If you’ve been on the Internet looking for ways to save money, you’ve probably found dozens if not hundreds of suggestions. The one problem with most of these tips is that they can’t help you short-term. For example, you might have read articles suggesting that you track your spending for some amount of time and then create a budget. That is good advice. But it’s not going to save you money immediately. In fact, it might be more than 60 days before you see any real savings. And then there are tips such as sell your car and buy a cheaper one. Again this will save you money, but not today or even this week and maybe not this month. However there are simple things you could do to save money immediately and here are 9 of them.
1. Make dinner at home
When you eat out, you’re basically paying the restaurant’s rent, maintenance and food costs. Plus if you tip, you’re just tossing your hard earned money at the wait staff or delivery guy. If you do this often enough, it will add up to a lot of cash. Instead, make your dinner at home and cut out all those other costs.
2. Make a triple or quadruple batch
If you’re already cooking your own meals, be sure to make a lot of portions. Try to make at least triple or even quadruple batches and then freeze the ones you don’t consume that day. You can then bring these out for quick dinners or lunches when you need something simple. One of the best of these is to make a casserole where you cook the entire thing and then just bring it out and toss it in the oven when you need it.
3. Go for a walk before dark
Going for a walk is one of the best things you can do. It’s not only light-to-moderate exercise, which is good for your health, it’s absolutely free. If you turn off your lights before you leave as well as other energy-sucking devices (like your computer or your television) you will definitely save money. In fact, if you save 1000-Watt hours while you walk, that’s a saving of $.15 or so and is pretty easy to do. If you do this routinely, you could see your energy bill drop by about five dollars a month.
4. Read a book
When you’re ready to relax at the end of the day, read a book instead of turning on the television or computer. Books can be very entertaining and even teach you important stuff. You can also get them free at your local library. Plus, they don’t require any energy to operate.
5. Open your windows
The only time when it really makes sense for most people to use their furnaces or air conditioners is during the evening in the winter and the hottest days of summer. If you can tolerate a slight variation of temperature at night during the summer, just open your windows and turn off your climate control. This can mean a huge reduction in your energy bill.
6. Clean your pantry
If you’re like us, you probably have a pantry filled with items you purchased for some specific recipe that then got pushed to the back of your pantry where you’ve completely forgotten about them. If you give your pantry a good cleaning, you will be able to see everything you have there. You may throw some of it away or be able to use other items as the foundation for future recipes in the coming weeks.
7. Make a meal plan
Another excellent way to save money is to make a meal plan for the next week and then create your grocery list based on it. This is actually fairly easy to do. Just make a grid that has seven rows – one for each day of the week – and three columns – for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then, go through the items you have on hand and those that are on sale in your favorite supermarket and figure out some recipes using those things. Write the meals into your meal plan, then in the next column write down the things you will need to buy to do those meals. You’ll have your grocery list for the week! Then here comes the second important part – be sure to stick to it when you’re at the store and avoid all impulse purchases.
If you’d like more information about creating a meal plan, just watch this short video.
8. Your bills
Once a year or so, make copies of the most recent version of your monthly bills. Then walk step-by-step through them. Do you understand all of your charges? Do you think that each of them is necessary? If you answer either question with a “no,” then you need to call customer service. Ask to have anything on your bill removed that you don’t want or need
This might surprise you, but you should really talk to your neighbors. Try to get to know them at least a little bit. This will pay off time and time again. If you know your neighbor and need a special kind of wrench you can just ask to borrow it instead of buying it at a hardware store. You say you need a bit of sugar or a hand with something? Knowing a neighbor can stop you from throwing money at those little purchases that can add up over