If you’re like most people, the word “frugal” means cheap. I used to think that, too, but as the cost of living continues to rise, “frugal” has taken on a whole new meaning. These days, living frugally means saving money where I can while still enjoying the things I love. Learning to live a frugal life takes patience and practice, but once you figure it out, it becomes easier and easier to see where you can save money on the things you normally take for granted. Here are a few money-saving ideas for the new year that I hope you’ll find helpful.
1. Take a good look at both your home and your cell phone service. If you still have both, consider doing away with your home phone service, especially if you have good reception with your cell. Many of the cell providers offer great service, but don’t forget about the pay-as-you-go plans either. Sometimes these are cheaper than a monthly service plan.
2. Shop around for new car insurance I know it’s easy just to pay the bill when it comes in, but have you noticed that your rates increase a little every year, even if you haven’t had any accidents? Take a look around and get a couple of quotes from different companies — you’ll be surprised at the amount of money you could be saving by switching.
3. Try to pay your insurance premiums annually. While we’re on the subject, many companies charge an additional “service fee” each month if you pay monthly.
4. Pay attention to which electronics are plugged in. Did you know that just because you turn something off doesn’t mean it isn’t still pulling electric and adding to your electric bill? It’s true — take your cable box for example. Turning it off doesn’t stop it from using electricity to do updates and the like. In order to stop electronics from pulling “ghost power,” you should be unplugging them. Now, I know it sounds ridiculous going around your house unplugging everything at night before going to bed, so what I did was utilize a power strip with an on/off switch that I simply flip when those electronics are not being used.
5. Try to use a laptop more than a PC to conserve energy. Since it runs on battery and only needs to be plugged in to charge, you’ll save a few bucks on your electric bill over the year.
6. Go green and save money by making your own household cleaners. Chances are you probably already have most of the ingredients in your home. Vinegar, baking soda, alcohol and lemon juice are powerful cleansers with no harmful chemicals that will leave you with a clean house and money in your wallet.
A new year is upon us and it’s a good time to consider setting goals for saving money where you can. Even if you only make one change, you’ll see how the little things can add up to big savings.
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