The secret to stashing dough is simple: Spend less. But what fun is that? A lot, actually, if you cash in on these effortless tips.
Save $14:Take a "vacation" from Netflix, and borrow DVDs from pals for nada. Netflix lets you pause your subscription for up to 90 days.
Save $21 to $31: Lots of brand-name birth-control pills have generic versions that are way cheaper. Ask your gyno if your designer Rx has a generic twin.
Save $40:Drinking dinner? Bad idea. Getting a free meal while you drink? Awesome. Many bars now serve apps on the house to lure in crowds. Deals vary from a pizza with every beer at Crocodile Lounge in New York City to free quesadillas at any Blue Mesa Grill in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Save $15 to $20: Little-known fact: The price of your cut includes a fee for drying. So if you ask to leave it wet, your stylist will usually bump down the cost. Stretch your beauty dollars by stocking up on these 10 budget buys (all under $10!)
Save $10: Unlock your iTunes library - go to preferences and click share - and have friends and coworkers do the same. With so much music at your fingertips, you're less likely to buy a so-so CD.
Save $5 to $10: At the supermarket, skip things like sliced veggies and precut fruit, and opt for unpackaged produce. DIY slicing and dicing takes a bit more time, but you'll save a ton. While you're at it, learn how to score major essentials at the dollar store.
Save $55 to $60: Take your old heels to a repair shop, and let the cobblers do their thing. Resoling stilettos will run you $15 to $20 - cheaper than a new pair.
Save $20 to $25: Many health-insurance plans will reimburse part of your gym membership. They figure shelling out $250 or $300 a year will save them from having to pay the bills you'd rack up while you're sick. Plus, find out how to make some extra cash pronto.
Save $60:Take turns hosting dinner parties once a week with friends. The cost of ingredients is less than dinner out. When it's your turn to host, executive chef Lon Symensma, of Buddakan NYC, recommends serving a stir-fry with vegetables and pork tenderloin (it's cost-friendly!). Sauté the pork in a wok with oil, adding the veggies when the meat is cooked. Drizzle on teriyaki sauce, and serve over rice.
Save $15 to $30: You don't have to go broke to look hot. Instead of buying new jewelry, reinvent what you have. Lost one of your dangly earrings? Wear it as a pendant. Have an old necklace? Use a ribbon to turn it into something new.
Save $12: Buy your booze at club stores. No membership? No problem. A loophole in liquor laws requires that retailers sell alcohol to everyone without membership restrictions. You can pick up Grey Goose vodka for 16 percent less than at the liquor store. Hey, just because times are tough doesn't mean you can't have fun. These date ideas are practically free.
Save $10 to $35: Switch your pet to dry food (bonus: It's healthier). A 3-pound bag of kibble costs about $5 and lasts a month. It'd take 24 3-ounce cans of wet food (approximately $15) to feed Snowball for that long. Try more of these painless money-saving switches.
Are you cutting back to pump up your savings account? Tell us how you downside your budget.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.