This question came from Mary in New York:
Q: I’m trying really hard to save extra money. What do you suggest?
A: It is the little things in life that we do that can make the biggest difference:
1. Save your spare change in a large container. This is something all family members can contribute to. At the end of the day, have everyone put their spare change from the transactions of the day into the container. Allow the change to fill the entire container and then deposit it into a savings account. If you have a large enough container, you can save anywhere between $300 and $800 (depending on the different types of coins) within one year.
2. Many banking/financial institutions offer a free service that allows you to round up your purchases on a debit card (from your checking account) and deposit that rounded up amount into a savings account. For a brief time period, your bank/financial institution will match your savings and deposit that into your account. Depending on the amount of debit transactions that you do per month, this savings could possibly add up to over $300 per year.
3. Compare your cellular phone bill over several months. If you do not use the amount of minutes that you purchase, contact the provider and lower the amount of minutes on your plan. This could equate to a savings over $20 to $30 dollars or more per month.
4. Turn ceiling fans off when not at home and when you leave a room. If you run a ceiling fan twenty-four hours a day for the entire month it will cost you approximately $10.89. That would cost you $130.68 per year. If you run the ceiling fan for eight hours a day/31 days per month (basically while you sleep at night) it will only cost you $3.63 per month. This is a savings of $7.26 per month and $87.12 per year.
5. Coupons. It used to be a thing of the past, but it’s back! There are several websites that offer free coupons that you can print from your computer. You can also pick up the Sunday newspaper and clip the coupons from that. Just be aware that just because there is a coupon for the item, if you do not normally use that item, do not purchase it without comparing it to the brand that you usually buy. If there is a savings, then try the new item with the coupon. Many supermarkets also offer “buy one – get one free” items on certain days, so make sure to check out their fliers to know which days the offers are available.