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5 effortless ways to save money

It's easy to overspend when starting out, so here are ideas for cutting down expenses.

Young adults may find it difficult to save toward big financial goals — such as buying a house — while still enjoying their hobbies and social lives. The good news: You don't have to sacrifice fun with these easy ways to save money.

Use Coupons: Several websites and apps offer great deals to save on hundreds of items whether you're at the grocery store or the mall. Sort your printed coupons by retailer or store section in a binder and keep them in your car for easy access.

Host a Potluck Dinner: Cooking meals at home is usually healthier than eating out, so skip happy hour "deals" and host a potluck dinner with friends instead. Set a budget beforehand and ask each person to bring one or two entrees, sides, drinks or desserts.

Find Free Activities: Local community calendars often list events and activities many of which are free to the public. If none pique your interest, make up your own: Go on a walking tour of interesting spots in your neighborhood or city, take up geocaching, or look into volunteering for a local community organization.

Shop Secondhand: Browsing secondhand stores is a great way to find deals on clothes, books, sports equipment and furniture. Before purchasing, always check the quality of the items and make sure the offer is legitimate. You can also refresh your wardrobe by organizing a clothes swap, or make some extra cash by selling unwanted clothes to a local consignment store or one online, like Tradesy or Poshmark.

Reduce Electric Usage: Household appliances that stay plugged in could account for up to 10 percent of your energy usage even when they're not in use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Unplug certain items, such as computers, DVD players, coffeemakers, lamps, phone chargers and other kitchen items, to help reduce your electric bill.


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