Our 2011 blog, Top 10 Ways to Save Money, continues to be one of our most popular posts. If you haven’t read it, check it out here. If you already read it, back by popular demand, here are 10 more ways to save.
Member Irene commented on our last blog about couponing. Coupons can be a great way to save money. By devoting a couple of hours per week, you can “clip” coupons, search online for deals, and organize your savings for easy use. Often, making trips to multiple stores can add up to even bigger rewards.
Shopping for items in bulk can also help you save. The question to ask yourself is: will you use it before it goes bad? Buying meat in bulk can be a big savings, if you have a large enough freezer. Package the meat in serving size freezer bags prior to storing and write “use by” dates on the bags to prioritize usage. Other valuable bulk purchases are toiletries and household supplies, such as paper towels.
Member Karen commented that she shops at thrift stores for some items. Great idea Karen! Other options are garage sales, dollar stores and discount stores like Ross and Marshalls.
Planting a garden is a great activity for families and supplies a bounty for the kitchen. If you don’t think you have the space, containers are great for tomatoes, green beans, strawberries and more. Buy starter plants to make it easier and don’t hesitate to ask questions at the nursery.
When you’re out with family or friends, how about splitting an entrée or sharing a couple appetizers and a dessert instead of a large and expensive meal? It can trim your bill – plus, it’s fun!
Stick to Water
Improve your health and your wallet by cutting the extra juices, sodas, coffees, teas and sports drinks from your diet. The high prices and high calories make it an easy way to tighten your belt.
Annual Household Expense Assessment
Investing time to analyze your spending is an important part of budgeting. You could be spending more than you need to on bills like home insurance, car insurance, home phone service and cell phone. Call your provider to ask for specials, discounts and to see if you’re still in the most appropriate plan for you. They can assess your current situation and usage to see if they can save you money.
Save as You Go
Instead of being hit with those large expenses, try saving throughout the year. You can setup multiple savings accounts in BranchLine using the “Open an Account” button. Create one for property taxes, one for a vacation fund, one for a holiday fund – the possibilities are endless. Setting up automatic transfers, payroll deduction or direct deposit to those accounts will help your savings grow effortlessly.
Keep a List
Shopping with a list can help keep you organized and curb impulse spending. There are even phone applications that can help. An app like Cozi Family Organizer lets your whole family share a list, so you’re never guessing, which can lead to overbuying.
Watch those Fees!
Avoid overdraft fees by being aware of your checking account balance. You can setup overdraft protection and account alerts to notify you if your balance drops below a particular threshold.
Avoid ATM fees by using an ATM within your financial institution’s network – those $3 fees add up quickly. With Pacific Service Credit Union, we have more than 30,000 free ATMs through the Co-op network and other participating partners. Better yet, our Relationship Checking account reimburses fees from out-of-network institutions.
Avoid credit card annual fees. Always read the credit card disclosure box prior to opening a card. (Here are my tips on how to decipher those overwhelming disclosures.) There are still cards out there with no annual fee, like our Visa Platinum Card. Even our Visa Platinum Rewards card $25 annual fee is waived if you have our Relationship Checking account.
Those are my latest tips; share yours in the comments. Good luck with your savings plan!
by Kristin, Vice President, Marketing