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New Savings Habits

Erin Lowry, personal finance expert and author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together - SAVE MONEY

39. Switch to a SodaStream or Drinkmate system to get your fizzy drink fix at home. If you drink a lot of carbonated water, making your own sodas can save you big dollars. Muddle in fresh fruit or mint for natural flavoring.

40. Automate your coupons. Use browser extensions like Honey, Rakuten's Cash Back Button and TopCashback to seamlessly find coupon codes and earn cash back on your online purchases.

41. Free streaming. Check whether your phone or cable provider offers free streaming, like how Comcast offers Peacock or Verizon provides a year of Disney+. Also take advantage of free trial periods, such as Quibi for 14 days, Hulu for one month or HBO Now for a week. Apple also offers one year of Apple TV+ with the purchase of any Apple device.

animation of a dream home in the clouds

ILLUSTRATION BY TOMMY PEREZ

42. Nickname your bank accounts. Replacing each account number with a meaningful name — such as “vacation fund” or “dream home” — will remind you why you're saving and motivate you to put away more.

43. Challenge yourself to a no-spend month when you forbid any nonessential purchases. Feel like a month is too much to handle? Try declaring one day each week a “no-spend day."

44. Clean out your home for cash. Ditch the yard sale and use sites like Poshmark, Tradesy and ThredUp for selling clothes and accessories. Use eBay or Facebook Marketplace to sell furniture, trinkets and gadgets.

Easy Frugality

Courtney Richardson, attorney and founder of the Ivy Investor, an investment-education company in Philadelphia

45. Tell your favorite brands you love them. Think about products and brands that you use or purchase regularly, and send the company an email to let them know. Many provide coupons to loyal customers who reach out.

46. Get free college classes. At edx.org, you can access more than 2,500 courses from schools such as Harvard and MIT.

47. Change to LED light bulbs. The prices have dropped considerably, so there's no reason to delay any further. Not only are they better for the environment, but by replacing your home's five most frequently used bulbs, you can save some $45 per year in electricity costs.

48. Earn Starbucks rewards at home. You can receive Starbucks stars, redeemable for free drinks and treats at the coffee chain's stores, when you purchase Starbucks K-Cups, bagged coffee and ready-to-drink products at the supermarket. Enter your stars via the app or website by using the code on the package, or upload a receipt for proof of purchase.

49. Virtual change buckets. Apps like Qapital and Acorns round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and add the difference into an investment account. Users can direct those extra pennies toward a savings account. Fast Company reports that Qapital can help folks save more than $1,500 annually.

Groceries

50. Shop during the week. Retail savings app Ibotta analyzed approximately 50 million grocery receipts over three years and found that totals are highest on weekends. Their data suggests you should shop Monday for beer and ice cream, Tuesday for wine, Wednesday for produce, Thursday for cleaning products, and Friday for snacks and bread. Often, the best overall day to shop is Wednesday — and the earlier in the day, the better.

51. Pay with discounted gift cards. Websites such as Raise.com purchase new or partially used gift cards at a discount from consumers who would rather have cash, and then resell them. “I buy cards at around 10 percent off the retail value, which is free money when I use them at the grocery store,” says Chris Michaels, founder of the site FrugalReality.com.

52. Downsize your cart. A manufacturer once doubled the size of its shopping carts to see what would happen; shoppers reportedly bought 40 percent more groceries. To control your spending, opt for the smallest viable cart or basket.

53. Shop elsewhere for spices. “Many spices and ingredients that are considered ‘specialty’ at supermarkets are everyday ones — and therefore much more affordable — at Indian, Asian, Mexican or African markets,” says Jess Dang, founder of the meal planning service CookSmarts.com. Even within a grocery store, spices in the ethnic section are often cheaper than in the spice section.

54. Thaw your own seafood. Save by buying seafood from the frozen foods section instead of the fish counter; in some cases, it's the identical product and you can keep it longer.

55. Regrow veggies. Cut green onions an inch from their roots and submerge in water, and they'll regrow. Do the same with romaine lettuce, cabbage, basil, celery, onions and even pineapples, then transfer to a pot of soil once the leaves start to appear.

56. Remember the tried and true. Even in these unusual times, grocers still compete for your business, which means they announce the week's sales every Wednesday. Check flyers or websites for deep discounts, and stock up when prices are low.


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