3. Anticipate big purchases

Saving used to be a struggle for me, particularly for large items, such as washers and dryers. I used them without thinking that one day I would need to replace them if they broke down.

To solve the problem, I started setting aside a little bit of money each time I washed a load of clothes, like you would in a laundromat. This tactic ensures that I have money when it's time to replace these appliances. It has also encouraged me to wash my clothes less because I'm paying each time I use the machines.

2. Take a tax class

When I first got out of college, I tried to do my taxes myself. Dealing with income forms from three states proved too frustrating, so I went to an expert. A friend suggested I take a basic tax class to get a better handle on my filings. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I've done my own taxes since then. I save more just by knowing the deductions and credits for which I'm eligible.

1. Drop a habit

It's not just bad habits, like smoking, that cost you a ton of money; everyday expenses that seem marginal can also cut into your budget. For example, I was able to wean myself off soda and sports drinks, a habit that cost $1,000 a year. Drinking tap water has been good for my wallet and my health.

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Jeffrey Strain has been a freelance personal finance writer for the past 10 years helping people save money and get their finances in order. He currently owns and runs SavingAdvice.com.

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