmets, cribs and mattresses. But for everything else, you can save 50% or more by combing Craigslist, garage sales, and resale shops. (Check out "14 things you should always buy used.")

 

23. Turn off the advertising.

I rarely watch live TV, and I don't subscribe to beauty magazines, so I don't feel the pressure of advertising. But when I'm in the salon browsing through a magazine, I inevitably find half a dozen products I think I need right now. Avoid commercials and ads, and you'll save a ton of money.

24. Use simple or homemade household products.

You can spend a good chunk of your income buying special products designed to do only one job, or you can use something you already have around the house. Check out "19 uses for baking soda, dryer sheets and beer" for ideas, like using baking soda as a facial scrub, or cleaning your windows with vinegar.

 

25. Go meatless.

One pound of 93% lean hamburger meat costs $6.95 in my local grocery store, and we use about a pound for each meal that includes beef. I used to buy three of those packages per week, spending $20.85. Now I eat three meatless meals a week and save that money, which adds up to more than $1,000 a year.

 

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