BBB Takes Part in America Saves Week

February 25, 2013

February 25 – March 2, 2013 is America Saves Week. It’s an annual opportunity for organizations, like the Better Business Bureau, to promote good savings behavior. It is also a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status and “Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically.”

America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Studies reveal that having a savings plan with specific goals can have beneficial financial effects, even for lower-income families. Here are 10 ways to Save $100 during America Saves Week:

1. Track Your Spending, and Make a Budget. Understanding where your money is going is the best way to start saving, which is why your first step is to make a budget. Once you make your budget and realize how much you’re spending in certain categories, you can immediately save $100 by cutting costs here and there.

2. Pack Your Lunch. One of the keys to saving is developing long-term habits – such as bringing your own lunch to work instead of eating out. If you’re worried you don’t have time, cook something on Sunday and put it in individual Tupperware containers.

3. Check If You’re Being Over-Serviced. It’s easy to “set it and forget it,” paying the same bills every month. Take a look at your regular services – are you using all of your cell phone minutes? Do you have more coverage than you need on your car insurance? Are you utilizing any extra cable channels you pay for? If your answer is no to any of these, call your provider, and change your plan.

4. Negotiate Your Bills. If you’re not paying a promotional rate for services like cable and Internet, you’re paying too much. Call your service provider, and ask if they can lower your bill. If they don’t automatically say yes, suggest that you’re going to find another provider. Be patient, nice, and firm, and you may get a better rate.

5. Vow to Reuse, Repair, and Repurpose Instead of Buying New. Every time you think about buying something new, ask yourself – do you really need it, or can you make do with something you already have or that you can borrow from a friend?

6. Get to Know Your Credit Card. Visit your credit card company’s website and read the fine print. Many credit cards offer free benefits that are not well publicized. These benefits may include extended warranties, free tickets, price drop protection, extra discounts, concierge services, and cash giveaways. Of course, you should not use a credit card at all if you carry a balance every month. If you can’t control your spending, consider switching to a cash-only system.

7. Change Your Living Situation. If you have extra space in your house, try renting out a room, either permanently or to travelers using a service like Airbnb. Or, if you live alone, it might be time to get a roommate.

8. Clean Out Your Pantry. Empty your cabinets, see what you have, and plan meals around the ingredients you want to use up. You’ll slash your next grocery bill, and you’ll help ensure that food doesn’t go stale.

9. Create a “Cheap Fun Club” With Friends. Instead of going out, invite your friends to share in frugal activities, such as potlucks, watching movies at home, and board game nights.

10. Sell Your Stuff. Take the time to declutter your house and sell your extra stuff. Not only can you make money getting rid of your old items, but you might also discover other useful things you had forgotten you had.