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How to Save More Without Earning More

Raises may be a rare occasion during these days of employer belt-tightening, and when they do come along they're likely to disappoint. Stagnant paychecks don't have to imply savings-as-usual — there's a tangible way to save money without earning more!

Scott Burns of MSN Money calls it the "Power of Attentive Spending," but I just call it a good idea. When you hold a magnifying glass to your spending there's no doubt you'll discover places where you can find better deals and spend less. Consumer Reports' August issue is confident we can save $500 each month by reviewing these six expenses: car insurance, life insurance, food shopping, phone costs, bank fees, credit card bills.

Even if you can't find $500 within your expenses that can be turned into money saved, a lesser amount would still have a positive impact on your savings. However you manage to cut your bills and save the money instead, Burns suggests you think of the amount you save over one year as after-tax income. So, if your salary is $50,000 and you find $6,000 by using your power of attentive spending, that's a not-too-shabby, after-tax, 12 percent gain.


meechie meechie 8 years
Disreagard my previous post Its sounds like you are doing everything you could possibly do.
meechie meechie 8 years
CONGRATS Bellaressa two things that I eliminated to pay off my cc.'s were a land line and cable. I rent movies from red box, buy cheap movies and watch tv at my bf's house. The cell phone works out good because I usually only use it during off peak hrs which helps me save minutes for calls that have to be made during the day.
4peachMoney 4peachMoney 8 years
Look out! You might have money around your house! If you've got excess stuff, have a yard sale or put an ad in the classifieds. Take old books to a used bookstore--they pay cash for certain things. Donate excess stuff to charity and get a tax write-off. Also see if you can make money from a hobby--I'm into crocheting, painting, and gardening, and I've been offered money for it. I'm gonna do it anyway; might as well get paid.
dcfashionista dcfashionista 9 years
I cut off my cable and house phone since I have two cell phones. I also have basic cable for free and rent movies from blockbuster and the red box. On Mondays and Wednesdays the movies are free with codes.
gemsera gemsera 9 years
Ya know, sometimes there just isnt ANOTHER CENT to find. atm I have £65 a week for food, smokes (i dont smoke alot so dont get on your highhorse), and going out money. The rest is bills and rent. there just is not another dime. *sigh* congrats bellaressa, hopefully i too can say I am free of debt :)
graduatedsqueaks graduatedsqueaks 9 years
Are you living on your own? If you're renting, you can either look for a cheaper place or get roommates. Having roommates helps lower the costs of other expenses besides rent (utilities, cable/internet). And I guess if your folks are willing, and live nearby, you could move in with them (pay them a bit of rent) with the intent of moving out after a certain time (that seems to be the trend anyway). I know this is a bit of a cliched response, but living in an apartment that is half the cost of what a lot of my friend are paying (because the rent is lower and I'm rooming with 3 friends) has really helped me to build up my emergency fund and put more money toward my debts.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
Congrats bellaressa!!! Can we trade places? ;)
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Hey Savvy, I don't have any luxuries: no cable or cell phone plan. I have a pay as you go cell phone and I only use that for work when I travel. I put $50.00 on it in Jan and I still have $34 left. I don't really know how to cut more money but I think I will take a look at my budget more closely and try to trim more fat.
Smart-Living Smart-Living 9 years
Bellaressa, that's great news! You should be proud of yourself. As for cutting down even more on your expenses when you're already so responsible, I'd take a look at everything you spend money on, not just food. Do you have a cable bill that can be reduced? Cell phone plan?
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Congratulations, Bellaressa! :cheer:
deanna024 deanna024 9 years
Funny, I read an article in Money magazine a few months ago that claimed people could save more money by cutting costs for large purchases (home, vacations, cars) than some of these everyday items. They had some pretty convincing math to back that up. And let's be honest, how can we really cut our food bills when the price of everything has gone up at the stores? We buy roughly the same things we did 3 years ago (including all store brand stuff), and now, we pay at least $20 more a week (and we don't even live in a big metro area like NYC).
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
see i don't know if i'd be able to reduce my spending by $500 a month - but i do know that i could make some impact. i've often called my car insurance people to see what i could do to bring the cost down, and in order to maintain the min coverage - i have to pay what i do. it's hard - if i wanted BASIC cable - sure - i could cut back on that bill and if i wanted a normal phone instead of my iPhone - i would save on the data fees - but some things i've learned are somewhat helpful and have become necessities - so it would be hard to adjust.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Thanks TW but that is why I busted my butt paying of my cc debt. Last year I was unemployed and I deferred my student loans and I start back in Oct. So, techincally the money I was spending for my cc debt will be going to the student loan debt.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
bellaressa: well all the money you were spending on your credit card debts you can now just put on the medical debt on top of what you were already paying for that. ((p.s. congratulations!)) I am not sure of your grocery list, but I can't offer anythying more than the usuals: coupons, items on sale, generic foods when appropriate - that type of thing. Maybe put your savings in an high interest account? (i use ING).
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Thanks for posting this Savvy but I have a question. After the month of August – I won’t have any credit card debt. Did I say that out loud? The only thing I will be paying for is on my medical debt – which I hope to double up on and my student loan payments. I don’t have a car or car insurance. I have a small life insurance claim through my job, I am sure I need more but right now that is not feasible since it’s just me. Does anyone know (Savvy included), how I can cut down more on my expensive. I do not eat out, cook every night, and take my breakfast, lunch, and snacks everyday.
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