Forget selling off all of your possessions or living in the dark to cut costs. Many practical ways of saving money boost your financial health without uncomfortable sacrifices. You might consider yourself a thrifty person, but there are still more ways to cut back without feeling the pinch in your everyday life.
Fill up the Refrigerator
A full refrigerator runs more efficiently than one with only a small amount of food. Keep your refrigerator and freeze full as often as possible so the appliances use less energy to operate. If you don't have enough food to fill them up, place jugs of water inside to take up the empty space.
Protect Your Assets
Insurance on your home, apartment and vehicle costs money, but it ultimately protects your assets if something happens to them. If you cause a car accident that seriously injures another driver and you don't have insurance, you open yourself up to an expensive lawsuit. Protect your assets with proper insurance coverage before you need it.
Shop for Services
The cost of services, from auto repair to Internet service, vary significantly from one service provider to the next. Shopping around any time you need a service provided helps you find the best deal, meaning you keep more money in your pocket. Once every year or two, check around for new quotes on continuous services, such as insurance or cell phone service, to make sure you're still getting the best prices.
Trusting that all your financial accounts are accurate might cost you extra money. Review your statements when you receive them to look for inaccuracies or extra fees that shouldn't be applied to the account. Contact the company if you find any discrepancies to get a refund.
Generic products are readily available, in everything from groceries to cleaners. Generic versions are often very similar to the brand-name counterparts, but with a lower price tag. Prescription medications offer major savings in many cases. Even when your insurance covers prescription drugs, you often pay a smaller copay with generic drugs.
Green Your Home
Small green changes around the house benefit the environment and your bank account. Conserving energy, reducing water consumption, sealing drafty windows and keeping your appliances running efficiently are just a few eco-friendly ways to lower your bills.
Host a Clothing Swap
Swapping clothes with friends gives you a new wardrobe without a large credit card bill. If you wear the same size as your friends, get together with the clothes that no longer excite you. You can also swap shoes, jewelry and other accessories.
Adjust Work Schedule
Commuting to and from the office costs you money for gas, car maintenance or public transportation fees. Small changes in your work arrangements could save you money in these areas. If your job allows, ask your boss if you can telecommute at least a few days a week. Another option might be to switch to four longer work days instead of the traditional five, eliminating one day of commuting.
Avoid Fees on Bills
The fees on your monthly bills might not seem like much, but a few dollars here and there add up quickly. Late fees on credit cards and other bills are often quite expensive. Set your bills on automatic withdrawal to avoid late fees.
Plan for Holiday Spending
Many people go overboard on holiday spending, reaching for the plastic if the bank account can't support the spending. Planning for holiday spending year-round lessens the financial blow of purchasing presents and entertainment. Put aside a set amount of money each month to slowly build up your holiday spending account to spread out the cost.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.