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Part 1: 15 Quick and Easy Ways to Save

Suffering from savings fatigue? Here’s a quick fix.

I’ve put together a list of things you can do in 15 minutes or less to save thousands of dollars every year. Follow these and you’ll be on your way to reaching your goals.

1. FEE-FREE CHECKING

In a recent survey reported by CNN, only 38% of big banks offered free checking. The number jumps to 72% for credit unions. If you’re paying an account maintenance fee, consider opening a checking account with an online bank, such as Capital One Bank.  Formerly ING Direct, there are no fees and no minimums with this bank. Even better, you can get a $50 bonus by opening your account using my referral link.

2. CUT YEARS OFF YOUR MORTGAGE

Switch from making monthly payments to making bi-weekly payments and shave years off a 30-year loan. See how much you can save by plugging in your numbers to Bankrate.com’s handy calculator. Do not pay an outside company to start bi-weekly payments for you. I called my bank and they were happy to do it for free.

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3. SIGN UP FOR MINT.COM

Even if you don’t want to make a budget, Mint.com can help you track your income and expenses. Just enter your bank account information and Mint.com provides easy-to-use charts to show you where your money is going. It also keeps tabs of my home’s value using data from Zillow, which I find very useful.

RELATED: HOW I SAVED 47% OF MY INCOME

4. LOWER YOUR AUTO INSURANCE

Call your insurance provider and ask them for any and all discounts available. I recently called my insurer and got a break just by updating my estimated annual mileage. If your insurance provider won’t play ball, shop around.

RELATED: THE OTHER WAY TO SAVE 15% ON CAR INSURANCE

5. DITCH YOUR CELL PHONE CONTRACT

Money expert Clark Howard says a price war in the wireless industry can save you $1,200 a year. I recently dumped my $110 a month Verizon bill for a no-contract carrier, Republic Wireless. Read my review, here. I get unlimited talk, text and data for $25 a month.

6. CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET

Spring is the perfect time of year to take a few minutes to clean out your closet. Gather the cold weather clothing you no longer want and take it to Goodwill. Not only will it free up space in your closet, you’ll get a tax break. Download the ItsDeductible app to maximize your deduction.

RELATED: 3 APPS TO SAVE ON THE GO

7. PROGRAM YOUR THERMOSTAT

It only takes a few minutes to program your thermostat around your schedule. According to Energy.gov, you can save 5 to 15% on your energy bill by adjusting the thermostat to a less-desirable temperature when you’re asleep or at work.

8. TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR FRIDGE

About 30% of all food in the United States is thrown away, according to estimates. Open your fridge and throw out anything that’s gone bad. Are you buying too much food? Are you buying the wrong types of food? Adjust your shopping list so you don’t throw as much food in the garbage.

RELATED: CASH BACK APP FOR GROCERY SHOPPING

9 . UNSUBSCRIBE

Ever wonder why you get so much junk e-mail? It’s because those solicitations work. We fall for them. If you have a Gmail account, click on the Promotions tab. Set the timer for 15 minutes and unsubscribe from as many mailing lists as you can. In addition to reducing temptation, you’ll also spend less time emptying your inbox.

RELATED: 4 STEPS TO REIN IN YOUR SPENDING

Want more? Read part two of my Quick Fixes series!

Do you have a quick, easy and painless way to save? Share it below. Follow me on Twitter @MichaelSaves.

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