Millions of Americans have a tough time saving money. A survey by Bankrate.com indicated that 27 percent of Americans do not have an emergency fund in place -- no rainy-day fund at all.
Here are some key money-saving tips to help you start the year off right.
1. Get an all-inclusive cellphone plan
Tired of paying $100 or more per month for your cellphone? Switch to an all-inclusive cellphone plan, which prevent you from having to pay usage overages.
Monthly savings: $60
2. Use the cash-back feature at the cash register
Each time you swipe your debit card at an out-of-network ATM, you're probably accumulating a surcharge. To avoid this, select the cash-back option next time you are out shopping.
Monthly savings: $15.60
3. Give yourself a mani and pedi
A manicure and pedicure combo can cost anywhere from $25 to $30. The savings can be significant if you limit the number of visits to the salon or learn how to give yourself a mani/pedi.
Monthly savings: $25 to $30
4. Have girls/guys night in
A night out with the guys or gals can get costly. To avoid this expense, try a girls or guys night in. Have everyone bring a dish and pick up a movie from Redbox.
Monthly savings: $18
5. Scrap the gym membership
Even if the membership is only $10 a month, search for free alternatives. Your local parks and recreation center may offer a variety of classes for you to take, free of charge.
Monthly savings: $10 or more per month
6. Pack your lunch twice a week
It's nice to step out of the office every now and then. However, if you spend an average of $10 a day on lunch, packing your lunch twice a week will result in a substantial amount of savings.
Monthly savings: $80
7. Consign unwanted goods or have a yard sale
If you're looking to stash some money in an emergency fund, head on over to your local consignment shop. Some, such as Plato's Closet, offer cash on the spot, while others make you wait until the item is sold to collect your cut. Either way, you create more room in your home while making money. Another alternative is to have a yard sale.
Monthly savings: Varies
8. Slash your grocery bill
Start by making small cuts to your grocery list and substituting brand names for generics. And never go to the store hungry, as this is a recipe for disaster.
Monthly savings: $40
9. Drop the cable
We all know that cable can be very costly. It is easy to spend $100 or more on the cable bill alone. However, there are cheaper alternatives, such as Netflix, Hulu and Redbox, that enable you to save a ton of money each month without missing out on your favorite shows and movies.
Monthly savings: $50 or more
To read more about the best money-saving tips for 2014, click here.
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