A simple savings strategy keeps your budget low and savings account padded for money emergencies or big purchases. Little changes in the way you use your money, from paying your bills to shopping for clothes, add up to give you a cushion in your savings. Simple strategies mean you can pinch your pennies without feeling the sting of cutting back.
The clearance rack harbors many money-saving deals, on everything from clothing to grocery items, depending on where you shop. Some clearance items have minor defects, but others are simply left over at the end of the season. Stores need to move the merchandise so they mark the items down, sometimes to 50 percent or more off the original price. Purchase clothing at the end of the season and save it for next year, or stick with items like jeans that you can wear year-round. Decorate your home with clearance throw pillows, furniture or prints. Some stores have designated clearance aisles while others mix the clearance items in with the regularly priced merchandise.
Pay Ahead on Loans
Your loan has a set repayment schedule, but sending in extra money each month toward the principal saves you money in the long run. By reducing the principal faster, less interest is accrued over the life of the loan. You loan will also be paid off faster so you can free up the money allocated to that payment. Check the details of the loan to make sure the company won't ding you with prepayment penalties for paying ahead.
Sign Up for Automatic Payments
No one likes to write out checks each month for bills, but the companies expect payment every month. Instead of spending money on checks and postage, sign up for automatic payments. Some companies might waive service fees or give you a small discount on your bill to let them take the money automatically.
Join the Club
Some grocery stores offer a store club, which gives you special discounts, coupons and other savings on your purchases. Membership is generally free so there's no reason to skip signing up. Ask at the customer service desk if you aren't sure if your supermarket offers a club.
Reduce Entertainment Costs
Being frugal doesn't mean you have to cut out all entertainment and extras. A trip to the movie theater in the afternoon usually means cheaper matinee pricing. The library offers lots of free entertainment, such as books, magazines, CDs and movies. Instead of buying these things new, check them out at the library for free. Most cities offer free or cheap entertainment options, such as summer festivals, live band concerts and community theaters.
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