Save money without trying very hard

Who can’t use some extra money to renovate their house, save for retirement or squirreling money away for a child’s education expenses?

With that in mind, consider these dozen ways to save without trying that hard.

Pay your bills online — Let’s say you pay 10 bills per month. Round off this expense and you save about $50 per year for postage.

Pay off your credit cards in full – Enough said? Leaving a balance can trigger interest rates that can approach 20 percent and more. Depending on your debt load, you can save hundreds of dollars by not carrying a balance.

Just ask – If you need to carry credit card debt and you have a great record of timely payments, ask the credit card issuer for a lower rate. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Clip coupons – But use them only for the items you really use. Double coupon deals are even better and can save you plenty of money each month.

Make your own coffee – One $4 latte at 50 times per year equals $200.

Make your own dinner – One dinner out for two each month with a bottle of wine can cost $100 or more. Possible savings? About $1,000 a year, after buying groceries.

Take the right exemptions – If you always get a tax refund, you’re having too much tax deducted from your salary. Ask your payroll department to adjust your tax exemptions.

Become green – Save the planet and save money over the long haul. Using compact fluorescent bulbs, caulking drafty holes, installing storm windows, updating old water heaters and other steps can save you thousands of dollars in energy costs over the lifetime of your house.

Insure your auto properly – If you drive a clunker, paying extra for collision insurance may not be worth the price. Also review your deductibles.

Lower your thermostat – A couple of degrees per day can save you a lot each winter.

Raise your thermostat – A couple of degrees can do the same in the summer.

Package your communications – Consider combining your television, Internet, cell phone and land line communications for a discount.

Jeff Waters is a financial adviser at Waters Wealth Strategies.  He can be reached at (205) 358-7126 or by email at jswaters@waterswealthstrategies.com