Top 5 Ways to Save $100 This Month!

August 15, 2013
By Annie Cromwell, America Saves Communications Associate

You have probably heard it before, “it takes three weeks to form a habit.” While we're half way through the month, today is a great day to begin savings habits that will last a lifetime! Try these five tips and see how you can save at least $100 in the next four weeks!

 

1. Grocery Shop Smart. According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they purchase. The cost estimate for the average family of four is $1,365-$2,275 annually. That is between $114 and $190 a month! Save money on your groceries by shopping and cooking smart.

  • Learn the average shelf life of your groceries. If you notice that something you buy frequently doesn’t last, consider an alternative (i.e. frozen/canned vegetables vs. fresh).
  • Be aware of your label dates! Check expiration dates before you put food in the fridge.
  • Don’t purchase an item in bulk unless you’re sure you’ll consume it before it spoils.
  • Don’t chop up your fruits and vegetables until you need them (they’ll last longer).
  • Freeze food that you might not need now to prolong freshness.
  • Promptly throw out spoiling food, because the ethylene that over-ripe food produces will speed up the ripening process of your other foods.

2. Stop buying clothes! According to a study conducted by Bureau of Economic Analysis, we spend on average $121 on clothes each month. Regardless of the number of things in our wardrobes with tags still on we find the need to buy more. Use these tips to cut the amount you spend on clothes:

  • Make a list of items you need, and do not deviate from that list.
  • Look for sales on the items you need.
  • Look for coupons!
  • Shop the classics, not trends. Trendy clothing can go out of style.

3. Save money on transportation. Americans shell out a lot for luxury and convenience. According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, we spend $106 on transportation every month. And with gas prices in a constant state of flux, maybe it’s time to swap the gas card for a bus pass.

  • If you must own a car, consider buying used rather than new.
  • Shop around for car insurance and prices on gas.
  • Use public transportation.

4. Find free/cheap activities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average American spent $2,504 on entertainment in 2010. That’s approximately $208 a month! We’ve mentioned taking advantage of free activities during the summer. But what happens when it’s too rainy for free, outdoor movie night, or too cold to venture out for a stroll in the park?

  • Check out this list of 68 mostly free ways to entertain yourself at home.
  • Plan a potluck, book club or game night with friends.
  • Instead of going out for date night, stay in and cook a romantic dinner for two.
  • Watch all of those DVD’s that you bought but never opened the packaging on, or keep an eye out for dollar movie nights at your local theater.

5. Manage your energy usage at home. According to an article by Home Energy Saver, Americans spend above $241 billion on their home energy bills, which is roughly $2,100 per house!Everyone wants to make their home as comfortable as possible, but consider these things before you shell out more money.

  • Turn the AC down! According to the Department of Energy, you can save 5 percent to 15 percent on your air-conditioning bills by raising the temperature setting on your thermostat when you're away and don't need cooling. Or about 3% on your bill for every degree that you set back your thermostat.
  • Plug electronics into a power strip, and when you don’t need them, turn the strip off.
  • Use cold water on your laundry and consider air drying your clothes.
  • Use curtains to help retain heat or block out the sun throughout the year.

And always, set a goal, make a plan and save automatically. Even if you’ve cut out all unnecessary expenses, make a plan to set aside a certain amount every month for when you need it the most. And if you need help saving, you can sign up to have helpful tips and reminders about your savings goal sent straight to your phone from America Saves: http://ow.ly/mZhae

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