Money is tight for most people these days. And if you’re looking to start saving, here’s a short list to help you get started.

  1. Unplug everything not in use and turn your TV off (Cool Down Your Electric Bill) – You’ll save electricity by keeping things not in use unplugged. And when you keep your TV off, you’ll limit exposure to tempting ads.
  2. Sign up for free customer rewards programs. Whether or not you shop there often, you’ll eventually earn yourself some coupons and discounts with a rewards card. Easy way to organize – create an email account just for these offers. Next time you’re getting ready to go to the store, check this account for any coupons or rewards.
  3. Hide your credit cards. Leave your cards in a safe place – and not your wallet. It’ll be easier to tell yourself no when you want to make an impulse purchase and help improve your credit. Carry only the cash you need and a small amount for an emergency until you have enough willpower to tell yourself no.
  4. Follow the “thirty day rule.” When you’re deciding whether or not to make a purchase, wait thirty days and ask yourself again if you still want to buy it. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll change your mind and the impulse to buy has passed. After thirty days, maybe you’ll forget you even wanted it.
  5. Write a shopping list – and stick to it. You should never go into a store without an idea of what you plan on buying. Especially when it comes to groceries, you should make a list of everything you plan to buy. Even small impulse buys can start to rack up at the register.
  6. Make your own gifts. Give family and friends homemade gifts like bread, cookies, candles or soap.  These make great gifts especially since they have your homemade touch. Plus, you save money on buying something at the store.
  7. Invite friends over instead of going out. It’s almost always cheaper to stay in rather than go out. Host a dinner party or a barbeque. Maybe even play a charades afterwards. You’ll all have a great time, you’ll save money on food and drinks and your friends will likely reciprocate in the future.
  8. Don’t spend big bucks entertaining your kids. Little kids can be entertained very easily. Find fun things to do at home, like playing a game. It really won’t matter much what you do, your kids really just want to spend time with you.
  9. Drink more water. Water has great health and financial benefits. Drinking a glass of water before dinner will help improve your digestion and you’ll feel fuller, faster. So, in addition to saving your waistline, you’ll be saving money too.
  10. Mend damaged clothes. Don’t throw out clothes just because of a missing button or a small hole. You can easily sew on a new button with some closely matched thread. And those pants with a small hole – save them for doing yard work and other household chores.
  11. Ask your credit company for a rate reduction. Call your credit card companies and ask them for an interest rate reduction. Tell them that if they’re not able to lower it, you’ll be transferring your balance to another bank. If you’re told no, ask to talk to a supervisor. Depending on your balance, even a small decrease could save you hundreds each year.
  12. De-clutter. Clear out your closet and garage and get rid of anything you don’t use anymore.  Have a garage sale, donate them for a tax deduction, or take them to a consignment shop. It’ll clear your mind and house, plus, you’ll turn old, unused items into cash.
  13. Do a price comparison. You probably shop at the same store when it comes to things like groceries and everyday household items. Does your store offer the best prices? Find out by shopping the competition and keeping track of the same 10 to 20 items. Eventually, you’ll discover where the best deals are – make that your regular store.
  14. Cancel unused memberships. If you’re paying dues at a club that you rarely or never use, then it’s time to cancel them. If you end up missing that membership, you can always renew it later.
  15. Learn from your mistakes. When you make a mistake, think about what happened and understand how to overcome repeating that mistake in the future. Say you bought snacks at work because you didn’t eat breakfast. Then, next time, be sure to have something things available that you can just grab on your way out the door.

Most importantly – remember to keep at it and know you’re not alone. There are several others out there working to overcome debt, and there’s lots of information out there on personal finance. So, stop your local library or visit some financial blogs, and find more tips and inspiration to help you keep working at it.