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Savvy Spending: Tips to Save Money in
Everyday Life



Saving Money

We're guessing that you love deals, but don't want to sacrifice quality or comfort. (After all, you chose 21st Century Insurance, which offers the same great coverage for less.) So check out all these ways you can cut your costs - without compromising your standards! 

Groceries

  • Make a list, and stick to it. Grab an extra $4-item here and $6-item there, and suddenly you've added $10 to your cart. If you shop once a week, that's an extra $40 per month - and a whopping $520 per year.

  • Never buy anything without looking for a coupon first. Sites like couponmom.com, coupons.com and smartsource.com have downloadable coupons that are good across the country.

  • Branch out from your grocery store. Farmers markets tend to have better prices on produce. (Better still, why not grow your own?) Drugstores occasionally offer specials on staples like milk and bread. And dollar stores can be good sources for canned items and dry goods - just be sure to check expiration dates before you buy.

  • Shop at the superstores like Costco and Sam's Club, but only buy things you'll actually use. After all, getting a deal on 10 cans of peas isn't a deal if the peas are going to sit in your pantry for the next five years.

Utilities

  • Ask your electric company about reduced rates during the evenings. Running your major appliances at night may cost you less.

  • Wash your clothes in cold water. They'll get just as clean, and you'll save on water-heating costs.

  • If your shower head was made before 1994, replace it. By federal legislation, models made after that year are more energy efficient, spraying no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. The switch could save you up to $145 per year.

  • Save 10 percent on heating and cooling bills by investing in a programmable thermostat. In winter, set it so the heat goes down 10 to 15 degrees while you're out of the house during the day and when you're sleeping, then back up a half hour before you get home or wake up. In summer, follow the same pattern with the AC.

  • Unplug items like cell phone chargers and computers when you're not using them. Even if they're turned off, they still use power when they're plugged in.

Transportation

  • If you're shopping for a car, consider models that are at least three years old. Brand-new cars lose 10 percent to 20 percent of their value when they're driven off the lot, and about 40 percent of their value in their first three years.

  • Change your oil regularly. It's the single most important thing you can do to extend your engine's life and ensure your car is running efficiently.

  • Take your car in for regular tune-ups. A car that's not properly tuned uses up to 33 percent more gas per year than its healthier counterparts.

  • A dirty air filter can reduce your miles per gallon by 10 percent. Keep yours clean by taking it out and blowing it with an air hose (most car washes have one) once a month, and replace it about every 3 to 4 months.

  • Monitor your tire pressure to make sure it's within the manufacturer's suggested range. For every pound of under inflation, your car can lose up to 6 percent in miles per gallon.

Style

  • Sign up for emails from discount Websites. Try ideeli.com, gilt.com and hautelook.com for designer clothes, zulily.com for kids' toys and clothes, and thefoundary.com and eziba.com for furniture.

  • If you see a full-priced item you love, ask when the next sale will be. Sometimes, if it's just a few days away, a salesperson can give you the reduced price early or hold the item for you until the sale kicks in.

Dining Out

  • Appetizers are tempting, but they inflate your bill quickly. You're better off skipping the starters and going straight to the main course - especially since restaurant portions are notoriously large. Likewise, avoid pricey alcoholic beverages.

  • Seek early bird specials. Several restaurants offer a smaller version of their dinner menu, with lower prices than what they cost even an hour later.

  • Go out for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner. Often the options are similar, but the prices are 30 percent to 50 percent less.

  • Before you go, check restaurant.com for deals in your area. The site sells gift certificates to restaurants for as much as a 60 percent discount.

21st Century Insurance wants to save you money in every aspect of your life; from saving on your groceries to saving hundreds on your auto insurance. Start the savings by getting an auto insurance quote with 21st.com.

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