What is prosperity? Most of us think of more money, greater returns on our investments, more liquid cash, etc.; however, prosperity should be thought of as more of everything! More money, more life/work balance, more time, more family/recreation time, when we have those we have true prosperity. I have listed 101 ways to prosper in 2018. Not all of them will apply to everyone, but I hope that you will explore at least half of them and begin to see true progress. Here are 101 ways to prosper.
This is a big one! Improving your credit score will not only help you get better interest rates but it will also save on insurance. Credit monitoring is so simple now using Credit Karma. You should check your credit score frequently to insure no fraudulent activity on your accounts. Identity theft is higher than it has ever been, stay diligent. If you have a low credit score, work on raising it. Equifax and Credit Karma give you free advice on how to increase your credit score, take advantage of it.
Cover you windows with plastic. You can buy the kits at most home supply stores.
Replace furnace filters. Keep appliances maintained.
Turn off lights when not needed. Use surge protectors.
Unplug chargers and appliances when not is use, some will still draw electricity even if not in use.
Switch single pane windows for more energy efficient ones. Install storm windows.
Switch to thermos drapes that will block out the cold.
Cover the turbo fans on your roof.
Switch to LEDs.
Winterizing around doors will help; however, you could still have air leakage around bottom of door. Invest or make draft stoppers. There are several DIY samples on the Internet and Pinterest.
Invest in a programmable thermostat and reduce temperature for when the house is empty.
Reduce the temperature setting on your water heater.
Have your electric company do an energy audit. Most usually they are free, and they will give some pointers on where/how you can save money.
Invest in solar panels.
Check the insulation in your attic. Adding insulation will help keep the heat in and the cold out.
Install low water commodes and shower fixtures.
Switch to a high energy efficient washer and dryer. Do wash in cold water.
Increase the deductible on your home and auto insurance. Switch from pricey whole life insurance to term insurance. Enroll in a flexible spending account and a health savings account. Consider a home warranty if you have older appliances or if you live in an older home.
Bundle your home insurance with your auto insurance. Bundle home entertainment.
Get some price quotes, price shop for lower insurance rates.
Use your microwave to heat water and left overs versus using the oven or stove top.
Switch to energy efficient appliances. Buy good quality used appliances.
Use your dishwasher. You can store the dishes in the dishwasher and just run it when it is full versus washing dishes two to three times a day.
Create a budget and stick to it. Using a budget tracking app like Mint.
Plan your shopping around your local sales flyers.
Plan a menu and buy just what you need. Plan the menu around your local sales flyer.
Become a coupon expert.
Take advantage of those rebates.
Watch for buy one-get one bargains.
Comparison shop. Most stores do a price match and will honor other stores coupons and sales. You don’t have to limit this to just groceries. I price compared on my phone for everything I bought over Christmas and saved a lot.
Grow a garden.
Sell your surplus produce at a Farmer’s Market. Sell your outdated appliances.
If you don’t want to mess with selling your used appliances, donate them to Goodwill and you can take fair market value off on your taxes. Most charity organizations will give you a receipt.
Pre-buy your propane during the off season. Most gas companies will offer an off-season price that is lower than what you will pay during the demand months.
Keep your freezer full. Most freezers operate at a better energy efficiency when full. Buy in bulk and freeze half. Invest in a sealer that removes the air from the package to reduce freezer burn.
Buy items used the most in bulk. Avoid stress spending. Use what’s called the “10-second rule,” if you see something you want, leave it on the shelf while you do the rest of your shopping. If you determine it is something you really need, go back and get it. Most usually you will discover it was an impulse purchase and you didn’t really need it. Take advantage of “after holiday” sales. Try shopping at thrift stores/flea markets. Buy just what you need, especially beauty products. If you are like me, you have a cabinet of the newest trend in beauty products that aren’t even used.
Avoid eating out. Use left over. For example: if you cook a roast one night, use the left overs to make a stew. Invest in a crock pot. Make your own baby food. Switch expensive name brand staples for generic. Try cooking with less meat, meat is expensive unless you can buy in bulk (share a butchered hog with friends, etc.). Try switching products (for instance: switch to rice versus potatoes, etc.). Try homemade versus bought (for instance: bread is much better when made at home and is much cheaper than store bought). Use fruit from your garden to make home made jelly. Make your own drinks versus buying expensive sodas.
Instead of buying your lunch at work or going out to eat, try packing your lunch. Switching three lunches each week could save you close to $500 a year.
