As the saying goes “A penny saved is a penny earned.”   If you were able to save $50, $100, $500 a month by incorporating a few changes into your life how would you spend this extra cash?  Maybe by reducing credit card debt?  How about putting it towards your child’s college fund?  Or possibly saving for a dream vacation or better yet putting into your retirement account?  We would like to offer a few suggestions that could help set you on the path towards saving more and spending less.

Eat at home more often: Cooking at home can be relaxing, enjoyable and often much healthier!  Involve other family members win the planning and preparing of the meals.

Pack your lunch a few days a week: You can pack left-overs, frozen meals, or your standard turkey or PB&J sandwich.  Whatever you pack, rest assured it is cutting your lunch bill in half!

Buy used versus new when you can: This goes for books, cars, and even clothing when possible.  Everyone knows that a new car looses value the minute it is driven off the car lot.  The same is true for most other items.  Check out auto auctions for older model cars, visit the library book sale and stock up on books, and shop eBay or your local second hand shop for gently used clothing and toys.

Always shop with a list: Take a few minutes before heading out to the store and look through the weekly sale ads.  Make a list of what is on sale and plan out your meals accordingly.  If you want to take it a step further there are hundreds of websites which track store specials and help you match them up with other paper and web coupons for even greater savings.  The average family of 4 spends about $250/week on groceries.  Set a goal and stick to it and you could find yourself saving a ton.

Be mindful of fees and interest rates: Try to consolidate debt and find the lowest interest rates available.  This may take some additional time but can save you big in the long run.  Always pay your bills on time to avoid costly late fees.  Also, shop around for banks that offer free checking…no use paying for it if you can get it for free

Consider dropping services you don’t really need/use: If you can get by without cable by using website like Hulu to view your favorite shows and Netllix or Redbox to view movies you could potentially save a bundle.  If you already have long distance on your cell phone consider dropping your home phone down to just basic service.  This allows you to make emergency calls and have internet access without costly long distance packages.  Maybe you have a gym membership that you barley use that you can cancel and take classes at the local community center or just hit the sidewalk instead.

Conserve: Remember to turn off all lights when you leave the room and consider switching to CFL lights when possible.  Monitor your water usage when showering, watering the lawn and doing other household tasks.  All of these ideas are good for your pocket and for the environment.

If something’s broken, give a fair shot at repairing it yourself before replacing it or calling a repairman: Ask a friend who is handy for help with fixing broken toys, appliances, and even clothing.  You can also go on the internet to research how to repair the item.

Scour your local community calendar or parks and recreation guide: Most communities have a multitude of free or low-cost cultural events like plays and art shows.  They also may offer classes for adults and children.

Fix your drinking problem: Try drinking water or tea instead of soda.  This is both healthier and a great way to save money.  Additionally, make an effort to brew your coffee at home.  Even if you splurge for a better quality home brew you are saving big time over what the coffee houses charge.