I challenged my readers to pick their top way to save money. I have compiled them into an explosive list for you! Enjoy.
Debt Solutions Tip 1. Slow Down Your Internet Service. Move to the slower internet service option with your cable company. You may never see a difference in speed.
Debt Solutions Tip 2. Combine your cable, internet and telephone service. Companies now offer combined services that not only cost less, but offer the convenience of a single bill.
Debt Solutions Tip 3. Brown bag it to work. Be sure to include snack foods like muffins, fruit and cookies for morning and afternoon breaks as well as a lunch. If you also drink the office brew or bring a thermos of coffee, you can save $5 a day. If there's no lunchroom at work, eat and read the paper at your desk or take your lunch to the park. You'll be healthier as well as richer.
Debt Solutions Tip 4. Take public transit or car pool instead of driving to work. Depending on where you live and how far you commute, you'll save money on gas, parking, insurance and wear-and-tear on your car. And cutting out the daily drive to work and back will cause less stress on the environment – and you.
Debt Solutions Tip 5. Go out for dinner just once a month and eliminate take-out foods from your menu. Cook roasts, casseroles and stews that will last a couple of evenings, and keep some frozen dinners, canned soups and pasta sauce on hand for evenings when you are tired and short of time. Cutting back on eating out and ordering in can save you as much as $200 per month. Try BBQ's they are fun and in-expensive.
Debt Solutions Tip 6. Get rid of your cell phone or your home phone. Switch to a pay-as-you-go plan and use the phone only when absolutely necessary. By eliminating or severely restricting your use of your cell phone, you can save about $35 a month, depending on your current plan and use patterns. (Or get rid of your home phone)
Debt Solutions Tip 7. Cancel subscriptions to magazines you don't read and cable or satellite TV services you don't watch regularly. Cutting back to the magazines and channels that are essential to you can save you $100 or more per year. You can save even more by cutting your newspaper subscription back to weekends only and getting your news at work, on TV or online during the week.
Debt Solutions Tip 8. Convert to a gas water heater. They are more efficient and will save you money in the long run.
Debt Solutions Tip 9. Send away for and follow up on rebates. After you buy a product with a rebate, send in the form that day. Then mark your calendar to remind yourself to follow up with the rebate company if the check hasn't show up.
Debt Solutions Tip 10. Request a reduction in the interest rate for your home equity line of credit.
Debt Solutions Tip 11. Request a reduction in the interest rate on your credit cards. As with home equity loans, credit card companies sometimes are willing to reduce the interest rate. It can't hurt to ask.
Debt Solutions Tip 12. Get rid of Private Mortgage Insurance. If your down payment was less than 20%, you are probably paying PMI. Once you have a 20% cushion through reducing your debt and home appreciation (yes, prices do go up from time to time), contact your mortgage company to start the process of removing the PMI.
Debt Solutions Tip 13. Get your books from the library. I love books and read every day. While I buy some of the books I read, most come from the library. Simply put, it's hard to beat free.
Debt Solutions Tip 14. Get DVDs from the library. Many libraries now have movies on DVD that can be checked out. If your library offers this service, it sure beats paying Blockbuster or Netflix.
Debt Solutions Tip 15. Get DVDs from Red Box. If your library doesn't offer DVDs, get your moves from Red Box. It costs just one dollar per night.
Debt Solutions Tip 16. Read magazines at the library or online. Too many magazines can cost a fortune. And how many times have you bought a magazine based on the cover and been disappointed by the lack of substance. At the library you can read magazines for free. And many magazines now offer their content for free online.
Debt Solutions Tip 17. Subscribe only to magazines you just can not live without. If you must have a certain magazine each month, subscribe. Subscriptions offer substantial savings over the cost at the newsstand.
Debt Solutions Tip 18. Request a discount on trash service. For some reason this is a highly competitive business. If you get a better offer in the mail for trash service, call your current trash company and ask them to beat the offer. My trash service has reduced its rates twice in six months to match competing offers.
Debt Solutions Tip 19. Never pay checking account fees. I hate bank fees. With so many free checking account plans available, there's no reason to pay a fee. And if the bank happens to charge you one, ask them to reverse the fee or take your business to another bank.
Debt Solutions Tip 20. Get a rewards card. There are many reward cards that pay our in cash or points that can be redeemed for travel or products. Many of these cards don't have an annual fee. I recently traveled to my college reunion for free using points earned from a credit card. Some favorite reward cards are Best Buy and American Express Gold Card.
