These days, more Americans are embracing the virtues of being thrifty and saving on household expenses and necessities. "By living below their means, families can save for emergency needs and smart financial investments instead of frittering away their hard-earned money on things they don't need," said Aaron Forth, general manager of Intuit Personal Finance Group. But spending habits can be hard to change. Fortunately, several tips and tricks can help you develop good spending habits and save more. StatePoint
Save on food: Food prices have risen in recent years, but that doesn't mean you can't still save. Consider buying generic staples, like rice and cereal, whenever possible. Or shop at local grocery stores for daily items like milk, coffee or eggs, which are often cheaper there due to lower overhead.
You can join a local food co-operative or community supported agriculture (CSA) group, which can provide fresh produce at lower rates. This is a really good option for foodies who like seasonal produce.
Save on household products: Buy in bulk whenever you can when it comes to products like toilet paper and laundry detergent. And avoid impulse buying. Make a list and stick to it when you hit those large aisles stocked high. If you're tired of making trips to the wholesale store and need to dodge impulse buying, search for home essentials online. For example, on Alice.com you can order thousands of essentials, like shampoos, garbage bags, pantry items and more. The site tracks your frequent purchases, applies automatic coupons and deals, gives you free shipping and sends a reminder when you might be running low on something. And its free iPhone app makes all of this available on-the-go.
Save on home improvements: Doing things yourself is a great way to save big bucks. Why overpay someone else to take care of minor repairs that you can probably handle yourself? If you have a larger project that requires extra labor or expensive materials, such as roofing and home additions, set up a budget. Free online resources like Mint.com let users set up savings goals specifically for home improvement projects. Once you enter your information, you'll be asked specific questions such as the projected cost, type of project and whether you'll fund the project from one or many sources. You can then track your progress online or by smartphone.