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When it comes to spending money, you and I are creatures of habit. It is so easy to fall into thoughtless routines regarding where we shop, the clothes we buy, the meals we make for our families, and even the services we use. And in the process we miss out on effective ways to save money.
For example, when I was a kid my dad always filled up his gas tank at the same gas station, even when the station across the street ran lower prices. This wasn’t just an act of loyalty—I don’t think my dad even gave any thought to whether the prices across the street could have been cheaper.
Why do we do this? Routine is easy. When we get settled into our ways, so to speak, we become blind to new and better ways. Even when we look to make changes, we subconsciously think, “Oh, but I won’t change THAT!”
Over the years, I’ve found myself engaging in these kind of limiting logical gymnastics many times when brainstorming ways to save money. You’ve probably done it, too. The reality is that you and I often overlook countless ways to save money because it is easier to stick to our routines.
If you’re ready to challenge your usual behaviors and explore commonly overlooked ways to save money, read on.
Get Cash Back For Your Usual Shopping
Based upon conversations I’ve had with countless friends and family members, failing to earn cash back on your normal spending every day spending is probably one of the most commonly overlooked ways to save money. Again, the reason traces back to routine.
The reality is that everyone shops for groceries, clothes, and other household essentials several times each month. If you’re not using the popular cash back and savings apps below, you’re missing out on free money for absolutely no reason.
Here are the top five savings and cash backs app I recommend to everyone:
Ibotta – Ibotta is my favorite cash back app for grocery purchases. Each month, it helps me and my wife save a significant chunk of change on groceries, beer, clothing, toiletries, and much more. Ibotta is always expanding its partnerships with retailers to save you money, and thanks to recent updates to the app, it has never been easier to use.
You can get started with Ibotta today and receive a $10 welcome bonus using this link. Want to earn even more money? Sign-up and receive $5 for each friend you receive!
Ebates – Similar to Ibotta but focused more on retailers, Ebates is another great way to earn cash back on your normal spending. You can earn cash back by making purchases through Ebates at stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s, Amazon, and more. Want to earn $50? Sign-up for Ebates and then refer two of your friends to sign-up using your own referral link.Click here to sign-up with Ebates.
TopCashBack – If you’re a super-saver looking for even more ways to save on your usual purchases, check out TopCashBack. Over 6 million users worldwide use the app to complete their normal purchases, and TopCashBack passes on a portion of the commissions it receives back to you in the form of cash back.
With Swagbucks, you have options. You can redeem your cash back and earnings in the form of gift cards or cash via PayPal.Click here to sign-up for Swagbucks.
Review Your Insurance Policies
When was the last time you reviewed your insurance policies with your agent or got a quote from another provider? Chances are pretty high that you’re overpaying for your home, renters, and auto insurance if you haven’t checked up on your policies. In this case, 15 minutes really could be all the time it takes to save money!
Depending upon your situation and claims history, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars on your annual insurance expenses just by making a simple phone call or filling out on an online form.
I recommend getting a quick, no obligation quote on auto insurance with Esurance, as I’ve seen several readers and friends recently save a bundle with them. It’s always smart to check out multiple offers, so it can’t hurt to give Allstate a chance to beat your current rates and save you money. Your local independent agent may be able to help, too.
Unplugging Phantom Power Draining Devices
How many electronic devices are plugged in and using power in your home even when you’re not using them? TVs, computers, mobile phone chargers, and other devices all continue to use power even when you’re not actively using them.
You can beat this trend and save money on your electric bills -up to $100 per year according this article from HowStuffWorks– when you stop these phantom power draining devices by unplugging them. Or you can invest $10 and purchase an energy saving power strip like this one.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Most consumers, myself included, often wonder whether it’s really worth it to upgrade your old incandescent or CLF light bulbs to LED light bulbs. According to CNET, here are the facts you should know:
If you used a bulb for just two hours a day and paid the national average of 11.5 cents per kilowatt hour, a single 12-watt LED will cost you about $1 per year. Comparable CFLs that consume about 14 watts come to $1.17 per year and about $5 a year for 60-watt incandescents in that scenario.
When you consider that the average LED bulb has a projected lifespan of 50,000 hours, or 5.7 years, it’s clear that upgrading to LED bulbs is one of several ways to save money around the house.
If you’re looking to find affordable deals on LED bulbs, I recommend reviewing prices on Amazon.
Adjust Your Thermostat By a Few Degrees
Chances are you already have a smart or programmable thermostat such as the Nest, Ecobee3, Sensi, or a more traditional model from Honeywell. The simple premise behind these devices is that you can save money by reducing the energy use of your heating and cooling systems when you are away from home or asleep.
When used correctly, an energy saving thermostat can save you anywhere from 10-30% on your annual energy bills. Even in our house, my wife and I save around 10% on our energy bills despite cranking the AC during the fiercely hot Chicagoland summers.
One of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, tells a joke in one of his Netflix specials and compares his feelings of shock to the feeling of finding out that he is still paying for AOL after all these years. While it made me laugh, I couldn’t help but be reminded that wasted services are essentially robbing people of their hard-earned money.
A tool that has helped me and my wife eliminate our unused subscriptions without any effort on our part is called Trim. Here’s how it works:
When you sign-up for Trim, the service will analyze all of your recurring spending and alert you to the subscription based services you currently use. You can then ask Trim to cancel your subscription on your behalf, which saves you time and money!
Trim is still a relatively new kid on the personal finance scene, but it has already helped users save over $8,000,000 just by spending a few minutes reviewing their subscriptions. It’s fast, secure, and one of the most simple ways to save money available today.You can read more about Trim and sign-up using this link.
The above suggestions can help you save money if you’re willing to implement them and make changes now. Pick out a few of the suggestions and implement them today!