8 Simple Ways to Save $3000 in 2012

How to save over $3000 this year...How to save over $3000 this year...Whether you want to save money for a vacation, pay off debt, or just stop living paycheck to paycheck, you're going to need to readjust your spending habits. It doesn't have to mean reducing your daily menu to rice and beans or giving up all the things you love. You can make a few small changes that will make a big impact on your budget without disrupting your life.

Here are 8 simple ways to save $3,000 this year:


Cut the cableCut the cable
1. Cut the cable: $720
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Cutting the cable was one of our best financial decisions. The $60 per month bill is out of our lives, but we still watch sports through our HD antennae, and our favorite television shows can be viewed on Hulu or the station's own website for free. Today, an Internet connection means all the television you want and none of the cable bills! Even if you pay for a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon, the money saved is unbelievable.

Switch to CFL bulbsSwitch to CFL bulbs
2. Switch to CFL bulbs: $90
CFL bulbs are a simple way to reduce electric bills. Each light bulb you replace will save $6 per year. Change every light bulb in the house for maximum savings! With an average count of 15-30 lightbulbs in a house, the savings will really add up.

Related: 10 money-saving tips for family budgets - couponing tricks, freebies, and more


Brew your own coffeeBrew your own coffee
3. Brew your own coffee: $780
At nearly $4 per day, a daily Starbucks habit can get pretty expensive. Make your coffee at home - with the flavored coffees and creamers available now, it's easy to make great-tasting drinks without the high cost. My best friend swears vanilla caramel creamer in her home brew tastes just like a Carmel Macchiato. If coffee isn't your vice, think about other daily habits that are costing you money. Cutting out my soda habit saved us more than $400 last year.


Research insurance ratesResearch insurance rates
4. Research insurance rates: $300
After watching my friend Casey struggle without health insurance and her low-cost solution, we reevaluated our own situation and discovered that insuring ourselves would save $300 per month over the insurance we've had with the hubby's company. Shopping around for car insurance several years ago netted us a $300 per year savings. We still research those rates each year before renewal, just in case. Compare health insurance, car insurance, and home insurance rates ... then watch the savings add up!


Download free phone appsDownload free phone apps
5. Download free phone apps: $50
If you're in the habit of downloading apps regularly, be on the lookout for free options instead. We found ourselves downloading an app a week. Even at $.99, that little expense can really add up. If you're an app hoarder, finding a free alternative once a week to that $.99 or $1.99 expense could save you $50 or more in a year. Check out FreeAppADay.com for great free options. The site also provides updates on promotional offers for premium apps. Watch closely, and you may find the paid app you covet for free.

Related: 10 easy family dinners under $10


Recharge your batteriesRecharge your batteries
6. Recharge your batteries: $240
Between remotes, cameras, video games, and kids toys, we go through dozens of batteries each month. With battery prices upwards of $5, the initial cost of rechargeable batteries was a great investment. It pays for itself in the first few months.


Dine out lessDine out less
7. Dine out less: $600
We don't dine out very often, but that was a conscious decision we had to make years ago to make room in our budget for more important things. Simple meal planning keeps us from choosing a restaurant or drive-thru as a last minute option. Searching Pinterest and Foodily for copycat recipes keeps me from overspending for cravings. Even if you just cut out one meal per month, you can save up to $600 this year.


Pack a lunchPack a lunch
8. Pack a lunch: $260
When the hubby first started working full time, his weekly lunch bill was a huge shock. He started packing a lunch each day, saving restaurant meals for special occasions. Packing a lunch just once per week will save nearly $300 this year. Commit to packing every day for even greater savings or consider starting a lunch co-op to get coworkers involved and cut costs for all.

- By Heather Sokol

For 2 more simple ways to save money this year, visit Babble!

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