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6 ways to save more, starting now.

When you’re working toward important financial goals, every penny counts. Yet even the most careful savers are often unaware of some sneaky budget-drainers that may be occurring on a regular basis. To help cut down on expenses, here are six ways to plug some of the leaks in your budget.

  1. Unsubscribe. Maybe you signed up for a trial offer for a new music streaming service. You wanted the “30-day free trial” benefit and planned to cancel before they automatically enrolled you, but then you forgot about it. Maybe you have a subscription you never read or use. If you haven’t recently, take a look at your monthly transactions and see if there are any subscriptions you don’t need. Cancel them and get that money back.

    Go one step further: Keep a list of your subscriptions. When you sign up for a trial offer, make note of the expiration date and set a reminder to cancel before you get charged.

  2. Unplug. According to Energy Star, the average U.S. household wastes $100 a year powering devices that aren’t even on. Consider unplugging things like phone chargers, toasters, coffee makers and lamps when you’re not using them. With this approach, you might be able to cut your electricity bill by 5 to 10 percent. 

    Go one step further: Plug appliances into a smart power strip, which can utilize a timer, a motion detector or a current sensor to stop drawing electricity when devices are not in use.

  3. Meet every due date. Whether it’s the water bill, your mortgage payment or a credit card statement, missing a due date by just one day can cost you extra money in late fees — not to mention damage your credit score. Stay on schedule by setting email or text alerts to remind you when payments are due.

    Go one step further: For recurring bills, Online Bill Pay allows you to schedule payments that automatically post to your accounts on a specified date of each month.

  4. Re-examine the low deductible. A low deductible on your health, auto or homeowner’s insurance is nice if you have to file a claim. But in the meantime, you’ll be paying for it with higher premiums. Raising the deductible even a few hundred dollars can lower your monthly expenses considerably.

    Go one step further: Don’t spend money on coverage you don’t need. Review your current policies to assess whether or not they still fit your lifestyle.

  5. Purchase strategically. From clothing and recreational equipment to furniture and electronics, many retail items are discounted at certain times throughout the year. Studying up on the best times to buy the goods on your list can save you a bundle. You can refer to Consumer Reports’ “Best Time to Buy Things” calendar.

    Go one step further: Take advantage of the many websites and smartphone apps that help you find coupons and promotions, compare prices, earn cash back or notify you when your favorite items go on sale.

  6. Amp up your savings account. While stashing your cash is the ultimate goal, where you put it is important. Traditional savings accounts are a great foundation, especially for funds that you want to access easily. But when liquidity matters less, you can score higher yields with a certificate of deposit (CD) or money market account.

    Go one step further: Take your savings to the next level by planning for the future with an individual retirement account (IRA), which offers tax advantages in addition to investment earnings. Making even small changes like these could have a surprisingly significant impact on your savings — and help you reach your financial goals even faster!

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