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Part 2: 15 Quick and Easy Ways to Save

Special welcome to visitors from ClarkHoward.com!

This is part two of my Quick Fixes series. If you haven’t read part one, click here. I put together these posts because I know you’re passionate about saving money, but you want results– now. I was able to pay off my $86,000 mortgage in 2 years by setting a series of short-term goals as I worked towards the big one.

So let’s begin with part two of my Quick Fixes. Which one of these can you get started on today?

1. BOOST YOUR CREDIT CARD REWARDS

In 2011, I earned nearly $3,000 in credit card rewards thanks to sign-up bonuses and maximizing the best cash back and travel offers.  If you pay off your card every month, you can capitalize on credit card rewards. I have a card that pays 2% back on everything, plus I also use a couple of cards with revolving 5% cash back categories. That saves me on groceries, gas and restaurants– depending on the time of year.  There’s an app called Wallaby that can help sort out which card is best for you.

RELATED: 3 APPS TO SAVE ON THE GO

2. CUT OFF SUPERFICIAL FRIENDS

Do you hang out with materialistic people who you feel like you need to impress? Ask yourself why. In the past, there have been people who’ve judged me because I choose not to keep up with the Joneses. I’ve stopped hanging out with most of those people because my values don’t align with theirs. I believe in spending money to create experiences and make memories, not simply to fill my closet with stuff.

RELATED: 4 STEPS TO REIN IN YOUR SPENDING

3. HAGGLE JUST A LITTLE

Last month I cut my wireless internet bill by $20 a month just by asking for a discount. In a previous post, I explained exactly what I said to get the discount. Service providers are competing for your business.  That means they’ll more than likely be willing to cut you a break if you’ve shown loyalty.

RELATED: SECRETS TO NEGOTIATING LOWER BILLS BY PHONE

4. TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR MEDICINE CABINET

As I’ve explained before, I’m not a huge fan of couponing. I’ll do it once in a while, usually to buy health and beauty products.  My strategy for saving on these products is to wait for them to go on sale.  To make sure I never run out of things such as deodorant, toothpaste or shampoo — I take inventory of my personal care items once a month. If done correctly, I’m never running ‘low’ on anything, but I can usually tell when I have less than a month’s supply of something. That’s when I make a list and start keeping an eye out for sales.

RELATED: HOW I SAVED 47% OF MY INCOME

5. PLAN YOUR MEALS

When I plan my meals for the week, I avoid convenience foods. It’s just that simple. Start with the weekly circular and build out your meals from there. Don’t forget about lunch. At work, I find it’s easy to go along with everyone else and take a trip to the food court. Just remind yourself that planning meals will save you money and calories.

RELATED: 9 WAYS TO SAVE ON GROCERIES

6. OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT

After following these tips, you’ll have a lot of extra money. Make sure you have a place for it to go. I use Capital One Bank, which used to be ING Direct. No fees. No minimums. No bank is paying a lot of interest these days, but at least this bank’s rates are competitive. You can get a $25 sign-up bonus by using my referral link.

RELATED: REMEMBER WHEN? 5% INTEREST ON SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

Do you have a quick, easy and painless way to save? Share it below.

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