Debt Solutions Tip 21. Don't pay interest on credit cards. This is obvious, but I soon as you fail to pay off the credit card in full, the high interest payments start to eat away at your monthly budget. If the temptation to spend more than you can pay on a credit card is to great, get rid of the credit card (and ignore the previous tip!).
Debt Solutions Tip 22. Take advantage of 0% credit card offers. Again, as long as the cards won't cause you to spend more, they can offer substantial savings. Make sure, however, that you keep an eye on the balance transfer fee, which can wipe out your savings. Remember bank fees are deductible interest is not.
Debt Solutions Tip 23. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs. These bulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer. They do take some getting used to, and they won't work in every light fixture. But use them where it makes sense and save energy and money.
Debt Solutions Tip 24. Drive your car longer. The buy new versus used debate often overlooks the most important factor–how long you own your car. Drive it as long as you safely can for substantial savings. Buy a new or used car when your old car begins costing to much in repairs.
Debt Solutions Tip 25. Pay your life insurance annually. Insurance companies charge you more if you pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. Pay once a year and you'll pay less.
Debt Solutions Tip 26. Pay car insurance semi-annually. At least with my car insurance, they offer quarterly and semi-annual payment options. It costs more to pay quarterly, and twice a year is more convenient anyway.
Debt Solutions Tip 27. Increase insurance deductibles. Most of us don't need to be insured for all losses over $100 on our car, for example. Although we wouldn't want to pay a $250 or even $500 deductible, we could. If that's you, find out how much you'd save from raising your deductible. I've raised my deductibles on my auto insurance and home owner's insurance and saved a considerable amount. Shop, shop, shop for the best price.
Debt Solutions Tip 28. Think before submitting an insurance claim. My rule of thumb is that I won't submit a claim on a loss that is less than twice my deductible. So for a $250 deductible on an auto loss, I'll pay out of pocket any loss up to $500. Why? The $250 I'd receive from my insurance company is not worth the increased premiums I'm likely to pay. You may want to call your insurance agent to find out how a claim will impact your premiums before filing the claim.
Debt Solutions Tip 29. Shut vents in unused rooms. This isn't advisable if you have forced air heating, but shutting vents in unused rooms can save on your heating and cooling bill.
Debt Solutions Tip 30. Check the insulation in your home. Extra insulation can easily pay for itself in one or two years, and it helps save the environment, too. Take a smoke pencil and place it next to your cooling and/or heating systems and vents to detect leaks. Seal leaks immediately.
Debt Solutions Tip 31. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances. Look for the Energy Star on appliances and consider the annual energy cost before buying. More efficient appliances cost more, but you make up the extra cost and then some over the life of the product.
Debt Solutions Tip 32. Agree to limit gift giving. At Christmas our extended family and we go overboard when it comes to gift giving. Agree in advance to limit the gifts and save everybody some money.
Debt Solutions Tip 33. Cancel the health club membership. Less expensive options may include a gym at your work or a gym at your local parks and recreation center. Some offer pay as you go options rather than monthly fees, which can be great for those of us who aren't as consistent in our routines as we'd like to be.
Debt Solutions Tip 34. Do not purchase extended warranties unless the item is over $500 Even then you may want to pass on this option.
Debt Solutions Tip 35. Take advantage of employer 401(k) matches. If your employer matches 401(k) contributions, do everything you can to take full advantage of that match.
Debt Solutions Tip 36. Use flexible spending accounts. FSAs allow you to pay certain medical, dental and child care expenses using pre-tax dollars. If your not taking advantage of these accounts, you're wasting money. Enrollment at many companies is occurring now, so check with your HR department if you have any questions about FSAs.
Debt Solutions Tip 37. Get tires from Costco or other wholesale clubs. Simply put, they cost a lot less than buying them at the dealer or even a chain tire store.
Debt Solutions Tip 38. Keep tires properly inflated. It keeps you safe and costs less on gas.
Debt Solutions Tip 39. Stop smoking. Bad for your health. Bad for your wallet.
Debt Solutions Tip 40. Drink less alcohol. It costs money, adds calories and causes acid reflux.
Debt Solutions Tip 41. Buy term life insurance. Any other life insurance product is just not worth the extra cost.
Debt Solutions Tip 42. Buy generic over-the-counter medicines. They are similar as their branded counterparts and cost less. Be aware that some generic fillers can make you feel sick.
