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Five Crazy Good Ways to Save $500 or More Without Feeling the Pinch

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Go out to lunch instead of dinner.
Lunch menu items tend to cost 30-50% less than items on the dinner menu both at sit-down restaurants, and lunch goers rarely order appetizers along with their meals. Dining out for lunch instead of dinner, when possible, can easily save you at least $20 off your bill—but you’ll still get to experience the relaxation of going out to eat.If you can’t do a lunch outing, try asking for half portions instead of full portions at your favorite eatery at dinnertime. Not only will this save you the extra calories associated with large meals, but it’ll save you cash too.

Make your dollars holler in a singles bank.
When you’ve got cash leftover in your wallet at the end of the day, go through it and take all the singles and place them into a bank or box and then don’t touch it for a year. Over time, those singles will turn into hundreds of dollars-$730, in fact- if you deposit just $2 a day into your dollar box. You won’t feel the pinch in your pocketbook, but when you count out your savings at the end of the year, you might just have enough to pay off the debt you may have incurred over the holiday season.

Host a clothing swap.
There’s no doubt about it: clothing can cost an arm and a leg. Instead of buying all new clothing, why not save hundreds of dollars by hosting a clothing swap? Make it a fun event for you and your friends: ask folks to bring a dish or drink to share in addition to all of the clothing their family doesn’t wear anymore. Both kids and adult clothing is fair game. Organize it on tables and allow everyone to pick out clothing items that their family could use.

For best results, invite a variety of people who are likely to bring clothing in all types of sizes so there is something for everyone. If you’d like, you can also open the swap to accessories such as purses, shoes, scarves and jewelry as well. The more people you get, the better your outcome will be!

Use the Three Cs When You Shop Online
In today’s online marketplace, there is no reason at all to pay full price for anything. Use an online shopping strategy called “The Three Cs” to save big on the purchases you need to make when you complete them online: Compare, Cash and Codes.

First, compare prices with an app, such as Shop Savvy, Red Laser or The Find. These handy apps will make sure you’re getting the best possible price at checkout. These apps will show you what other retail and online stores are charging for the same product and will let you know if you could be getting a better deal elsewhere.

Next, check for cash back. The popular website Ebates allows users to get up to 10% cash back when they purchase from eligible retailers (and there are thousands available—just type in the name of the company you’re buying from and it will let you know how much cash back you’ll be eligible for). Payments from Ebates are made quarterly via PayPal (that’s right—you’ll get cash in pocket!).

Lastly, find codes for saving money using a website or app like RetailMeNot or Coupon Cabin. These codes can save you even more. If you use the Three Cs correctly, you can easily get 15-30% off your purchase almost every time you shop online.

Shop with gift cards.
Many large retail grocery chains sell retail gift cards and offer gasoline savings for purchasing them. In most cases, shoppers can save .10 cents per gallon for each $50 they spend on gift cards; sometimes as high as .20 off per gallon of gas at the store’s gas station chain. If you’re buying something large, those savings can really add up.

For example, if you’re remodeling your kitchen, you might be in the market to spend $10,000 or more at a big box home improvement retailer such as Lowes or Home Depot. If you purchase $10,000 worth of gift cards from that retailer at a participating grocery store, you could be looking at free gas tank fill-ups for several weeks. Even if you’re plan is only to spend $500 on a new TV, you’ll still be looking at a full dollar off per gallon at your next fill up. Not too shabby considering that it’s something you were going to buy anyway, egh?

Even routine purchases like gift cards for your family’s favorite restaurant or clothing store will really add up. All in all, you have the potential to save hundreds of dollars per year on gasoline, if you play your cards right.