May 15, 2018

10 Sneaky ways to save more money each month

Are you paying for things, like gym memberships or smartphone apps that you don’t use anymore? Justin Howell, co-founder and CEO of Rize, a saving and investing app, suggests cleaning house. “ and TrueBill help you find your subscriptions and eliminate the ones you don’t use,” he says. “This could potentially save you some big bucks this year.

With monthly subscriptions, memberships or other ongoing commitments, like software or apps you pay for every month, that you want to keep, Bobbi Rebell CFP® and host of the Financial Grownup podcast suggest that there may be an opportunity to negotiate a better rate. “[If] companies know you like the service and if all it takes is the right price to lure you back, that is worth the effort for them,” she says. She also suggests letting the subscription lapse, if you can, as the company may offer you some great deals to woo you back.

You may look for coupons and cashback opportunities as you shop online, but have you tried negotiating by a site's chat function? Michael Wheeler, who teaches a negotiations course for Harvard Business School’s digital learning initiative, HBX, says that you can sometimes score a lower price by doing so. “Start by asking for a discount in plain, clear language," he says. If you get a no, be persistent, and ask again in a friendly tone. You might be (happily) surprised at the result.

Amazon is known for its great prices, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the lowest price every time you check out. Exercising a little patience can ensure that you’re getting the best deal Amazon has to offer. David Mercer founder of SME Pals, a blog dedicated to helping people turn their business ideas into profitable startups, suggests using a price tracker, like “Amazon has many thousands of sellers behind the scenes who change their prices all the time as they compete with each other,” he says. “Combine hourly tracking with Amazon coupons, if available, to squeeze the very lowest prices out of Amazon on a regular basis.”

Gabriella Santaniello, founder of A-Line Partners, an independent retail research firm, uses Price Alert for Amazon. “If the price of my desired item decreases in price, they send a price alert email,” she says. “Now that many designers have Amazon shops, this trick applies just as much to apparel as it does to household goods.” If you have other favorite retailers, Santaniello also recommends signing up for their email lists, joining rewards programs, and downloading its app for discounts and exclusive bonuses.

Liz Eischen of the Kitchen Table Finances blog, has saved a bundle using the Ibotta app, which offers its users rewards for shopping with retailers like Target, PetSmart, and “Ibotta has helped me save money by being more mindful of what I am purchasing,” Eischen says. “I take a few minutes before shopping to explore the current offers on Ibotta and identify items I can earn cash back on. These savings go directly into a savings account.

You can save a couple thousand dollars a year by bringing your lunch to work, according to Janette Pavini, savings expert for “The average deli meat and cheese sandwich, a bag of chips, a cookie, and iced tea costs around $11.50 a day. That is close to $3,000 a year! By making a nearly identical lunch at home, you would spend around $700.” She also says that planning your weekly menu around what’s on sale at the grocery store could save you at least 35 percent off your bill. Also, remember to join your grocery store's loyalty program, use coupons, and ask for a rain check if a sale item is out of stock so you can get the sale price when it’s available.

Curbside pickup and grocery delivery may seem like a luxury, but it can actually save you money and precious time. “By having the groceries come to you or by picking them up curbside at the store, you avoid the impulse purchases that can easily add 20 percent or more to your grocery bill,” says Kimberly Foss, CFP®, and bestselling author of Wealthy by Design: A 5-Step Plan for Financial Security. “In addition to the money you’ll save, the time you gain may be the biggest savings of all.”

Avoid overpaying for your prescriptions. Joe Sanginiti, CEO of FamilyWize, a prescription savings program, suggests opting for generic drugs over brand name. “Generics are equally effective and cost much less,” he says. “According to the FDA, the average cost of a generic drug is 80-85 percent lower than its brand name counterpart.” He also suggests shopping around, as prices may vary between pharmaciES