We all know we should save more money than we do. Whether we need to pay down debt, build an emergency fund or save for retirement, we need to cut spending and increase our savings. It’s the only way to build financial security.Yet before considering what to cut back on, try these handy tips to save money without noticing the difference.
1.) Stop subscription music.
If you pay for a subscription Internet radio service, you’re probably overpaying for music. The same is true if you’re paying on a per-song basis. Consider, instead, buying CDs. Streaming music services have cut the bottom out of the physical media market, and you can pick up the savings. Just copy the songs to your computer and transfer them to your mp3 player, and you can jam out for less.
2.) Cut back on cable
Take an honest look at how many movies you watch in a month. If you’re paying $15 a month for a premium channel package, you’re paying for a lot of content you probably never watch, and the overall selection is limited. For half the price, you can subscribe to a streaming service and get a lot more viewing options. .
3.) Time your vacations to travel for less
Summer tends to be the most popular travel time for tourist-happy destinations like Miami and New Orleans. If you’re planning a trip to one of these stops, traveling between February and April can save you money on your hotel reservation. By using a hotel booking site, you can see an average decline of 30% at tourist locations during the offseason.
4.) Start reading paper books
Just like the streaming service has cut the core out of the price for physical media, the popularity of e-readers has done the same thing to the dead tree pulp market. This is particularly true in used books, where time-tested classic paperbacks can be had for as little as a penny. More current and popular titles, like John Green’s The Fault in our Stars, can be had on eBay for under $5, compared to the $10 for an ebook. Cheaper still, head over to your local library to get your fill of new releases, old classics and great books you’ve never heard of.
5.) Check out Online Deals to Save
For commonly used goods, like tea and coffee, online deals can cut back on the time and money you spend shopping. If you go through a 72-count box of K-Cups every month, you can save $2 per month off your coffee bill by scheduling automatic deliveries of your java. With free shipping offered by a lot of these sites and automatic ordering, this system can be your set it and forget it path to savings.
6.) Get rebate shopping!
For costs you can’t avoid, like groceries, it’s best to avoid as much pain as you can. That’s where online rebate apps come into play. Newly released iBotta, available for iOS and Android devices, offers a list of participating retailers and a list of rebates, usually between $.25 and $1.00. One of the most popular is a $.25 rebate on a gallon of milk – something you’ll likely buy anyway. After you finish shopping, you take a picture of your receipt with a smartphone or tablet and upload it to iBotta. They confirm your purchase and credit your rebates, along with bonuses for regular redemption, referring friends, and completing other challenges. iBotta can be an easy way to knock $5-10 off your grocery bill.