5 quick and easy ways to save $1,500 per year

By Andrew Schrage

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, July 5 2012 2:51 p.m. MDT

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Twenty-five dollars may not seem like much, but if you can find five ways to shave that amount off your current expenses each month — and save a total of $125 — you'll save $1,500 in just one year.

What would you do with that money? Would you pay down debt, save for retirement or take a much-needed vacation? Regardless of what you'd do with it, you know you could put it to good use.

Challenge yourself to apply as many of the following tips as possible to your monthly expenses:

1. Eliminate your home telephone

It's not surprising that roughly 25 percent of all Americans have eliminated their landline telephone service. What is shocking is that more Americans haven't.

If you have a cell phone and live in an area with good coverage, why pay for a separate phone service? If you need a backup line, however, consider MagicJack, which allows you to make and receive calls from a traditional phone via your Internet service. It costs $40 to set up, and the annual $30 service fee is waived for the first year. By eliminating your landline and long-distance service, you could save as much as $50 per month!

2. Cut back on cable TV

Do you really have time to surf through 500 channels or watch movies on three different paid services? If not, consider reducing your package to 100-200 channels and only one paid movie service — or dump your cable entirely. Redbox rents a wide variety of the latest movies for about a dollar a day, and a subscription to Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime will set you back a fraction of what cable costs.

3. Save on home energy

Summer is heating up, which naturally means higher electric bills. To offset this cost, gradually adjust your thermostat up three degrees over the next several weeks and make use of cooler temperatures outside by opening windows and doors early in the morning and at night.

Furthermore, remember to replace your air-conditioner filters on a timely basis, and if you have ceiling fans, make sure they're running counter-clockwise — this is the most efficient setting for summer, as it draws cool air upward. These moves could save energy at home and more than 20 percent on your home-utility bills.

4. Clip coupons

Saving $25 per month on groceries isn't as hard as it sounds. Buy a few copies of the Sunday paper to load up on coupons. Shop on days when your grocer doubles them. And stock up on items you use the most when they're on sale. Depending on how much time and effort you're willing to invest, extreme couponing could save you as much as 84 percent on your grocery bill.

5. Streamline your cell-phone plan

Review your cell-phone plan to make sure you're not paying for service you don't use. For example, if you don't text much or use many of your minutes, get rid of unlimited texting and reduce your voice package. You can also try to trim your data plan.

On the other hand, if you text frequently and use a ton of data, get an unlimited plan to avoid serious overage charges. Also, regularly visit your wireless provider's website for specials and promotions you might otherwise be unaware of.

Final thoughts

If you're willing to invest time and effort, you can certainly find ways to save money. Remember, you alone are in charge of your finances, so it's up to you to get them in order. So sit down with your monthly statements. See what you spend, and how you can save. You could be on your way to saving $1,500 per year or more.

What other ways do you save money each month?

Money Crashers Personal Finance is an online resource for financial news, tips, and strategies for saving money and growing wealth.

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