5 simple changes to help you save money

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON — If you’re looking to save some money this time of year, look no further. You can do it by making five simple changes.

Yahoo! Finance put together a list of five products and services you might be able to live without. If you can, it could save you about $1,500 a year.

Here’s what you can do to save a few bucks:

Skip those lottery tickets.

Yahoo reports Americans spent $58 billion last year on lottery tickets. That’s about $200 per American. Instead, it recommends tossing $5 a week into a retirement account of your choice. It says over 30 years with 6 percent interest, you could squirrel away $9,000.

Forget that extended warranty from retailers.

Tod Marks, senior editor for Consumer Reports, calls them “a sucker’s bet.” He says you’re betting a product will break at a very specific time and the timing rarely works out. He says store warranties typically cover stove ranges for three years when studies show only one in five ranges breaks during that period. Most analysts will tell you extended warranties are a waste of money.

Rethink your unlimited cell phone plan.

Yahoo suggests tracking your usage to see if you can drop down one payment bracket on your plan. That alone could save you $240 a year. Of course if you utilize unlimited texts and calls, you’ll want to stick with the plan.

Skip buying cleaning supplies.

Consider making your own. You can make your own glass cleaner for example using white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water.

Avoid using plastic bags.

Skip the daily plastic bags at the grocery store and individual sandwich plastic bags for lunches. Instead, spend a little more on reusable bags and eliminate waste. Or, you can pack certain food items in reusable plastic containers.

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