Twenty Tips (and Secrets!) for Improving Your Spending Habits

With National Financial Literacy Month in full swing, here are twenty tips and a few secrets that everyone should know to improve their spending habits. Give them a try and see how your finances improve!

  1. Say “NO” to ATM fees. Some ATMs charge you $3 to pull out money, and on top of that your bank charges you another $3 for transferring the money. You just lost your favorite Starbucks drink—or, if you want to be smart, that’s $6 you could start saving!
  2. Don’t always dine out. Instead, take the time to eat a home-cooked meal.  Not only are you saving on the cost of the actual meal, but you’re also saving on tip and gas money. Plus it’s (usually) healthier!
  3. Check your savings and checking accounts to be sure you are not paying fees. There are many different banks and types of accounts that are free of charge. If you are paying fees, talk to a banker about your options.
  4. Compare your current credit card interest rate to other offers to ensure you aren’t overpaying.
  5. Look for lower premiums on your auto insurance policy.
  6. Rent things that you only use once in awhile, like jet skis, bicycles, camping gear, snowboards, etc.
  7. Skip the movie theater. Wait for the DVD.
  8. Always book your flight at least twenty-one days in advance for the cheapest fare. (Hint: Flights are almost always cheapest on Tuesdays and Wednesdays!)
  9. Avoid extended warranties offered by stores. The manufacturer’s warranty is usually enough.
  10. Cancel the movie and sport channels you rarely watch.
  11. Instead of turning on the heater every time the weather drops a few degrees (especially for those of you in warm climates like Los Angeles!), put some warmer clothes on and bundle up.
  12. Avoid paying for insurance on rental cars. Most auto insurance plans already cover you.
  13. Stay away from playing the Lotto.
  14. Have a piggy bank for your spare change and trade it in for cash at a bank. (Avoid Coinstar—the bank does it for free!)
  15. After you find an item you like at a store or in a mall, write down the name brand, item number, model, and other info, then look for it on Craigslist and eBay.
  16. For other items such as electronics or other things you may not want to buy used or for things that are not available on secondary websites, show some restraint. Keep yourself from buying something until you see it five times. This way you’ll know you want it and won’t impulse buy.
  17. Don’t become emotionally attached to physical things. For example, many people are emotionally attached to the newest iPhone, so the day the iPhone 5 comes out, they pay a pretty penny even though they have a perfectly good iPhone 4S sitting at home.
  18. No need to have multiple memberships at clubs or gyms.
  19. Shop at warehouse retailers like Costco and Walmart for everyday household items as well as many big ticket items like appliances and electronics. But always compare prices across multiple stores for pricier items—there are always new sales!
  20. Cut down on going to the cleaners. Don’t take suits and dress clothes to the cleaners every time you wear them and always look at care tags when purchasing new clothes. Stay away from tags that say “DRY CLEAN ONLY.”

By implementing these small, simple steps, you’ll be amazed at how much money you can save.

Do you have any other easy tips to help save money and improve spending habits? Tweet us and use #FLM2013


  1. Stephen on April 18, 2013

    In conjunction with the suggestion to make fewer visits to the dry cleaners, it may make sense to invest in items that help you take care of such things yourself, like clothes steamers. Not only will you be able to prolong the time between trips to the dry cleaners, you will make your clothes last longer and look better while still maintaining a professional appearance.

  2. Gina Marie Nixon on April 18, 2013

    Go to Foodmaxx or Walmart where you can price match your grocery items.

  3. Anonymous on May 2, 2013

    This website is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!


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