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How do you make your money go further?

Accountnow debit cards How do you make your money last longer tips

If you’re like most Americans, you’re living on a budget. Regardless of where your money comes from, you want to make it last as long as possible.

Here are five tips for stretching your dollar:

1. Buy clothing off-season: If you have kids, you know they grow like weeds! You probably won’t get more than one season’s wear from their clothes. Try to hit the clearance sales at the end of the season and buy clothes a size or two larger so they can wear them the following year. If you hit the sales at the right time, you can buy great first-quality clothes for a dollar or two apiece from the kids’ clearance section. Do the same for yourself: at the end of this season, pay less for the clothes you’ll wear this time next year.

2. Save on transportation: Cars are expensive. Between gas and insurance and routine (and unexpected) maintenance, they cost a lot more than their purchase price. Drive as little as possible. Taking public transportation to work or school will save you money in wear and tear on your car. Next time you move, look for a place with good access to public transportation. If public transportation isn’t an option, carpool with a friend or neighbor. If you can help each other out, by taking turns driving kids to school or sharing a ride to work, you will both save money. While you’re at it, next time you buy a car, get a smaller, more fuel-efficient model.

3. Save the earth—and some cash: Here are a few simple ways to cut your energy use at home. (You probably won’t notice the difference once you get used to it.)

  • If you use a dishwasher, don’t run the “dry” cycle
  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater
  • Keep your house cooler at night—warm PJs and blankets are a better investment than high heating bills month after month. And keep the house cool during the day if you’re going to be away.
  • Take shorter showers. Taking a five-minute shower now? Maybe you could do it in three. Taking a ten-minute shower? Try five.
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room
  • Wash your clothes in cold water and use a bit less detergent than the manufacturer recommends. (Your clothes will still be clean!)
  • Buy low-energy light bulbs. Light-emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs cost more to buy than incandescent bulbs, but they last years longer, use less energy, and save money over time.
  • Turn off electronic equipment when you’re not using it. Computers, DVD players and similar devices use electricity, even in “sleep” mode, so power them off when you’re finished.
  • Ask your utility company if it offers a fixed monthly payment plan. While it won’t save you money, paying the same amount each month can be super helpful for many people.
  • See if your local water company offers discounts and rebates. You may save money on landscaping mulch, high-efficiency toilets & clothes washers, and irrigation supplies. If you live in a drought-stricken area you may get money to convert large lawns to drought-tolerant landscapes.
  • We have even more money-saving tips for you!

4. Make a fun habit of saving: Start with your pocket change. A few dimes and quarters here and there might not seem like much, but they’ll add up fast. At the end of the day, get into the habit of collecting your loose change and dropping it into a jar. Do it each night and you’ll eventually have a good stash.

5. Pay bills on time: Late fees add up. Mark on your calendar when your bills are due. Then pay them on time. Many companies charge big late fees—up to $25 and $30, on top of high interest charges. Don’t throw away your hard-earned money! Pay on time and pocket the extra dough.

Try these money-saving tips and others that make sense for your life. For even more tips on stretching your money, click here.

Other resources:
America Saves
Mint
AARP