Every day we think about ways to save money and think that it is just too hard sometimes. It often seems that the more you try to save the more the unexpected expenses keep piling up.  Pretty soon you are so caught up in the day to day drudge of paying bills and buying food that you even forget that you need to save.

Here are a few simple ways that you can save without having to think about it all the time. You don’t have to worry about actually taking the time to save because by simply making the following a part of your daily life you will eliminate the ‘I have to save’ mentality and you will just start saving automatically.

save money in hand

1. Enroll in your company 401K.

Many, if not all, employers offer some kind of match when you put money into your retirement savings. While it may seem that you will suffer from having a smaller paycheck every month, you are building up valuable savings for your future. Plus if your employer even puts in 1% that is free money coming to you.

2. Cut the cable.

I am sure you are tired of hearing people say this tip but it really works. Even if you are paying $40 a month for cable it adds up over the course of a year. On a monthly basis you have that extra $40 to put towards other things and you might even reduce your electric bill since you are not watching as much television. In any case if you really NEED to watch some of the shows you feel you cannot live without you can always catch them on Hulu (which is free…and that is what I use!!!) or on Hulu plus which costs about $9 a month. You can always go with Netflix which is much less than traditional cable as well.

3. Use a rewards credit card for purchases.

I know many people say to stay away from credit cards if you want to save money. I completely disagree with this UNLESS you are irresponsible with your card use. If you can use a credit card and pay off the balance in full at the end  of the month…why not use it for those purchases you have to make on  regular basis. You know you must put gas in the car. You must buy food during the month and you do have to pay that cable bill…unless you cut the cable in step 2 above. Why not put those purchases on the credit card, earn the cash back on them and then write the check that you would have sent the cable company over to the credit card. Take the cash you would have handed the cashier at Walmart and pay the credit card. Just because you buy things WITH credit it does not mean you are buying things ON credit!!!!

4. Raise your car insurance deductible.

This tip might be a little more difficult for some people and it does take a bit more planning than the other tips. Many people have their car insurance deductible at the very minimum of $250 because they believe they want to be protected against having to pay a lot out of pocket for damage to the car. Did you know that you can raise the deductible to $500 and end up saving a few points in interest? You can save a ton more if you raise it to $1,000 but that might be a bit of a stretch for the average consumer. Call up your insurance provider and find out how much you can save each month if you increase your deductible to $500. Then save up that money in the emergency fund and enjoy the savings!!!

5. Bring your lunch to work.

Yes you are tired of hearing the ‘brown bagging is better’ mantra but it really does work. I am not going to bore you with trying to calculate the cost of making your own lunch but I have experimented both ways. If I buy lunch every day my budget for food is MUCH larger at the end of the month than if I cook at home and bring leftovers to work the next day. I have not an actual break down of the cost of a tuna sandwich vs. my potato salad…but when I look at the total food cost for the month there is a definite difference.

So go ahead and try out these 5 small ways to save big and see if they make a difference in your savings!!!!