Here are my best savings tips. What are yours?

     It’s so sweet when you find a good way to save money. I know I get giddy when I discover a way to spend less and still live well.

     There are a few things I do to shave money from my budget every month. To some it may seem like small savings, but as my grandmother, Big Mama, used to say, “You can’t have a dollar without a penny.”

     Some of the things we penny-pinchers do might seem obvious, but many people fail to take the small and simple steps to savings because they think that it doesn’t really add up. But it does. Here are ways to cut your spending: 

Bag your lunch at work. You could save$5 day or $1,300 a year.

Don’t burn money. The average pack-a-day smoker spends about $5 a day for cigarettes. That's $1,825 per year. Without even investing that money, you can save more than $18,000 over 10 years by kicking the habit.

Say, “I love you” more. Have you seen the price of cards lately? Nine out of 10 U.S. households buy greeting cards, with the average household purchasing 30 individual cards in a year. So don’t buy a greeting card for a kid who can’t read.

Drink more water (from the tap or water fountain). Think about the $2 a day you may spend during the week for a soda. That’s $500 a year. That could be used to buy books for a college kid.

Tell us in the comments section what savings tips you find most helpful.

And if you want to continue the personal finance conversation, check out The Washington Post’s Sweet Savings Event tonight (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. at 1150 15th St. NW in the District. I’ll be moderating a panel discussion about how to stretch your dollar.

Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column, “The Color of Money.”
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