Budget And Saving: Can You Save More Money?

Looking for ways to locate more cash for savings in your budget? Here are a few tips that lead you to hidden treasure.

Saving money can become an addiction. Sometimes it seems like the more we save, the more we want to save. If that's true for you, here are a few ideas for finding more money to save from the regular budget.

1. Make do or do without. When you're ready to buy the next pair of sneakers for everyday wear, see if you can hold out until next month, which may be just days away. If you've budgeted $25 a month for family shoes, and no one has used it this month, waiting for next month means you can use this month's $25 for savings. Do the same with other budgeted needs. If you can put off buying a replacement until the following month, you can put the unused money in a savings account.

2. Postpone replacing household items. For example, if you run out of shampoo, try liquid dish soap (NOT the kind intended for dishwasher appliances, which can damage your skin). If you run out of bathroom cleaner, use baking soda. While you don't want to do this indefinitely, delaying the next purchase will mean staying ahead of the budget and placing that money in savings.

3. Tone down gift-giving. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars each year on birthday and holiday gifts, give the homemade kind. Fresh-baked gingerbread tied in plastic and ribbon makes a tasty and inexpensive present. Use your special skills to create an ingenious gift. For example, if you are good at computer work, offer to create a Web page for someone as a gift. If you can write, author a short story about a friend or family member and frame it as your holiday offering. Your gifts will cost a fraction of their usual rates, providing more savings over the course of the year.

4. Get a telephone card. If you don't have a good long distance program with your telephone service, get an inexpensive telephone card for making long distance calls. Some are priced at just two or three cents a minute, which can save you hundreds of dollars a year over the usual cell phone rates or billings at conventional ten cents a minute for out-of-state calls. Get the best possible pricing for both cell and land phone lines.

5. Check your home and auto insurance rates. Ask your insurance carriers if you are eligible for premium discounts. Age, marital status, education level, vehicle depreciation, and other factors can make a difference in how much you pay each month for auto and home insurance. If you are able to discount your premiums, place the saved funds into your savings account.

6. Ride the bus. If you live in an area with reliable and safe public transportation, you can take advantage of it to get to destinations that would cost more in automobile fuel to get you there. Especially if you make a routine trip to a dentist, for example, whose office is across town, you can save a chunk of change by taking the bus or carpooling with others (not to the dentist) to save gas money.

These are just some of the caches where you may be able to find hidden money. Putting unused funds into a savings account is a great idea, but you also can use your newfound money for a vacation or other monetary goal. Start shopping and start saving today!

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