In these difficult economic times, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs. AARP offers these 10 quick tips to help you save money throughout the year.
1. Save big on your home energy costs. Want to lower your home energy costs by 10 percent or more? Turn down your thermostat, use appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines during non-peak hours, unplug appliances when not in use, and use ceiling fans instead of A/C.
2. Drop extra line services from your home phone.
Extra services on your home phone, such as call waiting, can each cost around $50 per year. Review services you're signed up for and drop any that you don't need on a regular basis.
3. Use a cell phone with prepaid minutes.
Why pay for hundreds of dollars for cell phone minutes you're not using? With pre-paid cell phones, you pay only for the minutes you use, saving you valuable dollars every month.
4. Use a "basic" cell phone plan with limited minutes.
Scaling back from a cell phone plan with loads of minutes (and bells and whistles that you don't find necessary) to a basic plan with limited minutes can save you $20 to $30 per month. You'll keep the peace of mind your cell phone provides you, especially in case of emergency, but won't pay for what you're not using.
5. Downsize from premium to basic cable.
Premium channels can run over $80 per month. By scaling back to basic cable, you still receive a variety of channels, while saving $20 to $40 monthly.
6. Keep your car tires inflated and your engine tuned.
Studies show that simply keeping your tires properly inflated and your engine tuned can save you over $100 per year in fuel.
7. Use public transportation or carpool to save on gas.
By relying on public transportation rather than your car or by carpooling, you might save a tank of gas per month (approximately $40) and help the environment at the same time!
8. Cut out one restaurant meal per week.
Consider cooking one extra meal per week rather than dining out, and you could save anywhere from $40 to $100 per month.
9. Make your daily coffee at home.
Specialty coffees can run between $2 and $5 per drink. Save a bundle by replacing your weekday latte with homemade coffee.
10. Use coupons at the grocery store.
Coupons save you up to 20 percent off your grocery bill. So if you spend $200 to $400 per month, using coupons could save $40 to $80. Consider signing up for a grocery store club card to save even more.
Try these tips and start saving! The next step is to establish a budget and see how your savings help you stick to it. For more ideas on savings and help with budgets, visit www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving.