Want a heap of extra cash? (Need we ask?) These quick ideas add up to a major payday.
By Kate Ashford
Through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save service, get stuff you know you need (such as diapers and toilet paper) monthly at a discount and save at least $40 per year.
Going for the fish in the freezer case—rather than at the seafood counter—lops up to 40 percent off the price, making a cod fillet as much as $3.20 cheaper per pound. If your family of four eats fish once per week, you pocket almost $125 annually!
DIY alternatives–most can be made from a combo of baking soda, white vinegar, hand soap, lemon juice and tea tree oil–will save $40 a year.
A study by Consumer Reports says you can save 15 percent to 30 percent on groceries by filling your cart with store-brand alternatives, which come with a money-back guarantee. Making the switch can save your family as much as $1,176 this year.
The Automatic device ($100,automatic.com) corresponds with an app to critique your driving. It gives tips to cut your gas bill by a third. If you typically spend $3,000, you’ll pocket $900 the first year.
Recent research makes this familiar tip worth repeating: According to a survey by Accounting Principals, a financial recruiting company, two thirds of workers spend an average of $37 per week on lunch. Brown-bag it and, with raw ingredients adding up to half of what takeout does, you’ll save $962.
For the next 12 months, give up ordering soft drinks whenever you eat out. Ask for water instead. If you make this soda swap just once a week, you’ll rack up $104 in savings in a year.
Don’t put a 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner! Reducing wasted heat can save $36 on an electric range or $18 on gas annually.
Most people know that a whole chicken costs a lot less than boneless skinless parts, but buying bone-in parts can still mean big savings: about $613 a year per family.
Putting your membership on hold usually incurs a small fee–sometimes as little as $10 per month–compared with $55 a month for the membership. Come June, July and August, instead of sweating indoors, hike and bike alfresco to save $135.
These clinics, found at pharmacy chains, can diagnose nonserious ailments. A visit runs you $79 less than one to a doctor’s office. Use two such facilities a year and save $158.
You’ll knock 3 percent off your heating costs. That’s $20 annually for a home heated with natural gas, $27 a year if you use electricity.
Restaurant.com sells discounted gift certificates to more than 18,000 restaurants nationwide; we recently saw many $25 vouchers going for as little as $10. Take the family on four $40 outings this year and you’ll slice $60 off your budget for eating away from home.
Move your retirement funds to a broker with the lowest expenses. People ages 33 to 44 have an average of $157,000 stashed for post-work living. Migrate from a firm charging 1.11 percent to one charging 0.19 percent and save $1,444 a year.
Many coffee chains, including Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagels, give a 10-cents-a-cup discount for bringing your own container. Do it three times a week and save $15 per year.
Compost doubles the use you get from a bag of fortified soil. Your county extension service may give compost away free. Annual savings: $25 if you typically buy 10 bags of topsoil that cost $5 each.
It’ll cover such items as co-pays, coinsurance and prescription drugs, using pretax money. If you typically spend $1,000 or more on regular medical expenses each year and you’re in the 25 percent tax bracket, you’ll save at least $250.
Fuel prices can vary by 37 cents per gallon within a zip code. Apps such asGasBuddy find the cheapest spot to fill up weekly. With a 16-gallon tank, in a year you’ll save $308.
Why pay a bunch every time you need only a bit of basil or parsley? One plant will cost you about as much as buying a few sprigs at the grocery store, but it will last all summer—and maybe all winter, if you freeze some homemade pesto.Annual savings: $10.
The average monthly bite is $5.48, so going to a fee-free bank (Ally, say) or credit union (Alliant) saves you $66 each year.
Choose one that raises and lowers the temperature at preset times to save $180 per year.
Prescription costs differ from pharmacy to pharmacy. Prices for Metformin, a diabetes drug, can vary by as much as $37 for a one-month supply. Go to the cheapest pharmacy to save $444 a year.
In as little as four hours of online classes (see idrivesafely.com) you could lop 10 percent off your auto premiums. Those average around $791, so you could save $79 this year.
Like to nest? Many insurance companies give discounts for low-usage cars (driven fewer than 7,500 to 15,000 miles per year). Nab 10 percent off and save $79.
Ditch Your Cable
Replace it with Netflix or Hulu Plus streaming service ($8 per month each). The average cable bill is $62 a month, <strong>so cutting the cord saves $648 annually.
The WhatsApp and Google Hangoutsmobile-messaging apps let you communicate via your data network or Wi-Fi. The savings are worth it. Sprint, for example, charges $20 per month for unlimited texting–which means you could sock away $240 per year.
It will cut your energy bill, since 90 percent of the power used is for heating water. Annual savings: $40 for an electric water heater or $30 for a gas water heater.
Signing up seems prudent—your debit card won’t be declined if you’re short on funds. But it also runs up an average $31 charge. Dodge just two fees in a year and you’ll save $62.
If you spend $100 each month to commute on mass transit and are in the 25 percent tax bracket, you’ll save at least $300 per year.
Being fit and healthy can pay off. Expect $40 to $1,000 back on your health insurance premiums if you get a physical and meet certain targets, such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The number of employers who offered this incentive almost doubled in the last four years alone. Annual savings: $40.
Use the website to connect to U.K. landlines for $4 (for 400 minutes) per month, compared with $10 for monthly international cell-phone plans. Annual savings: at least $72.
Need immediate help for a non-life-threatening medical issue? Urgent-care centers charge less than emergency rooms. Average savings based on average costs, according to Consumer Reports: $280.
Switch to Energy Star lights in the five fixtures you use most, and save $70 a year.
Nationwide could cut your bill by as much as 20 percent if you bundle car and homeowners insurance. Because Americans spend, on average, $1,700 annually on those expenses, that adds up to $340 in savings.