Here are some basic tips to get you started saving in small ways. These fall into the categories of home, health, transportation, entertainment, family and friends, banking, and food. The goal of these is to reduce expenditures by small amounts while still keeping mostly to your routine. In effect, these should be relatively painless ways to save. By cutting small amounts out of your expenditures, you could reach a $500 savings goal yearly with a relatively little change to your spending habits.

Ah, home sweet home. It seems like home is one of the biggest expenditures for many people. They may feel like they have to spend a lot of money here and their to keep up with their neighbors. But did you know there are other ways to keep your home costs down besides cutting your decorating budget? You can utilize some cost cutting techniques to save in relatively painless ways over the upkeep of your home.

  • Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees to save electricity spent heating water too hot. This will also help keep useless cold water blends from washing down the drain when the water didn't need to be that hot to begin with.
  • Keep the blinds down to save heat and cut costs on air conditioning.
  • Refinance your mortgage. Shop around for a good rate; even taking a percent off can save you thousands.
  • Install low-flow water faucets and water saving toilets.
  • Use half the dryer sheet and laundry detergent. These heavily perfumed products work just as well on half the amount.
  • Weatherproof your house. You can do simple caulking to save on energy costs or go for the full weatherproofing with advice from your local hardware store.
  • To save even more, get a home energy audit. You will find new ways to save energy, such as new windows, that you might not have thought of or known about.

Health savings are a big second for many people. To start, you can search for generic body care items. If your doctor recommends, you can ask about saving by getting generic prescription medications also. These can cost less than half the regular price of brand name medications, saving you hundreds over the course of the year. On things like cold medications and vitamins, try the store brand. Generics are usually made of the exact same ingredients and cost much less.

Two of the biggest expenses in transportation are auto insurance and car maintenance. Invest in your auto insurance price by comparison shopping for a cheaper quote. You can even do this yearly, before renewal, and get better rates from a good driving record. By keeping up with maintenance on your car before something breaks, you can save a lot on towing costs and mechanic rates. Lastly, shopping for airfare mileage plans is a great way to save on air travel.

Entertainment can be costly. Try going to the library more often, and see what they have to check out besides books. Some libraries even have sewing machines to check out! A common available item these days is a computer and sometimes movies.

You can save on entertainment by volunteering at festivals as well. Volunteering is a great way to have  a rewarding experience while socializing. In addition, you often get free tickets!

Lastly, ask your theater about local ticket discounts that are unadvertised. They can put you in touch with a manager for specials, reruns, and other discounted shows. You can also check out some apps or sites like Fandango which offer third-party discounts.

Family and friends have their expenses too! Save on gift giving by planning your gifts well in advance; six to eight months is a good amount of time. Many times people feel that they must buy an impressive gift. But, planning in advance can give you a chance to put in more thought to your gifts and get something thoughtful, which may not be the most expensive choice, instead.

Save for college early, starting at the baby shower. Don't be afraid to ask for donations to the little one's college fund rather than gifts. You can also look at one of the many college saving plans available now, to capitalize on interest.

Organizing a neighborhood swap meet can be a fun way to "go shopping" with family and friends without spending too much money. You can also organize a once a week "no shopping" play day and have everyone go to the park instead. Just a little bit here and there saved is that much extra money in your emergency fund.

Banking and finance are a challenge area for many people. They may struggle with savings due to using their credit card too much. A simple way to slow down credit card spending is to freeze it in a bag of water. Then, you really have to think through that purchase before going through with the transaction.

You can tackle credit card debt by starting on just the first $1000 dollars. Then, the mountain of debt will slowly dissipate as you take it step by step. Focus by getting your credit checked for free once yearly and making a new commitment to pay off charges monthly. You can save small amounts by using only your banking institution's ATM, by putting bills on auto pay to reduce fees, and by getting free debt counseling. One notable counseling agency is Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

Lastly, food has room for savings too! Here are some basic tips to save you small amounts over time.

  • Reduce your eating out by just one day a month and save that much more.
  • Brown bag your lunch.
  • Stick to water; savings are out there on both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Plan meals in advance to save on groceries.
  • Make a double recipe and freeze half for later next time you cook.