Sometimes it’s hard to let go of your hard-earned cash. But saving money doesn’t have to mean merely dumping a set amount of money into your savings account each week. Follow the top five unique ways to save money and put yourself on a path to a fatter wallet.
5 Combine Cell Phone Plans
Look at your call log list. Most likely, you talk to—or text—the exact same people on a daily basis. Why not all be on the same plan? By tacking yourself onto grandma’s cell plan or going in with your significant other, you can cut several massive bills down into one smaller bill. Work it out so that everyone automatically deposits money into the bill payer’s account every month or take turns paying; you pay this month, she pays next month. You’ll just have to pay attention to your usage. Once several people jump on a plan, you can quickly go over your data, minutes or texting, racking up costly overage fees.
4 Share Your Internet
Internet service costs a fortune, but it really is a necessity. Odds are, every single one of your neighbors has wireless internet, so why not share? You’ve probably noticed that whole list of wifi names when you try to get online. Visit the couple next door and offer to pay half of their internet cost if they give you that super secret login code. That way, you’ll both have some extra gas and grocery money left over at the end of the month.
3 Take From the More Fortunate
It’s not OK to go out and steal, but some people in affluent neighborhoods have so much stuff, they don’t know what to do with it. Take a drive through that town a few miles down the road, where everyone has a three-car garage and a six-figure salary. On trash days, you may come across antique chairs, barely scratched end tables, fancy dishes and other knickknacks considered to be trash to the uber wealthy—but like new to you. If you’re simply too proud to dumpster-dive, read through the newspaper and hit up the garage sales in the rich neighborhood. You may find top-of-the-line stuff for next to nothing.
2 Double Up on Events
Maybe you and your close friend recently announced engagements. Or your next-door neighbor has a son who’s the same age as your kid. Rather than having two separate parties, join forces and have one big blowout. By combining funds with another family, you’ll both be able to save—one cake, one hall rental, one set of invitations. You get the picture. Get together, draw up a party plan and figure out exactly how much each family is willing to spend. Just be careful not to go over budget; you don’t want to force the other side to have to shell out more dough.
1 Pay in Cash
Handing the credit or debit card to the cashier is mindless—you won’t even see the missing funds right away. When you pay with cash, though, you may find it surprisingly difficult to fork over those Benjamins. You may start consciously adding up costs as you shop and skipping those delicious—but costly—appetizers at the restaurant. Every time you get coins back, toss them into a jar at home. Turn that loose change into a once-a-month date night, tank of gas or a little extra payment on your mortgage. Or save coins for an entire year and use them to help pay for a vacation. It really is like free money.