This is a guest post by Scott.

In tough economic times, many people are looking at ways to save money. With rising inflation and the dollar having decreased buying power, it is more important than ever you make your money go as far as possible. In general terms, you would need $700 in 2011 to buy the same amount $100 would have bought in 1962.

Ten Tips to Save Money in 2012

1. Turn Off the TV

The average cost of a basic cable package, without fees and taxes, is $50 a month, which adds up to a total cost of $600 a year. By switching to an online streaming service, you won’t have to miss out on your favorite movies and TV-series. Netflix’s streaming package is $7.99 a month with no additional fees or taxes. That leaves you a cost savings of $504 a year.

Note from Stefan: You probably know how I hate television. Serious, this number one tip can save you LOTS of time and money.

2. Become a List Shopper

The easiest way families will blow their budget is at the grocery store, especially if you go shopping for groceries when you are hungry. Write down a list of all the essentials you need and stick to the list. You can also sign up for customer reward programs. Be on the scope for sales in order to find the best price or try your hand at couponing. Ten years ago, the cost of milk was $2.00 a gallon, now it is hard to find for under $3.00 unless you look for the sales.

3. Pay Your Credit Card Debt

Another significant drain on the family’s budget is credit card debt. The average American family has ten credit cards. Consider keeping only two with the lowest interest rates and balances. If you cannot afford to pay more than the minimum monthly payment, pay more on the cards with the highest interest rates. Call the credit card number on the back of your cards and ask for an interest rate reduction. If they say no at first, ask to talk to a supervisor and explain you can take your business elsewhere. Most of the time, they will reduce the interest rate. However, this really only works if your account is in good standing and you have been making the payments on time.

4. Kick Bad Habits to the Curb

If you have never sat down and figured out how much money you spend on smoking every year, just on cigarettes alone, not including doctor bills or increased insurance premiums, you may want to consider doing just that. Most people who are smokers will smoke a pack per day and the average cost of a pack of cigarettes, depending on your brand, is $6.87. That is an average cost of $48.09 a week, $192.36 a month and $2500.68 a year.

5. Turn Off…Everything

Turn all electrical devices completely off when they are not in use and pretty soon you will see the savings on your utility bill. If an electrical device has a power light that stays on even when it is turned off, it is still drawing electricity and costing you money. Over time, you will start to see a savings.

6. Get Your Yard Sale On

In the past, used items seemed to get stigmatized and everyone was all about buying everything brand new. This is not the case anymore. If going to garage sales is not your thing, try searching classified sites online like Craigslist or auction sites like eBay. You can also visit second hand stores or consignment shops for a significant savings over the cost of retail.

7. Try Your Hand at Gardening

Growing your own vegetables is stress-relieving and saves you a ton of money. Grow your own tomatoes and make your own spaghetti and pizza sauces. It is simple to do and it saves you from buying bland and tasteless store bought sauces. You also do not need a lot of room to garden most vegetables, especially tomatoes. An outdoor deck will work fine. Do some research about container gardening to find more cost-effective ways of growing your own food.

Note from Stefan: I’m growing my own peppers – amazing taste and they are growing in my growing in my window :)

8. Car Maintenance

Keep your car in good running order and you can save yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repair costs. Also, be sure to keep your tires aired up according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. You lose 1% gas mileage for every 2 PSI your tires are under, so keeping them aired up is almost like getting free gas.

9. Home Maintenance

The same concept applies to your home. Fix leaks as soon as they appear in order to prevent future problems with rot, mold or mildew which can be expensive to remedy. Make sure all your windows are sealed properly to prevent the loss of heat in the winter and cool air in the summer.

10. Create a Budget

Creating a budget can be one of the best ways to see where and how you spend your money and the areas that offer the most potential for saving money. Stick to your budget and do not give up if you go over, just reaffirm your decision to save money and try again.

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Note from Stefan: Probably going to write an entire article about it, but if you want to learn more ways to save money and to handle money responsibly, check outI Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. Best personal finance book if you ask me.

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