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A Saver's Dozen

Save more, spend less, try these free ideas

People can be quite ingenious. Share your own tips on how to save on everything, send us an e-mail telling us how you save and make ends meet. Here are a dozen tips from savers around the country.

Look at each $1 bill you get and note the letter of the alphabet in the circle on the left half. (These seals denote Federal Reserve regions and run from A to L.) Save bills with a letter of significance to you for specific purposes, such as C for a gift for Carol, or B for a new bicycle. You can easily save $500 or more a year without missing a dollar here and a dollar there. —Leita Spears, Waldron, Ark.

Freeze your credit cards—literally. Soak them in water and put them in the freezer to prevent you from using them. —Kip Kiebke, Hartford, Conn.

Round up in your checkbook. When I write a check for $13.63, I write it as $14.00 in my checkbook. I do the same thing with debits. At the end of the month, I calculate my savings and transfer that to an online savings account. The change really adds up, and since I don’t see the money, I don’t spend it. —Dawn Carrington, Charleston, S.C.

Wait 24 hours before you buy anything that costs more than $100. If you still want it the next day, buy it. Most of the time, you’ll forget what it was. —Marcia Brixey, Silverdale, Wash.

Next: Save on movie popcorn. >>

Don’t buy canned goods at the grocery until at least half of the ones on your shelf are gone. I find that I often don’t use the cans at the back of the shelf just because I can’t see them. —Balika Haakan­son, Kodiak, Alaska

Keep condiment packages given to you when you eat takeout food. Don’t steal them, but save them. They add up. —Anna M. Aquino, Kissimmee, Fla.

Buy the huge popcorn at the movies for about $6. A small bag is about $4, so instead of buying four small ones, we buy one huge bag, split it and save $10. —Cathie Ericson, Wilsonville, Ore.

Take online surveys from legitimate market researchers in your spare time and make $100 or more a month. —Tricia Meyer, Indianapolis

Stick with basic recipes when you cook. New ones almost always add costs for new spices, specific cuts of meat and other fancy ingredients or equipment you’ll never use again. —Tonya Gustafson, Seattle

Go barefoot more. You’ll buy fewer shoes. —Jan Patenaude, Marble, Colo.

Turn off call waiting. It saved me $5 a month, or $60 a year. —John Ulzheimer, Atlanta

Make all your kids wear white socks. When they lose a sock or wear a hole in it, keep the other as a spare. With three kids, it saves our family about $40 a year. —Julie Parrish, West Linn, Ore.

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