7 Cost-Saving Strategies to Implement Now
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The digital world makes it easier to spend money on things you don’t actually need, but you can cut down on costs by becoming more aware of your purchasing habits. Here are seven lifestyle tips that can help people of any income bracket save more money each month. You can also start saving when you shop online with the free Wikibuy browser button, which automatically applies the best available coupon to your cart across thousands of retailers.
1. Take stock of your subscriptions.
Chances are, you’re signed up for a few digital subscriptions and free trials that you haven’t touched in ages. Next time you’re doing your online banking, go through your monthly bills and make a list of all the streaming services, magazine subscriptions, and club memberships you’re paying for on a regular basis. How many hours per week do you use each service? Are there some that offer overlapping services? Take stock and decide if they’re worth keeping or canceling. Then, take a look at the ones you’re using and see if you can get a better deal by paying for your subscription for a whole year, rather than doing a month-to-month plan.
2. Sign up for customer reward benefits at your favorite stores.
Some of your favorite retailers, from department stores to grocery chains, offer access to loyalty programs for frequent customers. It’s free to sign up for many of these loyalty programs, and in exchange for your name and email address, you can start earning store credit for every dollar you spend, along with exclusive access to special sales and other perks. Don’t leave extra savings on the table—take a look at which stores you spend the most money at and see what they offer their most loyal customers.
Wikibuy also offers loyalty credits when you shop online at Amazon, Walmart's website, and thousands of other retailers. Credits can be redeemed for gift cards.
3. Plan your meals ahead of time.
It’s been estimated that the average American household spends about $3000 eating out at restaurants and fast food joints every single year. A lot of that has to do with busy schedules and a lack of planning when doing the weekend grocery shopping. However, by laying out a more concrete dinner schedule for the week, you can cut down on those spur-of-the-moment takeout and delivery nights (some of which can easily set you back $50).
Start by buying a calendar for your fridge and fill it out with every meal you’re going to have during the week. Then, stick to those specific items when you go to the grocery store. This way, you don’t leave yourself any wiggle room to reach for the Chinese food menu on a Wednesday night—you’ll already have food that you paid for waiting for you in the fridge.
4. Leave items in your online shopping cart for at least 24 hours.
Nothing will wreck your monthly budget faster than an impulse purchase, so feel free to use procrastination to your advantage. Most personal finance experts recommend waiting at least 24 to 72 hours before making large purchases on items that you don’t actually need, which can help you gauge whether or not you really want them. So, sure, put that new HDTV in your online shopping cart, but leave it there for a while and see if that urge to buy it is still there days later. By taking the impulse out of the purchase, you’ll be left with items that you’ll actually get some use out of.
5. Use a coupon finder.
Couponing can save you an estimated $30 a week on essential items alone. But unless you’re a serious couponing hobbyist, it can be difficult to find time to shop around for the best deals. To take some of the guesswork out of it, consider enlisting a coupon-finder that can help you save money on items you buy every day.
Wikibuy automatically applies the best available coupons to your cart before you check out, so you can forget digging for coupon codes (that don’t work) and searching endlessly for deals (without results).
6. Consolidate your debts.
If you’re working on paying off several high-interest debts, you can save money by transferring all your outstanding debts to one lower-interest balance-transfer credit card or debt consolidation loan. By moving all your debts to one place, you can pay less interest and chip away at all your outstanding accounts at one time. But you’ll have to consider your lifestyle and finances carefully before making any major changes. There are plenty of calculators online that will help you determine whether debt consolidation is the right choice for you.
7. Take advantage of credit card rewards.
Most credit cards offer users rewards whenever they spend, but how much do you actually know about what your card offers? Take some time and do some research, because you could be losing out on some significant cashback bonuses every month that you didn’t know you were eligible for. And some cards will even tailor your rewards to your particular interest, yielding higher percentages at restaurants for people who love takeout or at online retailers if you’re big on online shopping—and who isn’t right now? And when you move recurring bills (like subscription services) to your credit cards, you could be racking up extra cashback points on money you would have spent anyway. This could result in an extra few hundred dollars in your wallet every year, which could offset those streaming subscriptions or your gym membership.