$15 may not seem like a lot. But saving just $15 a week can add up to an extra car payment or a fun weekend getaway. Here are 15 easy ways to save.
- Brew Your Own — If you crave a morning cup of java, turn on the machine before you hit the road instead of shelling out at the coffee shop. Store your beverage in a thermos to keep it warm for your commute.
- BYOB — Staying hydrated is key to staying healthy, but that doesn’t mean loading up on plastic bottles. Carry a refillable water bottle with you to quench your thirst anytime, sustainably and at no cost.
- Buy Generic — Rather than wasting precious time clipping coupons, focus on buying generic items at the grocery store. With a few exceptions, they’re the same quality as branded items, with significantly lower price tags.
- Use Your Library — If you’re a bookworm, your addiction can get expensive. Instead of buying the latest hardbacks, borrow them from your local library. You can reserve in-demand titles or ask the librarian to recommend a hidden gem.
- Carpool — Carpooling to work or an event can easily save at least $15 on parking fees alone, as well as several dollars in gas.
- Buy It Secondhand — Look to yard sales and thrift shops for clothing, homeware and other household items in good condition. You’ll pay a fraction of the original retail price.
- Pay Off Your Balance — The national average APR rate for credit cards is almost 15%. By paying off your balance in full each month, you can save $15 for every hundred dollars you spend.
- Trade Dinner For Lunch — While it’s fun to have a meal out now and then, if you hit restaurants at lunch, you’ll pay less for similar portions and you’ll be more likely to resist the pull of a pricey cocktail.
- Switch On CFLs And LEDs — Switch out your incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). A CFL that uses as little as 15 watts, or an LED consuming around 12 watts, can replace your typical 60-watt incandescent bulb. So, while the lights might cost a bit more up front, they’ll last longer and you can end up saving big on your utility bills.
- Have Movie Night At Home — A pair of movie tickets in most cities cost at least $15, and that’s without the popcorn. Instead of heading out for a show, rent a movie on-demand to your home TV. Most digital rentals only cost around $4 each, no matter how many people are watching.
- Stick To Your Shopping List — Whether you’re hitting the grocery store or the hardware store, make a shopping list ahead of time. It’ll help you avoid impulse buys that could push you over budget.
- Host Dinner — Hosting a meal at your own house rather than inviting friends to a restaurant can often save $15 or more per guest, especially when it comes to high-markup items like wine.
- Go Meatless — You can easily save around $15 or more by eliminating meat once or twice a week from your dinner plate. Substitute meats with other foods like mushrooms, eggplant, lentils, beans, legumes, cauliflower, potatoes, beats and nuts.
- Use A Programmable Thermostat — While the initial investment may be higher than purchasing a standard thermostat, a programmable thermostat lets you reduce the temperature when you’re not at home, cutting your monthly heating bills all winter.
- Entertain The Kids For Free — It’s easy to spend a fortune on kids at amusement parks and zoos, but you can cut back on expenses by making the most of local playgrounds, parks and free events like concerts. Check for a free parents’ guide in your region to find all the best free and low-cost options to keep them entertained.
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By Kathryn Hawkins