Five Simple Ways to Save Money in 2012

I’m very excited to be teaming up with nine amazing bloggers to help you live better in 2012! We’re helping you save money, redecorate on a dime, get organized for less, make the most of your photos, occupy your preschoolers and much much more! 

Don’t forget to download the free 5 Simple Ways ebook which is a compilation of our Simple Ways posts from 2011.

I actually had a difficult time writing this article, because saving money is really very simple.

Spend less than you make.

I realize this can be tough for people, especially when you don’t make a lot of money. So if you have more month at the end of the money try these simple tips to save money in 2012.

Buy Used

From cars to clothing you can almost always get a better deal when you buy used. When we lived in Maryland we furnished almost our entire house with furniture we bought off  CraigsList.

Look for thrift stores and consignment shops to purchase clothing and accessories. Once the warm weather reappears check your local garage sale listings. You can find everything from camping gear to baby toys at yard sales, and the prices usually close to 90% off the original price.

Do Your Research

Just because it is on sale doesn’t mean it is a good deal.

Use a price book when grocery shopping to compare prices so you can stock up when the items are truly on sale. A fifty cent off coupon isn’t a great deal if a competing product routinely sells for a $1 less.

When buying a car use Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds to research car values in your area. The price of cars varies significantly based on location and type of car. Just because you uncle in Wichita paid a certain price for a SUV doesn’t mean you will find a similar deal in Boston.

Even when it comes to banking, cable, insurance, and memberships make sure you evaluate them every year and compare with competing companies to make sure you are paying a reasonable price. It might even be cheaper to pay an early termination fee than to continue paying a premium for certain services.

Sign Up For Loyalty and Rewards Programs

Honestly, I think loyalty cards are a pain, and I don’t really like the fact that they are collecting all sorts of information. But, I use them. Because I like getting an extra discount.

Grocery Store Loyalty Programs

Many stores offer addition discounts when you sign up for their loyalty program. These loyalty cards combined with coupons can add up to big savings at the supermarket.

Gas Station Cards

I’m not talking about gas credit cards, these cards work just like the grocery store cards. When you fill up your tank you swipe your card and earn freebies, sometimes even discounted gas!

Hotel Rewards

My husband traveled extensively for work over the past three years. While his travel was paid for my his work, he was allowed to collect the points from the hotel loyalty program. He made a point to stay in the same hotel chain on the majority of his trips. The benefit- our family hasn’t paid for a hotel stay at that chain for almost three years! If you have to travel you mind as well be rewarded for it!

Airline Miles

I realize redeeming airline miles is about as easy as catching a greased pig, but if you try to fly the same airline when you travel you’ll end up with the miles. If you don’t have enough for a flight you can use those miles to purchase items you can give as gifts.

Disclaimer: Don’t pay a premium just because you have a loyalty card. It isn’t a good deal if you are paying twice as much! 

Use Coupons

Jenny is covering this topic in depth, but you really can save money using coupons. I’m not talking about extreme couponing, but rather strategic shopping to save more money.

Even if most of the items you buy are generic or in bulk, you can always score cheap paper products, toiletries, and snacks. Jenny says she’ll never pay for a tube of toothpaste again!

I don’t buy a lot of packaged food, but I watch the sale and use coupons to stock up on snack food for soccer games and on toiletries to fill our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Get Organized

  • Have you ever paid a late fee because you lost a bill?
  • Have you ever bought food you thought you needed (and not on sale) only to later find the same item buried in the back of your pantry?
  • Have you thrown out leftovers because you forgot to eat them?
  • Have your kids lost pieces to expensive toys making them unusable?
  • Have you lost battery covers, gears, parts, remotes, headphones and had to replace them?

Being disorganized is expensive! If you remove clutter from your life and create strategies to get things done you’ll find not only do you save money, you’ll be saving time as well. For help getting organized follow my Organized in 365 series to help you simplify and organize one day at a time.

Don’t miss out on these other 5 Simple Ways posts!

photo credit: 401K

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  1. Thanks for the great tips. I often buy used items, and craigslist is my best friend for that. However, I admit that I need to get more organized. I’m the person that buys something at the grocery store that I ended up not needing.
    I’ve started a blog that follows my journey to become better organized and more self-sufficient. I love reading your posts, thanks!

  2. Thank you for the great tips. This is my year to be down right determined to get more time, more money, more control and more enjoyment out of my life and that of my family. I love all the bloggers and their ideas. It is with great enthusiam that I will share these ideas with those I love. I love craigslist for buying things for the household. I am a thrifter from way back when it was not cool. I am always on hunt for saving money, and these tips sure will make that happen. Thanks again. Deb from Ohio

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