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How to Save Money

Learn how to save money with these handy tips.

Even spare change can add up over time to pad your savings. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Even spare change can add up over time to pad your savings.

While most of us know the importance of having savings -- for an emergency, for a child's college tuition, for retirement and more -- saving money often is not as easy as it sounds. Check out these practical tips for how to save money.

Cut Back on Everyday Purchases

Making simple lifestyle changes can mean extra savings. For example, consider quitting smoking. Cigarettes are an expensive, unnecessary expense -- not to mention a danger to one's health. Money spent on cigarettes and medical bills can accumulate quickly.

Save money by cutting back on restaurant meals and movie tickets. Buy groceries on sale and eat at home instead of at a restaurant. Take a lunch to work instead of buying lunch every day. See a movie during a movie theater's discounted show times, or borrow DVDs from the library and watch them at home instead. Since many people purchase snacks at a movie, this simple change can save quite a bit over the long run.

There are several suggestions for how to save money on clothing. First, buy clothes only when they're on sale, and buy only what‘s necessary. Purchasing gently used clothing at consignment shops instead of brand new clothes at the mall is a great way save money too.

For more ideas on how to save money, look at other unnecessary expenses, like books, magazine subscriptions, club memberships and even lottery tickets. Playing the lottery might seem like a great way to make money, but unless you're a regular big winner, save money by bypassing lottery tickets altogether. Instead of paying for books and magazines, borrow them from the local library. Also consider canceling that rarely used fitness club membership.

Reducing the gasoline consumption is another way to save money as gasoline prices climb higher every day. Find out if public transportation would be a cheaper way to travel to and from work. Not only will it save money on gas, but car maintenance expenses will be lower too.

Avoid Unnecessary Fees

Many banks charge fees for going below a minimum balance on an account, conducting transactions at certain automatic teller machines, bouncing checks and more. When it comes to unnecessary bank fees, saving money can be as simple as keeping a close eye on account balances and using a no-fee ATM.

Other ways to avoid fees are to return rented items like videos on time, and pay bills -- especially credit card bills -- well before the due date.

If you seem to collect parking tickets or traffic tickets more than the average person, you can save money simply by being a more responsible driver.

Build Savings

We've all heard that we should save money each month, yet many of us don't know how. One tip is to save just a small amount at a time. Ten dollars a months is doable for most people, and even spare change can add up over time. Put the money in a savings, checking or mutual fund account that you won't access for everyday expenses.

Save a larger amount of money by holding a garage sale each year, or even twice a year, and putting the proceeds into savings. You might be able to save hundreds or thousands of dollars each year -- not to mention create extra space around the house. Another tip is to automatically put aside any "extra" money you receive throughout the year, for example, an income tax refund, a gift or prize money.

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