Taken from a post on MyLot, my comments in blue
Money Saving Tips # 1
The key to saving, or spending less, is to know what triggers impulse buying. Keep accurate spending records and list all outgoings to be paid, i.e. mortgage, phone etc, food, books, entertainment and so on. Keep this record for a few months initially as this will allow you to see where you are spending your money and give you an idea of those things you can change. You might find that after a couple of months it has become a good habit to keep these records, so you can track where your money goes. It will only work if you include everything spent, irrespective of what you spent the money on.
Heating in winter. Turn down the heat and wearing slippers or socks and a sweater. This way you will be just as warm but more importantly you will save a lot of money as your heating bill will be a lot less. I keep my heat on 68, but my gas bill is still outrageous. Yes, I can pile on more clothes, but what about the cold nose? I have found that wearing a hat keeps me warmer.
Turn off lights etc when you aren’t in the room, turn off or down the heat in areas of the house that you aren’t in during the day/night. Install energy efficient light globes as the old ones go, replace them with these. Although a little more expensive initially, they last a lot longer plus use less power. I saw a difference in my electric bill when I stopped leaving my computer on all day long.
If your saucepans/pots have a heavy base, turn the heat off just before the meal is cooked as the retained heat will finish the cooking process and you will save some money on power bills.
Plan your meals, so you can buy everything you need in the one trip. Try to do all your shopping in one trip instead of running out a few times a week to pick up this and that, because in the end you will spend a lot more. I agree with this - I'[m a big impulse buyer and more trips to the store means more impulse buys.
Another good way to save money is to make lists, i.e. grocery and shopping lists. This helps stop impulse buying and saves on fuel if you can get everything done in one day. Make your grocery lists from the local store advertisements and check to make sure you have coupons for items on sale and anything else on your list. This way you don't forget and leave the coupons at home. It's hard to not deviate from the list, but this is an effective way of saving money. It's also good to plan your meals around what is onsale at the store.
Eat before going shopping, so you will not impulse buy just because you are hungry. This is a big one. When I go to the store hungry I buy tons of stuff as it all looks good to me.
Take your lunch to work instead of buying. If you spend $5 on lunch dining out, that's $25/week not counting sodas/snacks throughout the day. Where as a pack of lunch meat is $3 and a loaf of bread is $2.
With staple foods like toothpaste, hand soap, shampoo, non perishable foods you use often etc look into buying in bulk and where possible use coupons! However, don’t buy something you don’t need just because you have a coupon. I think you usually come out better with coupons.
If there is a “glut” of food items that you use regularly and the price is good plus the budget will extend, buy extra and freeze. This will save you buying these items when they are at normal price or out of season.
Bread, milk, yoghurt and many other things will all keep well in the freezer and taste fresh when you take them out to use, so again if they are on special or cheap get a little more to freeze for a later date.
Instead of having a night out, have a night in and invite your friends around. Hire a DVD to watch, play cards and you can take in it turns to go to each other’s house for a night. This way you will still enjoy the company of your friends plus you will all save some money. A movie theater near me plays second-run movies for $0.50 one day a week so that's when I try to go out. Normal prices there are only $2.50, as opposed to $8.75 at the first-run cinema. I only go to the second-run one. I also watch Blockbuster for their used DVD sales. When they are having a 4 for $20 sale I load up, watch the movies and then sell them on Amazon Marketplace. I usually end up selling a few for more than I paid for them and always come out ahead in the long run.
If you have Pay/Cable Television with movie channels, consider how often you watch the movies, because you might find it works out cheaper to hire a DVD when you want a certain movie rather than paying for ones that you never watch.
Original post here.