Try carpooling, sharing rides, or public transportation. Sharing transportation not only saves you money but saves other participants as well. Some large organizations have ride-sharing programs.
Switch to bi-monthly payments. Not only will this even out your cash flow each month (instead of one large payment you will make two smaller payments) but it will also get your mortgage paid off quicker, saving your thousands of dollars. Consider refinancing for a lower interest rate. Refinance your mortgage to consolidate all your expense. You can pay off your high interest credit cards and gain a tax deduction at the same time.
Shop around for low interest free balance transfers. If you have a high interest credit card, shop around for one where you can consolidate to a lower interest rate. Better yet, destroy your credit cards. If we ditch our credit cards and use cash, we instantly curtail our spending to just what we have available to spend, instant frugal spender. Win-win. Take advantage of 90-days no interest opportunities.
Take advantage of on-line bill pay. Switch your accounts to high interest paying accounts. Roll you purchases to the nearest dollar. Keep track of your bank balances. Some banks have fees they charge if an account sits dormant for too long. Monitor 401K rates. Switching to a higher interest-bearing 401K will benefit you in retirement. Buy your IRA in January versus April, that will give you an additional four months of interest. Invest in value stocks, use a broker if you aren’t comfortable with investing on your own. If you are investment savvy, ditch the broker and save yourself their fees. There several companies that allow you to do your own buying and selling of stocks and bonds. Beware of “too good to be true” investments.
Make your own cleaning supplies. More and more people are finding great advantages to making their own. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about allergies to store bought products.
Consolidate loans. (For instance: student loans, automobile, major purchases, etc.)
Switch plans. Cancel features which aren’t need on your service. Shop around for better plans. Try no-contract/pre-purchase plans. Most of us pay much more than we really need to for a phone. Don’t run out and invest in the newest gadgets/phones on the market. Not only are they very expensive but most of us don’t use our phones to maximum capacity anyway. Don’t use your phone as a hot spot (unless you have an unlimited plan). Compare your plan, if you have unlimited, are you using everything you pay for. If you have large rollover data, then you aren’t using everything you are paying for and could get away with reducing your data plan. Ask to have some of the fees waivered. Check to see if your company gets you a discount on your cell phone.
Take advantage of employer benefits. If you aren’t sure what benefits are available. Check with your company’s human relations department. A lot of companies will do matching for retirement deposits.
Have an outdated item? Try refurbishing it versus throwing away and buying something new. For instance: an old entertainment cent could be refurbished for toy storage in a kid’s room. An old dresser could be converted into a hallway bench.
Join a co-op. There are several co-op where families join, and they are able to share expenses. For instance, a community garden. Some companies are co-ops and will pay you a cooperation sharing check at the end of each year.
Consider doing local vacations versus pricy vacations.
Watch your community calendars for free events.
Cancel pricey club memberships.
Cancel magazine subscriptions.
Sign up for reward programs. Most restaurants, theaters, and stores offer a reward program. Take advantage of deals. Groupon offers a lot of discount opportunities. Dealflicks offers discounts on movies and concessions. Redbox offers free rentals. Most of the restaurants will give you a free meal after so many meals. Walgreens gives you points which can applied to future purchases. If you aren’t sure if your store has a rewards program, ask.
There are so many savings apps available (for free). Some that you will want to check out are: Ibotta, ebates, Walmart, Checkout 51, and Mint, to name a few. You can scan the same receipt into Ibotta and Walmart for double savings. Mint is a budget tracking app, it will help you stay on budget. There are a lot more available, I just named four that I hope you will begin using right away. Ask your friends, they may be using an app with great success and when you share with a friend, there is usually an incentive.
Refer a Friend.
Like the apps I listed above, most companies will offer a refer a friend bonus. If you like a service you are using or a company, check to see if they offer a refer a friend incentive. Direct TV offers a $50 refer a friend bonus, but your friend must have your account number when they sign up.
Do you have a friend that has children? Swap babysitting. It’s a win-win. You both get a night out with free babysitting. Do you have a skill that could be shared? Trade your skill/service with a friend or business. For instance: if you re a hairdresser you could swap hair cuts to a friend that does manicures or massages. Or you could swap with an accountant for business services.
Most everything can be bought at a cheaper price. Don’t take the price tag at face value. Especially big purchase items, barter for a better price. Farmer’s markets and flea markets are great places to barter for needed items.
