With the dramatic increase in gas and food prices, most of us can barely make ends meet, let alone think about saving money. The good news is, with a little imagination and perseverance, there are still plenty of ways to pocket extra cash.
Follow these 22 simple tips and save at least $100 a week:
Buy a Water Filter
Purchasing bottled water hurts not only the environment but your wallet as well. According to the Learning Channel, a family of 4 can save up to $55 a week by making the switch from bottled water to water filters.
Take Advantage of Power Strips
You can cut down on your utility bill by unplugging your appliances when you aren't using them. Make the unplugging process easy by purchasing a power strip for your appliances.
Make Shopping and To-Do Lists
Make a list of everything you need before you shop. Make sure your list only consists of needs, not wants. Then, be sure to stick to your list. You can also use to-do lists to save a ton of time. By grouping together all your errands, you can get everything done in one trip, saving you valuable minutes and gas money.
Stay Away From "Foreign" ATMs
We've all done it: using our bank card at another bank's ATM to withdraw some extra cash. But every time we do this, we get hit with a wonderful little fee. Now, there is no reason not to use ATMs owned by your bank when apps like ATM Hunter can help you find the right ATM in seconds.
You can save 30 to 60 percent by purchasing generic brand food and drugs. According to a study by Consumer Reports, 80% of the time trained tasters cannot tell the difference between store and national brand food products.
Cancel Your Landline
In an age when everyone has a cell phone, landlines are not necessary. You can also utilize free computer-to-computer calling via Skype, which beats using the phone because if you have a webcam, you can see the person you are talking to.
Utilize the Library
Instead of hitting up Netflix or Blockbuster every time you want to watch a movie, head to your local library for your movie rental needs. Or, if there is a new book you want to read, borrow it from your library instead of purchasing it at the bookstore.
Bye-Bye Gym Membership
Most exercises you do at the gym can be modified and done at home. Better yet, the most beneficial exercises out there are walking, pushups, and squats, all of which you don't need a gym to do.
Take Your Lunch to Work
Instead of going to the deli down the street for lunch, brown bag your lunch. You can make a week's worth of sandwiches on your own for the price you would pay for one or two sandwiches at the deli.
With gas prices on the upswing, filling up the tank can be a huge money drain. Organize a carpool with your coworkers to save money. If you can't find any coworkers to carpool with, check out Zimride to find a carpool buddy.
Walk or Bike
To find out how walkable your city is, check out Walk Score. Ditching your car completely will save you a ton of money not just on gas but also on wear and tear on your car.
Wash your own car, cut your own fruits and veggies, and clean your own house. If you don't think you have enough time to wash your own car, remember that there are 24 hours in the day. Even if you spent 10 hours at work, 8 hours sleeping, 2 hours cooking, and 2 hours hanging out with the family, you would still have 2 hours to wash your car or clean your house.
Pay Bills On Time
Most banks offer free electronic bill payment services that will automatically pay your monthly bills. It only takes a few minutes to set up. Do it today and never pay a late fee again.
Make Your Own Pet Toys
Try to steer clear of Petco and Petsmart when it comes to your pet's toys. It is easy to make pet toys on your own for a fraction of the price you would pay for them at a pet store. Beautify Yourself Instead of hitting up expensive salons, try trimming your own hair or getting a value haircut from a beauty school.
If you are going out for a night on the town, pre-game before you leave. This way you will spend less money on expensive drinks at your favorite hot spot. You can spend up to $5 for a beer at the bar or find a 12 pack that's on sale and pay just over $1 per beer.
With the ability to watch TV shows online for free, the need for cable is virtually nonexistent. Yes, it may be nice to see a show as soon as it airs, but it's much nicer to have extra money in your bank accounts. Try using Hulu for your TV viewing needs.
Make Your Own Food
While it may not be as convenient as going to the drive through or having food delivered to your house, making your own food can save you a ton of money.
Sure, it may be mellower than going out, but cooking your favorite meal, making your favorite drink, and watching a DVD can be just as fun as a night on the town.
Make Your Own Coffee
This is a tried and true money saving technique that we have all heard, but it bears repeating. Make your morning cup of coffee at home instead of paying way more than you should for a cup of Joe at your favorite coffee shop.
Avoid Bank Fees
Setting up direct deposit for a certain amount can often eliminate fees associated with keeping an account open. You can avoid paying overdraft fees by linking your checking and savings accounts, or by signing up for fee e-mail alerts that tell you when your account is getting close to the limit.
A tried and true money saving method: before you head to the grocery store, check the ads to see if there are any coupons for the items you need. Or, go online and check out CouponMom or The Daily Deals Blog to find the latest discounts.
Ashley Jacobs is the college correspondent for personal finance blog Wise Bread. Follow her latest tweets on @CollegeCents.