Debt Solutions Tip 43. Get organized and avoid missed payments. I've missed a payment or two because the bill got buried beneath a stack of papers. Get organized and avoid those late payment penalties. If you do miss a payment, call your creditor and ask to have the penalty removed. They'll usually accommodate the request, at least the first time.
Debt Solutions Tip 44. Buy online when it saves you money. I've used Amazon to buy many items. Plus in most cases there is no tax.
Debt Solutions Tip 45. Use Open Source software when possible. Use GIMP instead of Photoshop. GIMP is free; Photoshop is not free.
Debt Solutions Tip 46. Stay married. I know that some marriages end because of abuse and other extreme circumstances. If you are in a fairly healthy relationship work on staying together. Divorce can wreck yours and your spouse's finances.
Debt Solutions Tip 47. Buy In Bulk The cost of food has risen considerably in the past few years and buying in bulk can see you reduce your food bills dramatically. Although these warehouses were generally developed to serve business, families can take advantage of their lower prices as well. An ideal solution to maximizing the benefit of buying in bulk is to join a local buying group. That way not only do you save by buying large quantities but the cost is split according to your share of the bulk purchases.
Debt Solutions Tip 48. Farmers Markets Buying direct from the provider can prove to be less expensive than from a supermarket as you are cutting out the middle man. Many stall holders will even be prepared to negotiate discounts with you, especially if you buy large quantities. Best of all you are guaranteed fresh produce and you are supporting your local community.
Debt Solutions Tip 49. Wise Supermarket Shopping Even if you prefer the convenience of doing your weekly shopping at the local supermarket, there are still ways to save money. Swapping your favorite brand for the supermarket's own brand can save you valuable pounds and often the quality is just as good. Look out for special deals and use the promotional coupons often found in magazines. The best way to avoid spending money unnecessarily is to make a shopping list before you go to the shops, and then stick to it.
Debt Solutions Tip 50. Avoid Main Street Prices Instead of shopping on the main street, try factory outlets which offer the same types of clothes but at far better prices. Better still; try shopping at a charity shop. It may conjure up images of old, poor quality second hand clothes but generally the quality is very good and you can find some really unique items in these shops.
Debt Solutions Tip 51. Dining Out Cheaply You can still entertain business colleagues or treat your loved one to a nice dinner out even if you are watching the pennies. Most restaurants run promotions to entice diners to their establishments, keep a look out for advertisements in newspapers promoting restaurant deals. There are also several websites which offer special deals at popular restaurants. Just make sure you read the fine print on the voucher as some of these deals are only available on certain days, or between certain hours.
Debt Solutions Tip 52. Saving Money On Gas A good way to save money is to ensure that you fill up at the cheapest gas stations. Also you can purchase the Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Booster. This little device can add 20% to your gas mileage. If you drive a lot this is a must have. get it at www.hammacher.com
Debt Solutions Tip 53. Drive smoothly. Accelerate smoothly and at a reasonable rate, try to coast to a stop as often as possible. Also use cruise control on the highway.
Debt Solutions Tip 54. Ink Print Cartridges Instead of buying new try using refill cartridges or generic replacement cartridges. Companies in particular will benefit from buying in bulk as the more you buy, the less it costs per cartridge.
Debt Solutions Tip 55. Switch Utility Companies Residents in the UK and US enjoy a free market in gas and electricity suppliers, it is highly competitive and deals are constantly being offered to the public. Shop around for the best deals and switch. Some may even offer you a cash-back deal which means you could end up with money in your pocket just by changing providers.
Debt Solutions Tip 56. Replace Your Light Bulbs Replacing your old light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs can save you money on long term replacement and helps to lower your energy bills. These light bulbs can last up to ten times longer than regular light bulbs and as they are energy-efficient, they also help you reduce your carbon footprint while decreasing your energy consumption. Install CFLs to save energy. Compact fluorescent lights use about a quarter of the electricity of normal incandescent bulbs. They also need replaced much less often.
Debt Solutions Tip 57. Transfer Credit card Balances If you have a credit card with a relatively large balance, it may be a good idea to transfer the balance to a new provider and save on interest repayments. Many credit card companies offer an interest free period if you bring transfer your debt from your current provider to them. This will give you a chance to pay off the balance, however check to see if there are any fees to pay for the initial transfer before signing any agreements. Try not to use more than 50% of your available credit per account.
