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Looking to save a little money? You're not alone. Just about everyone is searching for ways to pull in those purse strings this season, but spending responsibly doesn't mean you've got to resign yourself to ramen noodles for dinner every night. There are plenty of not-so-obvious but easy ways to save a few bucks here and there - and that can really add up fast! Here are eight of the most ingenious ways to save this winter.
1. Get a bike with a Bike.com promotion code, which can get you free shipping on any order. Let's be real: Driving a car costs a small fortune. Between paying for maintenance, parking passes, gasoline, washes and the occasional speeding ticket, you could be out thousands of dollars by the end of the year. Put the car in the garage and switch to a bike. Not only will it keep you in shape, it doesn't require gasoline or a permit to park - and it's just flat-out fun! And with a hat, some warm gloves and nice boots, you won't even be too cold. If it's icy or snowy, try taking the bus or the subway, if your city has one. It's cheap, efficient and good for the environment.
2. Buy a blanket. The heating bill can be one of your biggest expenses in the wintertime, but you can't very well be expected to go through January, February and March without turning on the radiators. If you need to save a little money, try turning down the heat just a smidgen and investing in a big, fluffy blanket to keep warm overnight. Your own body heat is definitely cheaper than what the oil, gas and electric companies are charging, and you'll be toasty before you know it.
3. Eat leftovers. Feeding yourself costs a lot of money, especially if you order take-out four days a week or pick up your favorite sandwich on the way home from work every night. But you can save some serious dough if you try making a big meal - like a casserole or a whole roast chicken - on Sunday night, and eating the leftovers in creative ways throughout the week. Speaking of eating habits, let's move on to number four...
4. Pack a lunch. Remember those leftovers we were just talking about? Brown-bag 'em for an easy office lunch. Picking up a burger, fries and a Coke every day for lunch costs about $7 - that's $35 a week, not including the weekends! Packing a lunch will save you both money and time, so you can be more productive and maybe even earn a raise.
5. Change your schedule. Now that Daylight Savings has arrived, we've all had to turn the clocks back an hour - meaning the sun is setting around 5 pm. But if you're turning on the lights before dinner and staying up until midnight, that's six hours or more of electricity use - and that can really add up. Try going to bed (and flipping off the lights) a little earlier to save cash on your electric bill. Plus, it'll help you get up earlier - so you can be more productive in the morning!
6. Get rid of cable. How often do you watch TV? Now how often do you actually watch TV on your, well, TV? For most of us, it's not very often. With most of our favorite shows available streaming online or for a small fee on iTunes or Youtube, paying $60 or more each month for cable just doesn't make financial sense if you're really trying to save.
7. Ditch the drinks. Coke, Pepsi, root beer, cranberry juice, iced tea, even coffee - you just don't need them! Water is free and abundant, so stop stocking up on sugary, carbonated and caffeinated drinks that cost money and are full of empty calories. You could save dozens of dollars next time you're at the grocery store. And while we're at it, try cutting back on the alcoholic beverages, too. Hit happy hour with your coworkers, but stick to the cheap beer. You could even use a WineBasket.com promotion code to save on your favorite bottles of vino.
8. Cruise the sale racks. Now is not the time to be dropping cash on a new wardrobe, but when the seasons change, you might not be able to put off getting a new coat or a comfy pair of snow boots. If you need a new winter item, check out the sales racks before you head to the full-price merchandise. You can often find exactly what you're looking for - even at the most high-end department stores - for a pretty steep discount!
Saving money is tough, but it's something that all young adults need to learn how to do. Pinching pennies is a pain, but with these tips, it can be a little easier for everyone.