19 Painless Ways to Save Money

Reducing spending doesn't have to be tortuous. Here are some easy ways to cut back (that might not hurt one bit).

Money Sense
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Stop wasting your hard-earned money—that's a resolution we all can start anytime of the year (we all need to hear this advice now and again, right?).

1) Not watching all that much TV? Get rid of cable TV and catch your favorite shows on Netflix or Hulu. You can catch the first season of Homeland. You've seen it, haven't you?

2) Use your programmable thermostat so the house isn't cooking when you're not home.

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3) Instead of incandescent bulbs, use CFL OR LED lights. They last longer, they're more durable, and they save electricity.

4) Unplug appliances like coffee pots, toasters, and computer cords when you're not home—and especially on vacation.

5) Slow down your Starbucks relationship or limit yourself to one latte a week. You can do it.

6) If you don't consistently use your gym membership, cancel it. Start running or do free workout videos on YouTube.com.

7) Eat out only once a week—or once a month—depending on your budget. You'll also cut calories in the process. (Not that we're saying you need to lose weight, honestly.)

8) If you have a cell phone, get rid of your landline.

9) Where are the lowest gas prices in your area? You can find them by using gasbuddy.com or gaspricewatch.

10) Keep your car tires properly inflated (it saves money on gas). Check the manual for the proper level.

11) Whip up your own household cleaners. See our blog post about making your own green cleaning products.

12) When possible, buy refurbished electronics—just make sure the manufacturer includes a warranty.

13) Cut down on impulse purchases. If you think you want something, mull it over for a few days. If you really want it, get it. But if the desire passes, go with that vibe.

14) Credit card interest is a downer. If you're not paying your credit card bills off every month, stop using plastic until you can.

15) Research all big purchases carefully. Comparison shop and always take advantage of rebates.

16) Make sure you're getting the best deal on your auto and homeowners insurance. According to the FTC, contact your state's insurance department for a publication that lists typical prices charged by different licensed companies. Call at least three of the lowest-priced carriers for a quote.

17) Eat lots of stews and soups. They're healthy and you can freeze portions for a meal in a snap.

18) Buy generic and store brands at the pharmacy and grocery store.

19) To cut down on paper towels, turn your stained T-shirts into rags. Use the extra money you saved to buy a new shirt.

Ryan Homes Tip: Read books or blogs on personal finance. Two good ones are Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar.