14 ways to save big throughout 2014

1) Kill your debt

This one's crucial. Start by getting rid of any debt you have. Once you pay down that debt, you won't have anything weighing you down next year. Also, always pay your bills on time to avoid paying late fees. To start getting your debt under control, look into a balance transfer credit card. These cards can help aggregate all your debts with a 0% interest rate and you have up to 21 months to repay.

Site to help: Offers balance transfer

2) Think differently

It's 2014. Don't make the same mistakes you did in last year. Start thinking outside the box: If everyone in your family has a cell phone, is there really any need to pay for your land line? How much cable TV do you really watch? Perhaps a cheaper alternative, like the services from Netflix or Hulu, would serve your purposes just as well. These, of course, are just examples and they might not work for everyone. The point is, don't stick with what you've always done without good reason. Try getting creative and finding new places in your budget to save money.

Site to help: Roku

3) Shop more online

What? Did I just say shop more to save more money? Shopping exclusively online or buying as much as you can from e-tailers is a great way to cut down on impulse buys. In a physical store, you're more likely to buy something you see that you don't need, you're subject to pressure from sales people, and you often find yourself wandering into a neighboring store. Shopping online cuts down on this. **This does not mean don't shop the small businesses in our community. It is vital that we support them but many of them have websites and in my personal opinion, e-shopping saves the consumer the most money.

4) Never ever pay full price

My rule is simple: if it's not on sale, don't buy it. Never, ever pay full price. Even try to buy everything on clearance. Also, don't buy when the stores want you to buy. When those shorts and t-shirts show up in store displays this May, hold off until July to get the biggest deals.

Site to help: The Find (www.thefind.com) is a great comparison shopping site.

5) Always be armed with a coupon

I don't remember the last time I bought something without a coupon. Even if it's just snagging free shipping for an item online to save you a trip to the store (and using more of that precious gas in your fuel tank), coupons and coupon codes are easy.

Sites to help: Offers.com, Couponcodes.com

6) Keep to a budget

Figure out what you spend on all your regular items in a month, try to buy them in as few shopping visits as possible (better still, order them online with free delivery to cut down on your bills at the gas pump) and write down what you spend. You'll save time and spend less -- believe me.

Site to help: Mint.com

7) Never eat at a restaurant paying full price

There's still a great way to support our phenomenal local restaurants while still cutting our wallet a break. Restaurant.com is the way to go and signing up for their newsletter gets you constant additional discount codes so at least every month, you can buy $25 restaurant.com gift certificates for $2.

Site to help: Restaurant.com, Deal Chicken

8) Entertainment books are a must

I keep one in my glove compartment. From great local deals to coffee in the morning, free car washes and incredible two-for-one specials on everything from rental cars to cupcakes, entertainment books save me mad cash every step of the way. This coupon to help will save you $15 with free shipping.

Site to help: http://www.offers.com/entertainmentbook/discount/offer/

9) Loyalty doesn't always pay off

I really hate to say it, but switching companies often allows you to nab the best promotional rates. Think about it: When you sign up for service with Time Warner, you get an amazing package with great prices. A year later, that package can almost double in price. By switching from Time Warner Cable to Verizon, I saved a lot of money. When the time comes to switch, I'll likely find a better promotion somewhere else. Since many companies waive activation and setup fees, it actually pays to search around or to at least threaten a switch in the event a company will extend a promotion to keep your business.

10) Preventative spending

Sometimes spending money now can save you big bucks in the future. Things like regular doctor and dentist visits, home upgrades and taking your car in for its regular service can be pricey, but the money you'll save by avoiding larger problems justifies all those expenses. Even things that may seem frivolous can have big benefits: How about investing in that new set of duds for that special presentation in front of management? You may spend a few dollars today, but think long-term savings and this one makes sense.

11) Track your favorite companies on social media

It takes a few seconds to setup an account and whether you like a favorite company on Facebook or follow a great new shop on Twitter, promo codes are often sent out to the exclusive group of folks that give retailers the time of today.

12) Cut down on daily email SPAM

Subscribing to every possible company's daily deal email not only clutters your inbox, but you may find yourself presented with enticing offers on items you don't need. It's the Groupon Effect and if you find yourself buying gift certificates for more pedicure/massage offers you aren't redeeming, it may be time to unsubscribe.

13) Don't assume. Ask!

Many hard-working people settle because they can't get their deal questions answered. Whether you couldn't track down that sales associate or you don't have the time, ask me your deal questions and either myself or one of the Ways 2 Save Deal Confidants I rely on daily will get your questions answered. CLICK HERE

14) Buy On The Big Sale Days Only

This one is tricky but if you're not shopping for groceries or pharmacy items, try and restrict all of your purchase to the major deal days of the year. Restrict all of your shopping to Columbus Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can easily cut your household costs by 60% over the cost of a year. This requires a lot of discipline but it's doable. And yes, I realize stores are going to read this and be furious with me but this article is designed to help people get out of debt not shop more.


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