If you are like most people, you could probably use an extra thousand dollars from time to time. Fortunately, learning how to save money is easy. I love saving money and have discovered some great ways to do it over the years. Below are some of the quickest and easiest ways to save a thousand dollars right now.
1. How to Save Money on Insurance
If you aren’t properly insured, get insurance. One unfortunate event can easily wipe out your life savings.
If you already have insurance, make sure you aren’t overpaying for it, like many people do. Rates can vary drastically between insurers. I remember as a college student how astonished I was when I was able to save about $300 or $400 a year just by obtaining multiple quotes from different auto insurance providers.
Shopping around for insurance is a smart thing to do a couple of times a year since rates change all the time and vary by insurer. I recommend getting quotes from a number of different companies to make sure you are getting the best deal you can. This could easily save you close to a thousand dollars a year by itself.
- Life insurance
- Auto insurance
- Disability insurance
- Health insurance
- Long term care insurance
- Umbrella insurance
- Homeowners insurance
2. How to Save Money on Every Purchase
All together, you could probably be earning up to 30% cash back on many of the purchases you are already making, which adds up quickly and decreases the cost of every purchase you make. You may also be able to save thousands of dollars each year on vacation and travel expenses by taking advantage of credit card sign on bonuses.
3. How to Save Money on Your Mortgage
Refinance your mortgage to take advantage of today’s low rates if it makes sense for you to do so. Some people are able to save as much as $500 a month on their mortgage payment by refinancing to a lower interest rate. I’m in the process of doing this myself.
4. How to Save Money at the Bank
Use banks that will respect you and won’t nickel and dime (if only fees were that low) your every move. Use checking accounts, savings accounts, and money market accounts that are FDIC insured, will pay you a decent return on your money and that charge no maintenance fees, minimum balance fees, or other dumb fees.
5. Save Money by Getting out of debt
Get out of debt and put thousands of dollars a year in your pocket that would otherwise go to credit card companies in the form of interest and fees.
6. Save Money by Improving your Credit Score
Improving your credit can easily save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime since you will likely qualify for better insurance rates and better interest rates on your mortgage and any other debt you may have. You can check your credit report for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. However, to see your actual FICO score (the credit score used by most financial institutions), you will have to pay a small fee.
7. How to Save Money on all Your Monthly Bills
Use BillCutterz to help you reduce your bills. Billcutterz negotiates discounts with your providers to lower your bills and then they split the savings with you. If they can’t lower your bills, there is no charge to you, so there is no downside to using their services.
8. How to Save Money on Entertainment and Dining
- Never pay full price for entertainment or when dining out. Instead, get great deals at sites such as Restaurant.com, Groupon or LivingSocial . I especially love Restaurant.com, since you can buy a $25 restaurant gift card for $10 or less.
- Don’t go out at all. Instead, read a good book, eat in, play a game, or some other inexpensive form of entertainment.
- Rather than buying music, listen to music for free on (legal) websites such as Pandora. These sites are generally free since they give you ads to listen to every few songs. Amazon offers songs for about a buck if you ever want to buy a few songs without having to buy an entire cd.
9. How to Save Money When Investing
- Use a low cost brokerage account or IRA rather than paying for one with expensive fees
- Learn how to invest. This can easily save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime by avoiding the mistakes that many investors make.
- Invest in no-load mutual funds with low expense ratios, such as ETFs and index funds. Funds with higher expenses will likely lower your overall return and can make a big difference over the long term.
10. How to Save Money on Property Taxes
Challenge your property tax assessment if appropriate. I do this pretty much every year. It generally takes me 30-40 minutes and I end up saving at least $200 – $300 a year on my property taxes, if not more.
I simply look at homes similar to mine on Zillow that have sold recently, fill out a form citing a few examples where the values were lowest, propose a new value for property tax purposes, and then submit the form to the county. They have always accepted my proposed adjustment. Each county may do this a little differently, but it is worth looking into.
11. Save Money by Lowering Your Tax Bill
Taxes are the largest expense many people will pay during their lifetimes. Simple tax planning can help many people lower their tax bill and save hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year in taxes.
Additional Tips on How to Save Money
For additional tips on how to save money, you might try the following books:
- Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times: 250+ Ways to Buy Smarter, Spend Smarter, and Save Money
- The Complete Tightwad Gazette
- Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things: 2,317 Ways to Save Money and Time
- Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less
- The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less