You Can Put $500 In YOUR Pocket This Year

Would you like to save an extra $500 this year? Well, you can. You won't have to go out of your way to investigate investments options, and you won't have to give up your guilty pleasures. However, you will have to think about how you are spending and what your values really are.

To start saving easily, try some of these money-saving tips. See how much you can save each year by choosing those tips that would be easiest for you to follow.While you are thinking about what you can save, think about how you can invest that money in an IRA or CD, or other credit union savings and investment accounts. Now add on the interest!

Let's look at some ways to save:

Grocery Shopping
Don't be caught up in the name brand game. Shop smarter by comparing prices of items, price-per-pound or by other unit prices on the shelf labels. If you save $.05 on every item you buy in your shopping cart, and you buy 50 items each week, that's $2.50 a week. In 52 weeks, you've saved approximately $130.00.

Coupon Shopping
If on 5 of those 50 items, you save $.50, that's another $2.50 saved on that shopping cart. Which means in 52 weeks, another $130.00! That's a good start.

Your Phone Bill

Do you have optional services you don't really need or use? Many options cost between $3.00 and $4.00 a month. At that rate dropping one option could save you $40 or more each year.
Do you have a separate phone line for your computer? Do you really need call waiting on it? 
What about long distance? Dropping call waiting on your computer line could save you another $40.00 a year. You have e-mail, so you don't need to make long distance calls on your computer line. Remember, that $4.95+ long distance charge has to be paid whether or not you make any long distance calls. Getting rid of that little option can save you at least $60.00 more a year. (Remember you also pay taxes each month on those services!)

Home Energy
Ask your electric utility about home energy savers like load management and off-hour rate programs. These programs can save you up to $100 a year in electricity costs.

Gasoline
Save hundreds of dollars a year by pumping gas yourself and using the lowest-octane called for in your owner's manual. Let's calculate. If you use 30 gallons of gas a week, that's 1560 gallons a year. If you save $.05 a gallon by pumping your own gas, that's about $80.00 a year. If you use the lowest octane, that could save you another $.08 a gallon. Calculating again, that's, approximately, another $150.00 a year saved.Automobile experts also tell us that you can save up to $100 a year on gas by keeping your engine tuned and your tires inflated to their proper pressure.

Shall we see how much you can save if you tried these everyday saving choices?

Grocery Shopping $260.00
Phone: Drop An Option 40.00
     Drop Computer Line Long Distance 60.00
     Drop Computer Call Waiting 36.00
Electricity 100.00
Gasoline: Self-Service Pump 80.00
     Lowest Octane 150.00
     Keeping Engine Tuned/Tires Inflated 100.00
Total Possible Savings $826.00

So, do you think you can find $500 in that list for you to save?Take a minute to calculate the interest on that money invested! If you open an IRA for $500 at 3.45% APR that computes to an annual yield after one year of $17.50. At the end of two years, you've earned $35.61, without any work (the joy of compounding!). Or invest in an Educational IRA for your children or U.S. Savings Bonds.

Having Fun?
Now, think about other ways you and your family can cut costs, based on your family's lifestyle. Have a family discussion and try to come up with some options. 

Early shows at the movie theater? How much will that save?
Coupons for video rentals? Any savings there? 
What about taking advantage of coupons for that Friday family pizza party! 

Saving doesn't mean living less; it means living better in the long haul! Not a bad lesson for that younger generation to learn, today!

Good luck! You're on your way!