How to save $100 a month

Getting some extra cash in hand may be as simple as rethinking how you spend

Money -- we all need it and we can always use a little more in our pockets. But it's likely you probably are spending more than you need to on a regular basis, and consumer experts say with just a little bit of forethought and planning, you can make a big difference in your bank account.

Josh Elledge, founder of, has four key ways you can cut down on spending.

First, he said, start with how you shop for groceries.

"Stop buying what you need at the grocery store," Elledge said. "When you go into the grocery store, like, 'Oh, we need this, we need this," it's the most expensive way to shop."

Instead, Elledge recommends you stock up on most items only when they are on sale. Basically, plan for the future so you don't run out and won't be forced to pay full retail price.

"If you're only buying the BOGOs and you're like, 'We don't really need this', but you buy it anyway, you'll need that eventually for your kids' lunches or whatever," Elledge said. "A month or two from now when you need that item, when you truly need that, you just go to your pantry and boom, there it is. You got that item for 50 percent off as opposed to paying full shelf price for that. It is a big deal when you consider you could save a dollar or more on everything that you're putting into the cart. So if you put 40 items in the cart each trip, you could have saved $40 to $80 just buy timing your purchases. There are only a couple of categories like milk, eggs, fresh produce that generally you have a short shelf life, everything else totally fine. It's so easy to take a $700-$800 a month grocery budget down to $500-$600 a month grocery budget."

If you really want to maximize your savings, it's all about timing the use of coupons.

"When a coupon comes out, that's not generally the time to use that coupon, you want to use that coupon when its on sale for 50 percent off," Elledge said. "Now your Cheerios went from $4 to $2. I can show you have to find a $2 coupon. You apply that coupon and now guess what, our fans at our website, we get groceries for free."

Hand-in-hand with grocery planning comes meal planning -- so you stop eating out as much.

"Today Americans on average are now spending more money eating out then they are at the grocery store," Elledge said. "You have to do some planning ahead of time. Plan this all out one week in advance and by the end of the month, you can save your family $100 to $200 easily."

You can maximize savings again if you plan your meals around what you have at home already or the fresh produce and meats in your store's ad, rather than planning out meals and trying to make the sales work.

Elledge said lots of people like to eat out because it feels special, so he recommended you make some changes at home to make home-cooked meals feel like more of a treat.

"May invest in better ingredients, maybe invest in better cookware, utensils, whatever it is that makes it feel special for you," Elledge said.

If you can't resist that night out, keep an eye out for restaurant coupons or deals. You can often sign up on email lists for special discounts, and also keep on eye on the social media pages of your favorite eateries. Often, they post deals just for their followers.

His third tip: Call your service providers every couple of months to ask for deals.

"Cable companies, cell companies, service providers always have promotions and always have incentives but they're not going to tell the existing users unless they ask for them," Elledge said.

But Elledge said the key is all in how you ask.

"Make that person your friend," Elledge said. "'Well, this is what I experienced with Verizon, not you, you're just a person, this is a Verizon thing. How can you help me with this?' Try asking, 'Do you have the power to help in this situation?' When you ask a question like that, most customer service people are like, 'Oh, you want to see power, I'll show you power,' and they'll help you out."

Last on his list, Elledge urges everyone to do whatever they can to lose their car payments.

"The average new car payment is over $400, $479 per car," Elledge said. "We haven't had a car payment in over five years. That's close to $20,000 I've saved by driving an older car. An older car has lower depreciation, when you drive a new car, you're losing a lot of money month after to month in depreciation."

If you really do still want a new car, he suggests trying out an upgrade on your existing car to make it feel new.

"Maybe you upgrade the car stereo, maybe you take it into a car detail shop and spend a $100 and say, 'Give it the works, make it look like a new car again,'" Elledge said. "That would be a much better use of your money and continue to drive that old car with no car payments."

So now you've saved some money, what do you do with all the extra cash?

Elledge recommends first making sure you have at least two to three months of income in savings stashed away and any debt paid down as much as possible. That way you're set in case of an emergency and don't have to make any bad financial decisions in a pinch.

But after that?

"Would you rather go on luxurious vacations once a year, would you rather have money set aside for your kids' college? We should have a fun and abundant life, with just a little bit of forethought and strategy, anyone can have that."

About the Authors:

Tara Evans is an executive producer and has been with News 6 since January 2013. She currently spearheads News 6 at Nine and specializes in stories with messages of inspiration, hope and that make a difference for people -- with a few hard-hitting investigations thrown in from time to time.

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.