5 of the easiest things you can do to save money

We all have our little tricks to save money in tight spots, but these tips require the tiniest bit of effort to save over hundreds of dollars in a year or month. Try them out and see what you can keep in your everyday life.

5 of the easiest things you can do to save money

You would be surprised to learn that there are a lot of ways to save on purchases that you feel are essential to you — whether that's by skimping or cutting down completely.

1. Get the most at the gas pump

When gas prices soar, every extra block you drive to find bargains puts more money into the pockets of big oil companies.

  • But you can do your bit to get back at these giant corporations with one simple step: fill up your car during the morning or late evening.

Gasoline becomes denser when the temperature is cool. Since the gas pump only measures the volume of the gas you put into your car, when the gas is denser, you get a greater quantity for each litre (or gallon) that the gas pump measures.

  • You'll get more distance for your buck than you would if you filled up at noon, when the temperature is higher.

2. Skip the premium channel

  • If you pay for a premium movie channel just to watch a particular original series, you can bet that some cable bigwigs are getting a laugh over how much they're charging you for a few hours of entertainment.
  • Call your cable company today to cancel your subscription to the channel. These series typically only contain 12 or so episodes per season, and you then have to wait for many months — or even years — before the next season begins.

All the while, you're paying those bloated fees to the cable company. Alternatives include:

  • asking a friend who pays for the cable channel to tape the show for you (this is really a small favour to ask of a friend, don't you think?)
  • waiting a few months and rent or buy the whole season when it comes out on DVD
  • going the to library, take it out and watch it for free

3. Turn your back on vending machines

Want to get a $500 raise for the coming year? Stop buying your sodas and snacks from the vending machine at work.

  • If every day you brought in one soft drink and a resealable plastic bag of chips (refilled from a big store-bought bag), you could save a couple of dollars each day.
  • If your worksite has a refrigerator, store your soft drinks and cold snacks there. If not, just bring them in a tiny cooler. Quit being a sucker for vending machines that are more about convenience than they are about product.

4. Help your friend move

Always help friends pack their belongings and load the truck when they're moving — this simple favour can save you big money.

  • When people are loading their households into boxes, they usually find items that they no longer need or don't want to bother packing and unpacking.

As a result, you can bring home hundreds of dollars' worth of spices, frozen food, videos and DVDs, books, toys, furniture and other handy household items.

Best of all, at the end of the day your friends will still think you've done them a favour!

5. Get a reporter's help

Companies live in absolute dread of looking like "the bad guys" in newspaper or TV news stories.

  • If you have tapped out all of the possible ways to air a consumer complaint within the offending company, contact the consumer reporter at your local newspaper or television station.
  • Reporters love "little guy versus unscrupulous company" stories. Once they make an inquiry, your consumer problem will probably be solved very quickly.
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