A decision to save money doesn’t have to be life-changing or even involve sacrifice.
It’s surprising how much money you can save simply by paying attention to how your money is being spent. People routinely buy things that they don’t truly need or perhaps even want. It’s all about being aware of where your money is going.
Following are some easy ways to save money this year.
1. Stop paying for recorded music
The internet has made it easy to listen to music by your favorite recording artists whenever you like without spending a dime.
2. Read books on mobile devices
Instead of buying traditional books or investing in an e-reader, buy e-books and read them on your existing mobile device or computer. We detail how to do this in “This Trick Lets You Read E-Books Without an E-Reader.”
E-books are typically cheaper than the printed version, and you won’t have to thin out your hard-copy collection as often.
Another great option for e-books: your public library.
3. Raise your auto insurance deductible
Auto insurance pricing is all about risk. Having a higher deductible means you assume more risk up front, so you’ll likely pay less in premiums.
If you have an accident after raising your deductible, you will need to pay a greater share of your auto repair costs. However, if you make it through the year accident-free, it is pure savings.
In fact, in “How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance,” Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson refers to raising your deductible as “the simplest and fastest way to save on car insurance.”
4. Use rewards credit cards
As long as you pay your monthly credit card bills on time, there’s no problem with using credit cards for daily purchases. Some cards offer cash-back rewards of 3% or more for items such as groceries and gasoline. This can produce real savings over time.
5. Ask about senior discounts
If you’re 50 years old or older, you often can save money on purchases just by asking about senior discounts, which are offered at many businesses.
For examples, check out:
6. Conquer impulse purchases
Many purchases are made on impulse. You see something you want in a store and get an urge to buy it, especially if it’s on sale. The problem is that after the impulse fades, you may realize that you didn’t really need the item.
For help fighting impulse buys, see “11 Tips and Tricks That Will Keep You From Overspending.”
7. Improve your credit score
Your credit score is a reflection of how well you manage money. If your credit score improves, it can lower the amount of interest you pay on loans and credit cards. It might even reduce your car insurance premium.
If you need outside help overcoming your debt or restoring your credit, check out Money Talks News’ Solutions Center, which can help match you with a reputable credit counselor or a credit restoration expert.
8. Reach for a sweater instead of the thermostat
Instead of turning on the heat every time you feel a chill, try putting on a sweater. Even if you must turn on the heat, you’ll use less energy and reduce your fuel bill if you’re wearing a jacket or sweater on cold days.
For more energy-saving ideas, check out “19 Dumb Mistakes That Send Winter Energy Bills Soaring.”
9. Close your self-storage unit
Self-storage can be helpful if you temporarily lack the space to house all of your belongings. Just make sure you’re not storing items you no longer need.
If you’re paying hundreds of dollars a month for storage and you can’t remember what you’ve put away there, you’ve got a problem. Consider closing the unit and pocketing the cash. Or at least check out “Have Too Much Stuff? 10 Ways to Cut the Cost of Self-Storage.”
10. Use coupons when you shop
Coupon clippers have a big advantage over shoppers who go to the store without arming themselves with that cost-cutting weapon.
You can sort through the coupons that are mailed to your home or go online to find them, as we detail in “7 Places to Find Free Manufacturer Coupons Online.”
11. Get rid of your telephone landline
You can save money if you’re willing to give up your landline telephone and exclusively use your mobile phone. If you have a cellphone, chances are good that you rarely use your landline. If that’s the case, why keep paying for the landline?
For help finding the right cellphone or wireless plan, check out the Money Talks News wireless search tool.
12. Set up an automatic savings plan
It’s easier to save when you’ve arranged for money to be automatically deducted from your paycheck or transferred from your checking account to an investment account. And once you become accustomed to having money taken out of your paycheck or checking account, you may not even notice the difference.
Just make sure you choose an amount to save that won’t leave you without enough cash to take care of your expenses.
13. Get a roommate
Whether you own your home or rent, having a roommate can greatly reduce your monthly living expenses. We often think of having a roommate as something people do when they’re in college or just starting out as adults. In reality, it can make sense to share expenses at any stage of life.
14. Don’t buy a brand-new car
While it’s great to have a car that’s shiny and new, being the first owner of an automobile is an expensive proposition. That’s because cars tend to depreciate in value quickly.
Instead, consider buying a slightly used car after someone else has absorbed the depreciation.
15. Pay attention to the price per unit when grocery shopping
It’s easy to get excited when the foods you like go on sale, but the real way to identify a bargain is to look at the per-unit price that’s usually listed on the shelves. Sometimes, sale items are more expensive than products being sold at regular prices. So, don’t fall for the hype.
What tricks do you use to save money day-to-day? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.
Find the right financial adviser
Finding a financial adviser you can trust doesn't have to be hard. A great place to start is with SmartAsset's free financial adviser matching tool, which connects you with up to three qualified financial advisers in five minutes. Each adviser is vetted by SmartAsset and is legally required to act in your best interests.
If you're ready to be matched with local advisers who will help you reach your financial goals, get started now.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.