10 Ways to Spend Less

If you're not sure where to cut costs, here are some ideas.

1. EAT OUT LESS Bring your lunch to work two or three times a week instead of going out every day. Cutting out a $10 lunch three times a week could save you $1,000 or more over the course of a year. Also, cooking dinner at home more often rather than eating out or ordering in, plus cutting back on nonessential food when you shop, can help save you $100s a year.
2. PASS ON THAT EXTRA CUP OF COFFEE Enjoy your coffee or tea? That's fine; however, if you drink two or more cups a day during the business week, consider replacing one cup with a glass of water. At about $3 for a cup of coffee, over 52 weeks you could save nearly $800.
3. BRING YOUR SODA TO WORK Drink soda or juice? Buy these in bulk at the supermarket and bring a can or bottle to work with you instead of buying them each day from a deli or vending machine. At $1 a day, you could save about $200 a year.
4. GET A TAX BREAK ON HEALTH CARE If your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account, you can set aside money before taxes to pay for qualified health care expenses. You will end up paying less by using pretax money. The savings can be substantial based on your health care expenses.
5. DRIVE LESS Consider carpooling or using public transportation once or twice a week to reduce driving costs. Also, consolidate trips so you take your car out once for a round of errands rather than doing each separately. You may save $100s a year.
6. USE YOUR BANK'S ATM While it's convenient to go to the closest ATM when you need cash, ATM fees from a bank that's not your own can add up – many charge $3 per transaction or more. If you stop using ATMs other than your bank's just once a week, you could save at least $156 a year.
7. USE CREDIT CARDS WISELY Choose cards that have no annual fee, and transfer balances from higher interest rate credit cards to those with lower interest rates (be sure to check for any transfer fees first). Also, consider cards with rewards programs that fit your lifestyle – some give higher rebates for gas purchases or points you can use toward items you would otherwise purchase.
8. PAY YOUR BILLS AUTOMATICALLY Using your bank or a bill-paying service to pay your monthly bills automatically can save you potential late fees as well as postage.
9. SAVE ON ENERGY Making your home more energy efficient will save you money. In addition to turning off lights when you're not in a room, you can save on your gas or electric bill by using a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature of your home when you're away.
10. CUT YOUR WATER BILL You can reduce your water bill by washing your car and watering your lawn less often and turning off the tap when you're not using it.
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