Posted on | July 1, 2013 | 11 Comments
Amid one of the worst economic climates this generation has ever seen, Americans are faced with the challenges of higher costs of living and having to save more while making less.
This has been the case for several years now. Based on recent statistics, Americans are fighting a losing battle; with the majority having less than $25,000 in retirement savings, and with CNN stating that 28% of Americans have no savings at all. So what are some ways the financially conscious can cut the fat and increase their bank accounts?
One way that continues to spread like wildfire is couponing.
But in 2013, that skill has moved away from your mother’s kitchen table and is now more interactive and streamlined. Sites like Coupon Suzy offer the beginning couponer strategies for best use of coupons and organizing yourself to the point of being honored as a “professional couponer.” The number of sites that allow shoppers to sign up and enter their location and customize coupon searches of the stores in the area are growing. Sites like Valpak, Groupon and Living Social have also extended the coupon concept to local restaurants, attractions and even vacations.
Gone are the days of shoppers randomly purchasing goods without a second thought as to getting the best deal. In today’s market, consumers not only expect, but often demand deals on products knowing they have options for purchase elsewhere.
Shopping around is not just for the bargain hunter anymore, it’s a way of life. Online shopping sites such as Amazon and eBay have made it unnecessary to pay more than needed. Online garage sale sites such as Craiglist offer a great alternative for those who don’t mind purchasing second-hand items. And when purchasing online, buyers are looking to save even more by taking advantage of free-shipping sites.
In addition to couponing and shopping around Americans are saving money but cutting back on the luxury of life. Instead of going to visit Grandma Jo for Christmas, families are opting for “staycations.” These are low-budget, in-town alternatives to pricey vacations.
* Women are opting to do their own hair and nails as opposed to expensive salon services.
* Instead of purchasing a $3 cup of coffee, brew at home.
* Consider packing your lunch for work instead of buying your lunch every day.
* If you are enjoying a meal out, opt for water instead of the standard $4 beverage.
* Many families are canceling their monthly cable subscription, which can run upwards of $100, depending on your package, for free online services such as Hulu, or less expensive options such as Netflix.
Cutting on household budgeting energy costs is another area where Americans can experience savings.
When purchasing new appliances, choosing the more energy-efficient models may cost a little more upfront, but the long-run savings will be worth it. Also, select washer and dryers with a larger capacity to reduce your number of laundry loads.
Setting your thermostat to the manufacturers’ suggested settings will save you nearly $200 per year. Making sure that all the lights are turned off before you leave home is sure to save you a couple of bucks as well.
These are just a few of the hundreds of ways to save money in tough times. America Saves offers some additional suggestions. Of course, whatever money-saving technique you choose to use, the success of it will depend on your commitment and discipline.
Whatever strategy you use, it is always best to begin your savings program with a breakdown of where your money is going so you’ll better know where you’ll be able to save.