Tickets to theme parks and events can be purchased in advance or through a broker where you can get steep discounts. Some radio stations have tickets that can be purchased at a discount. Check around, again, take advantage of price matching. Take advantage of company affiliation discounts. For example: most hotels offer a discount if you are an AAA or AARP member. If you are in the military or retired, ask for a discount. Some businesses don’t advertise that they offer a discount, but if you ask they will usually give it to you. What is the worst they can do, say no?
Keep your tires inflated. Properly inflated tires will save on gas.
Like I said earlier, shop around. Download a gas price tracker app to be sure you are getting the best price available. Keep your tank full.
Adhering to maintenance guidelines. Take your vehicle in for regular maintenance. Change the oil as prescribed by manufacture. Winterize vehicle.
Watch your speed. If you tend to have a lead foot, try using your cruise control to maintain your speed. Following the speed limit will not only save you gas but it will also save you on tires.
Buy a good quality used car versus a new one off the lot. Typically, your vehicle depreciates 10% the minute you drive it off the lot.
You can save several hundred dollars a year by increasing your deductible. You can also save considerably by bundling home and auto. Price shop for insurance. Check for discounts. Some insurance companies give you a discount for being accident free, some will offer a discount if you are a AAA/AARP member, and some will give you a discount through your employer. Watch for duplicate benefits. For instance: if you have free towing through your cellular carrier, then you don’t need it on your automobile insurance. If the shop you use always has a loaner, then you don’t need rental vehicles on your automobile insurance. Look for the hidden charges!
Set your vehicle loan on auto-payment and round the payment up to the nearest dollar.
Save your spare change! Most banks have a coin machine where you can run your spare change through their machine and get a receipt for cash or debit card.
Take advantage of tax credits and tax deductions. Use your life long learning credit. Some tuition might be deductible as well.
If you use a credit card for business purchases or large purchases, consider switching to one that offers miles or points. If you travel at all, taking advantage of miles will save hundreds in air fare.
Are you crafty? Why not turn your hobby into a business? It is so easy to set up an online presence or you could participate in local vendor events. Consider signing up with apps and companies where they pay you to do small tasks. For instance: Field Agent pays you to scan certain items in your local stores, WeGoLook pays you to take pictures and perform small tasks, Gigwalk pays you to do small tasks, and Easyshift pays you for shopping and eating out and providing a critique. There are many more available! Do you have a flair with words? Try some freelance gigs like Mechanical Turk, Freelancer, Upwork, etc. Are you an expert in your skill? Publish a book using Createspace on Amazon or Kindle Direct Publishing. Consider renting items that aren’t used very often (camper, spare rooms, etc.).
Put it in writing. When you commit in writing you are more apt to stick to it. Create a saving plan, create a debt-pay off plan, or create a vision board.
Keep a journal. Write down everything you buy and then revisit it at the end of the month and note where you spent money you didn’t really need to spend. Keep a food journal to help stay on budget. Keep a fitness/wellness journal, it can be very therapeutic and might even help with stress spending or/and stress eating.
Go through your closet and get rid of unneeded/unused items. Sell your excess or have a garage sale. Remember: one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
Quit bad habits. Are you a smoker? Keep track of what you spend in a month on cigarettes, then consider dropping the habit.
Do you play the lottery? Consider skipping the next purchase. Save buying a lottery ticket as an incentive for saving a certain amount of money.
Apply for scholarships. The smaller scholarships give you a better chance because most people go for the big paying scholarships. Apply for grants, if you qualify. Ask for company tuition reimbursement. Go to a community college.
Potty-train at an earlier age. Use cloth diapers. Share child care/carpooling.
Opt for a local park versus an expensive venue. Use fresh wild flowers versus large bouquets. Rent your wedding gown.
Explore ways to benefit from your retirement account (for instance: employer matching, take advantage of catch up benefits, etc.) Wait longer to collect your social security checks. Each year you hold off will increase your benefits.
Drugs and Prescriptions.
Ask your doctor for samples. Take advantage of prescription incentive programs.
Stay inspired. Congratulate yourself on your successes.
I hope this helps you find ways to save and become prosperous this year!
Let us know what you think about these ways to prosper in the comments below!
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"I am an aspiring romance novelist. However, in my real life, I work for the U.S. Army as an Instructional System Specialist. I also teach evening classes at our local University. I have a Master's degree in Educational Technology and one in Informational Technology. I m currently working on my Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. I live in rural Missouri with my wonderful husband. Together we have nine children and 20 grandchildren. My hobbies are writing, reading and spending time with my loved ones. I love to do crafts and sell my crafts at vendor events. I also own two home businesses that I incorporate my crafts into."