Saving methods aren’t limited to clipping coupons and scouring online deals. Try one of these unique ways to cut back on spending to grow your savings account quickly.
1. Clear Out Your Pantry
Rather than asking yourself what you want to eat for dinner, limit yourself to indulging in only what’s in your pantry and refrigerator. Take a box of rice, the zucchini that’s been in your crisper for a week and that piece of frozen chicken you’ve been meaning to use, and voilà — you’ve got yourself a homemade stir-fry.
Not only will this save you money, but it will also make you more creative in the kitchen. To spice things up, turn it into a game with friends and have an only-what’s-in-the-pantry potluck.
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2. Go on a Spending Fast
Coined by Anna Newell Jones of AndThenWeSaved.com, the phrase “spending fast” is exactly what it sounds like: refraining from spending money. Unlike the conventional fast, which typically involves dieting and borderline starvation, a spending fast will allow you to bulk up quite a bit in savings.
The idea is to completely stop spending money on wants and luxuries and only spend on needs like rent, food, transportation costs, medicine etc. Through her own spending fast, Jones paid off close to $24,000 in debt in only 15 months.
3. Lower Your Thermostat
Save money on your energy bill by installing a programmable thermostat, which allows you to reset your thermostat when you’re asleep or away from home. You can save as much as 10 percent on your heating bill simply by turning your thermostat back seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day, according to energy.gov.
Infographic: This Winter’s Effect on Energy Costs
4. Join the Freecycle Movement
The Freecycling movement has been around for more than a decade now, and it’s the act of giving away your stuff instead of throwing it away. It’s a huge money saver; the idea is that you’re not spending money on things you don’t need. Instead, you’re recycling (or freecycling) them.
To get started, you can check out one of the many freecycling organizations out there — The Freecycle Network, FreeSharing and FreeUse — and see if there are meetings in your area.
5. Consider Your Friends Family
Who said cell phone family plans were just for family? If you have roommates or friends who are looking to save, too, set up a family plan together. Put it this way: Depending on the provider, a one-person smartphone plan with 2 GB of data costs around $100 a month. Add three more people to the family plan, and the cellphone bill comes to around $250 a month — about $63 a person, yielding $37 in monthly savings.
Sarah Kaufman was the editor-in-chief of The Manilla Folder at Manilla.com.
Photo credit: 401(K) 2012