How to Increase Your Savings (Without Changing Your Lifestyle)

save more without changing your lifestyleShort of winning the lottery or landing a Wall Street-sized bonus, can you end up with more money every month (to save or to spend) without giving up the small luxuries that make life so much more enjoyable?

Sure you can. It’ll take some time and effort, but there’s money to be found if you look for it.  Try these simple, low-impact financial tips to keep more of your hard-earned money.

Shop around for services.
Home insurance, auto insurance, gym membership, Internet, cable, cell phone . . . take a closer look at any product or service you use on a regular basis, pay for monthly, or can find a comparable option from some other source.

Competition provides consumers with leverage. Are you sure you’re getting the best combination of price and options on your mobile plan? Chances are, you can shop around and find a better deal. And even if you don’t want to change agents or providers, having another quote in hand is a good way to negotiate a rate decrease or discount with your current source.

Look at what you’re using — and what you’re not using.
If you have a monthly gym membership but only go twice a month, would you be better off trying a different, lower-cost option? For example, some gyms allow customers to pay an entrance fee — rather than opting into a recurring plan.

Or you could investigate free options. Some companies offer employees complementary memberships to a specific gym or a wellness bonus that can be used to help defer plan costs. Many apartments and neighborhood associations have workout facilities that are covered by rent or dues.  And most cities have trails for walking and biking that are completely free to use.

Do some additional research to find out what other options exist. The same goes for cable, unlimited talk cell phones, Internet access, and anything you can be paying for but not using much.

When it really doesn’t matter, go generic.
Many store brand food items taste just as good — if not better — than grocery items from more expensive national brands. In a recent Consumer Reports taste-test, 33 of 57 store brand items were judged by expert tasters as good as or better than a national brand.

Plus they’re a whole lot cheaper. Store brands typically cost between 15 and 30 percent less than national the big national brands. Find out for yourself by completing your own taste-tests.

Shop savvy.
If you enjoy shopping, you can get the same thrill shopping a flea market or yard sale as you would the mall.

Enjoy online shopping? Try Craig’s List or Amazon’s marketplace sellers! You’ll save money and still get that shopping rush from sniffing out a great deal.

Trade lower utility for higher value.
If you’re paying more for a home, car, clothes, anything that’s not making you happy, consider trading down so you have more money for what you really want — whatever that may be.

Set up automatic payroll withdrawals for a rainy day fund.
You won’t feel the difference every month, but when you get a chunk of change deposited into your account, you’ll have it for something that’s important to you.

It’s easy to feel stuck in your lifestyle.  And our consumer culture certainly makes other people’s lives seem so attractive. But take a minute to ask yourself what you really want — and see if you don’t already have the means to make at least some of it happen.

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