8 Ways to Save Money While Still Enjoying Life

With the tough aspects of the economy and job market, it seems like everyone is looking for new ways to save money. Many money-saving articles center around cutting unnecessary expenses out of your life and while this is necessary for some people, not everyone wants to go the minimalist route. If you want to find ways to save money without completely cutting “non-essential” purchases out of your life, there are several things you can do. Here are some ideas.

1. Find Free Alternatives

Before purchasing items, see if you can find a free option first. Borrow books from your local library instead of buying them. Use resources such as freecycle and craigslist to find local sources for free items. It’s also important to participate on the giving side as well. Giving away items you no longer want or use frees up space in your home and reduces time spent cleaning and maintaining things.

2. DIY

Of course one of the best (and greenest) ways to save money is to do things yourself instead of buying stuff. DIY can mean many different things depending on your needs and skill set. There are a number of things people commonly call upon and pay services for that you can simply take the time to do on your own. For example, doing your own yard work, performing general basic maintenance on your home, washing your own car, and even cutting your own hair are several ways to eliminate ongoing costs each month. With so many internet resources showing how to do things, it’s easy to learn a new skill.

3. Repurpose

Rather than buying disposable items and throwing away things you no longer want or need, start thinking of ways to reuse and repurpose items. This can take many forms. You can save money on fertilizer by composting your kitchen and gardening waste. Another idea is to use worn or ill-fitting T-shirts as cleaning rags or to make rugs. Many sustainability and homesteading blogs and resources have ideas for repurposing and reusing a variety of items.

4. Work Together

Working with your community can be a great way to pool resources so everyone gets the maximum benefits for the minimum contribution. A community garden is one example of this. Another example is forming a rotating babysitting or carpool group with friends who have children of similar ages. By splitting the workload between a large number of people, everyone can save both time and money on common chores and services.

5. Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs

Rather than giving up your daily latte or frequent movie dates, save money with loyalty and rewards programs. Nearly all restaurants, theaters, and other entertainment providers have some form of membership or loyalty rewards programs that offers significant savings. Many programs allow you to keep membership information on a smartphone so you don’t need to worry about cluttering up your wallet with membership cards.

6. Buy and Use Gift Cards

Many retailers and restaurants offer incentives for buying gift cards. If you have several places you frequently shop or eat, buy gift cards and take advantage of the bonuses. Some grocery stores even offer bonus rewards points or other benefits with gift card purchases so you can save money on your weekly shopping as well.

7. Find the Best Deals on Devices

Cell phones, television, and the Internet are services we use every day, but there are several ways to cut costs without sacrificing the quality content you enjoy. Research online subscription streaming services or cable packages that cater to the channels you watch and find the best deals by comparing multiple TV providers. The Internet makes it easy to research current cable subscription rates and cell phone plans, so you can determine which company offers the best value for your needs and budget.

When you are trying to save money, there are many things you can do that don’t involve simply cutting out unnecessary expenses. Being proactive and putting effort into learning new skills and eliminating routine expenses by being more hands on is one way. You can also research providers and find loyalty rewards programs to get the best deals on goods and services you regularly use.

Save Money When You Pick the Right Car Insurance

Some California drivers think they can save money on car insurance by cutting corners. Their reasoning generally goes something like this: “Why should I pay more money to cover unlikely situations? I can probably just cover the basics and save big.” However, this is only true if you have the good fortune to avoid any unexpected and unforeseen emergencies.

Now, maybe you walk around with a pocket full of four leaf clovers and have the best luck in the world. Or maybe you’re just an incredibly safe driver who has never had occasion to worry about getting in a freak accident. The trouble with both of those scenarios is that luck has a bad habit of running out just when you need it most. Furthermore, even if you’re a brilliant driver, that won’t necessarily protect you from the mistakes and poor judgment of other drivers. An article from the Sun Sentinel points out that other vehicles cause over 60 percent of motorcycle accidents, and that only 19 percent of car crashes involve a single vehicle. This statistic means that no matter how good you are behind the wheel or handlebars, you need an insurance policy that protects your vehicle…and you.

There’s one thing we should talk about before you decide on a policy, though. As stated above, many people assume they have to choose between having either complete or affordable coverage. That is simply not the case, however, because you can get both – complete coverage at an affordable price.  You just have to choose the right company.

What to Look For

There are lots of great ways you can save money while driving, but getting cheap and unreliable auto insurance shouldn’t be one of them. When you’re looking for auto insurance, you’ll want to make sure that it covers everything you’re going to need. That includes liability, collision, comprehensive, medical, personal injury protection and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. You should also pick a company that works with you to determine the right amount of coverage that you’re likely to need. After all, there’s no point in getting too much coverage, either. It’s all about coming up with an efficient strategy to cover all your bases. The right insurance company can make that happen by communicating effectively with you and working to understand your specific individual needs. Insurance can be complicated, however, and sometimes it’s hard to know what to buy, so it might make sense to work with an agent. These professionals know the ins and outs of insurance and they can help choose the coverage plan that’s right for you.

What to Avoid

Avoid insurance companies that claim to save you money by offering less coverage. There’s no point in getting a cheap policy if it isn’t going to protect you when something goes wrong on the road. Getting into a scrape on the highway is bad enough. The last thing you want is to deal with financial problems on top of that. Many discount insurance companies don’t offer you enough coverage to protect you from anything but the most basic and predictable situations. You want to arm yourself with the best coverage you can find, as long as it’s affordable and appropriate. And here’s a good tip: Check out the company’s financial ratings, because you want to make sure they have the resources to pay your claim.

To Sum Up

Picking an auto insurance provider can be a challenging and intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. When you choose the right provider, it can make your entire insurance process painless and even helpful. You should feel good about the company you choose, because the reality is that your car insurance company is there to help you when you need it. When you choose a provider, just make sure to keep in mind the most important criteria: affordable rates with coverage suited to the way you drive. Keep away from shady providers who offer incomplete policies, or overly expensive options that try to sell you more than you need. If you can do this, you should be able to insure your vehicle in a way that keeps you safe and your wallet happy.