Lifestyle Money

You probably know saving money is a smart financial move. But how can you spend less and save more without sacrificing your quality of life?

The answer is to save in small ways that might take some time to research and creativity to plan, but don't demand that you give up what you enjoy.

Pay off or refinance debt. If you carry a balance on one or more credit cards, you're paying interest every month. If you pay off the debt, you won't pay another penny, giving you more money for savings or to spend on other things. Refinancing high-interest debt into a more affordable personal loan can save you money and help you pay it off even faster.

Track your expenses. Tracking all your expenditures, no matter how small, can help you analyze how much you’re really spending and stop purchasing products and services you don't need, want or even use. Review your credit card and bank statements for clues.

Take advantage of discounts. See a movie Sunday morning instead of Saturday night. Purchase festival or faire tickets online in advance. Check out free movies, concerts, and other events and entertainment in your local community.

Cut food waste. If you hate broccoli, buying it because it’s healthy only to throw it out when it rots isn’t worth the money. Shop for groceries several times a week and buy smaller quantities of perishable foods to reduce waste. Make a list of what you need before you leave home to shop.

Shop around for medications. Saving $10 a month on one prescription adds up to $120 at the end of the year. Consider generic and store-brand drugs, which can help you save even more.

Shop at thrift stores. Good-quality clothing, furniture and other items can be bought at second-hand shops for a fraction of the cost of new. Pass on the fads and buy classics that will last and be in style for many years.

Shop online. Buying products from reputable websites can save you money and help you avoid impulse spending. Before you buy, research large and small purchases, read the online shop’s return policies and consider shipping costs.

Turn off your TV. A typical big-screen consumes a lot of electricity, which costs you money every month. To save, turn off the set when you leave the room or no one is watching it. Review your cable, satellite and streaming TV services and cancel any you don't watch very often.

Quit smoking. Giving up unhealthy habits can help you live longer, cut your medical costs and stop your money from figuratively going up in smoke.

Cut back on Christmas. Many people live frugally throughout the year only to over-indulge during the holidays. Potlucks instead of restaurants, modest but thoughtful gifts and homemade decorations instead of store-bought ones can save you money without killing your holiday spirit.

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