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The Latte Factor 2: 10 New Ways to Save

Quick Tips to Cut Hundreds in Expenses

-- By Caitlin Boyle, SparkSavings Contributor

Trying to save money but don't know where to start? There are plenty of ways to cut costs without affecting your quality of life.

Disconnect the Phone

Thanks to the convenience of cell phones, landlines have become unnecessary for most of us. Disconnect your landline and save an average of $300 to $550 a year. If you don’t want to use the minutes on your cell phone, make your local or long-distance calls from a free Internet-based program such as Skype.

Pump Iron for Cheap

A fancy gym membership can easily set you back $50 a month--that's $600 a year. Consider transferring your membership to a less expensive gym, which can start at $19.99 a month. Alternatively, cancel your membership and exercise on the cheap: invest in a few workout DVDs to improve your strength; walk or run around your neighborhood for cardio; and check out SparkPeople's FREE videos for inspiration.

Ban the Bars

Who doesn’t love a granola or protein bar? But those yummy snacks can set you back a pretty penny! Eating one $1.25 bar every day adds up to $456.25 a year--in granola! Fortunately, healthy bars are easy--and inexpensive--to make at home. Try these recipes.

Pay Bills Online

Sign up for free online billing for all your utilities, and you’ll save more than $25 a year in postage alone. Plus, with automatic payments, you’ll never have to cough up the dough for another late fee.

Drink Water

Saving money can also be good for your health! Opt for free tap water at restaurants instead of a sugary soda and save $2 on your tab. If you dine out twice a week, you’ll pocket more than $208 a year--and save yourself from consuming nearly 15,600 empty calories (almost five pounds). If you skip an $8 glass of wine twice a week, you'll save $832!

Ring in the Savings

Carefully study your cell phone bill--you might be paying for the wrong plan. If you consistently go over your minutes and pay steep fees for extra talk time, upgrade to a larger plan and save money in the long run. If you don’t come close to meeting your available minutes, consider dropping down to a smaller--and less expensive--plan. Also, ask your cell provider if they offer a ‘VIP List’ promotion, which allows you to call some numbers for free.

Google for Coupon Codes

Before making an online purchase, scour online coupon sites such as Retail Me Not and Coupon Code. Save up to half off a purchase or score free shipping--without having to sign up for the website’s newsletter.

Drive Less, Save More

Walk or bike whenever possible, and group errands together to eliminate unnecessary driving. Strive to eliminate 30 miles of driving each week. If gas costs $3 a gallon and your car gets 15 miles per gallon, you’ll save $6 at the pump each week, which adds up to more than $312 a year.

Break the Online Music Addiction

It’s almost too easy to spend money on music files, but those $1.29 songs add up quickly. If you love to listen to music at your desk, check out free music sites like Pandora. Save your money for the songs you must have on your mp3 player, not this week’s passing fad.

Party on the Cheap

Any frugal guy or gal knows that you can’t spend your entire life pinching pennies--you’ve got to get out and live a little, too! But meeting up for dinner and drinks with friends can cost $30 per week… that’s more than $1,500 a year! Plan some less expensive activities with your buds each month--such as a football match at the park, breakfast at a farmers market, at-home movie nights, or even potluck dinners.

For more tips and tricks, check out this slideshow.


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Caitlin Boyle Caitlin Boyle
Caitlin Boyle writes a daily food and fitness blog, Healthy Tipping Point, which chronicles how Caitlin balances her busy lifestyle with healthy eating and exercise. She also runs Operation Beautiful, a blog that encourages women and men to replace positive notes in public places to encourage self-esteem and develop a positive body image. She is also the author of the book based on Operation Beautiful.