Debt Solutions Tip 58. Pay Bills By Direct Debits Or Online If you are still paying your bills by checks or bank transfers, consider switching to direct debits. Most companies actually prefer you to pay by direct debit and offer discounts as an incentive to change your payment method. Not only this but you will also save by avoiding late payment penalty fees and you may even find yourself eligible for additional early payment discounts. Online payments insure that payments are made on time.
Debt Solutions Tip 59. Use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats save you an estimated 10-20% on your heating and cooling bills. When we aren't home, or we are sleeping, our house is quite a bit warmer or cooler, depending on the season. Save a substantial amount on your utilities.
Debt Solutions Tip 60. Use NEW ceiling fans, floor fans, and space heaters. Old appliances suck energy. Try to put your TV, VCR ect on energy strips that can be turned off when the device is not in use.
Debt Solutions Tip 61. Plan and research major purchases. A little planning can save you thousands of dollars.
Debt Solutions Tip 62. Buy Quality Products. Quality items may cost more up front, but they last longer and generally provide better results than cheaper, inferior products.
Debt Solutions Tip 63. Use Coupons And Rebates. We use coupons for oil changes, groceries, books, on-line purchases, and just about anything else we can find. A great on-line resource is www.Ebates.com, which is an on-line rebate company. Ebates is free to join, and you can get great savings on on-line purchases.
Debt Solutions Tip 64. Use store rewards cards. Many stores will send you cash certificates to use
Debt Solutions Tip 65. Eat Leftovers. You can save a minimum of $20 a week by eating leftovers.
Debt Solutions Tip 66. Take Care Of Things. I treat things I own with respect and take good care of them. This includes doing things such as cleaning our house, washing our cars, ect, ect. Things last much longer when you take good care of them.
Debt Solutions Tip 67. Avoid credit card debt. If you do not have the money to pay for what you are buying, DON"T buy it.
Debt Solutions Tip 68. Fill Your Fridge. Lower your electricity bills by stocking your fridge. The less empty space you have in your fridge, the less cold air will escape whenever you open it.
Debt Solutions Tip 69. Cover windows in the winter. Have 1/4″ sheets of Plexiglas cut to the size of your windows; during the winter install on the inside of your windows with an air gap (created by using foam insulation strips) in between. Use wood strips to hold in place. It minimizes loss of heat and it is a great sound barrier!
Debt Solutions Tip 70. Wait before purchasing. Wait at least 30 days before making major purchasing decisions. It will help you truly think about if you need it or should buy something.
Debt Solutions Tip 71. Install an energy system. Install a Climate Energy free watt System installed. It's a combined heat and power system for the home and it saves a bundle on electricity.
Debt Solutions Tip 72. Save your coins. We empty our pockets every day and put any and all change in a jar. Have a "spend no coins" rule in your household. Roll your own coins at the end of 6 months and buy yourself a present :)
Debt Solutions Tip 73. Hang Clothes Out To Dry. You can totally offset your electric bill by choosing not to use your dryer. Not only will it save you money, but you can enjoy being out in the fresh air! Also doing your laundry at night can save money on your air conditioning bill.
Debt Solutions Tip 74. Have garage sales or use Craigslist to sell things
Debt Solutions Tip 75. Buy Groceries On Sale And Stockpile Them Doing this one simple thing can save you hundreds throughout the year.
Debt Solutions Tip 76. Use 1/2 Detergent Use less detergent. You can often use half the amount of detergent that's "recommended" and still get your clothes clean.
Debt Solutions Tip 77. Make Your Own Foam Soap Use 1/4 regular liquid soap to 3/4 water. Use foam pump.
Debt Solutions Tip 78. Skip The Theater Instead get a movie at redbox.
Debt Solutions Tip 79. Water down juices. When you open a new apple juice for your kids pour up half in the glass and add about 1/4 – 1/2 container of water. This makes each new bottle last twice as longer, and dilutes the grams of sugar your kids are drinking. Maximum sugar intake per day is 50 grams.
Debt Solutions Tip 80. Don't run water when shaving or brushing teeth. This practice can save up to 5 gallons per visit to the sink.
Debt Solutions Tip 81. Sign up for budget billing with utility company. This won't necessarily save you money, but it certainly helps the budgeting process by smoothing out highs and lows in your utility bills. Most companies offer this "level billing" service after you have 12 months of history to compute an average.