TODAY   |  May 09, 2013

4 tips to help you spend less money

Carmen Wong Ulrich, financial columnist for Good Housekeeping, reveals strategies for spending less and saving more, including planning your grocery trips and meals in advance and shopping around for the best bank.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> this morning on "today's" money tips to help you spend less. carl wra is a column mist for good housekeeping making sfwleen.

>> we have club music to save money. i like the way we're coming in.

>> bam.

>> people just aren't conscience. you go out and you spend, and you don't often stop and make a plan, and a good place to start is when you go shopping for food.

>> yes. i recommend that folks right down their expenses. you will be surprised how much money you can spend in one day, and here's the thing. you can save thousands of dollars every year just by putting a couple of systems into place. for example, which food? did you know americans lose over $2,000 of their groceries to waste every year.

>> really?

>> it's simply about planning. plan your meals. there's a great app called food on the table. it has a meal planning app, which basically pulls together recipes, shops virtually at the grocery stores around you, gives you the best price, so it builds a shopping list for you. there's mother app push pen, and this one is all the coupons. let's say you have your shopping list . you go in, and you take the upc code , and you can the upc code , and you see the coupon. you get a local coupon. you can get a coupon from the manufacturer. when you go to the register, you just show them your phone.

>> you can show it off the phone, and they'll take it that way?

>> you know those little cards you have in your wallet, but the loyalty cards on your key chain , card star app will consolidate all those cards and put them on your phone.

>> there's no excuse. they make it pretty easy.

>> a lot of people don't think about this. shopping for a bank. i go to the one closest to me, and it's on the corner.

>> i'll take you shopping. here's what you want to do. the thing is that banks now on average $3 an atm withdrawal. $3 monthly maintenance fees , and we comparison shop the heck out of everything else. you should comparison shop your bank. it's a couple of hundred dollars in fees. go to my credit union .gov, and have a no fee bank. there are dozens out there.

>> are there some that you recommend, a couple?

>> a couple i recommend all the time allied bank , is another one. you just want to have free banking . it's out there. it's a matter of moving your money and finding it.

>> let's talk about this one. this is interesting. shop locally. keep it in the neighborhood.

>> well, a lot of the spending that we have is actually local in the neighborhood. for example, art classes for after school. my daughter went shopping around for after school programs. on my local yahoo message board . saves $350 in three months. it's a lot. also, handy man. anything thaw have somebody in the neighborhood come into your home and do something, can you shop that around too. aol has 900 communities. they advertise local businesses. you're going to save a lot of money.

>> you don't hang your own chandeliers?

>> i do not. i call my handy man.

>> another one you have is automate your life. what does that mean exactly?

>> how much would you pay for an extra hour of sleep?

>> the game show . $1. go low.

>> a lot. time is money . sleep is money. this is the way i quantify it. imagine if you were to pay your baby-sitter so you could take a nap, right? how much is that? let's say that's an hour. what if you automated almost everything in your life from the food shopping to the banking to other things, but also too what about, wag, yoyo, all these sites that you automate. toiletries, so they come automatically. consolidate it to a monthly shipment, and it's free shipping.

>> put your life on autopilot at that point.

>> you will get an extra hour of sleep.

>> one more thing, slightly off top ebbing here, but i think important. the emergency fund. i have always heard you should have different months ready to go.

>> even more. lots of people depend on you. absolutely. here's the thing. all this money that you save, which is probably adds up to several thousand a year if you take all of this wonderful advice, you can go to choose to, and it will show you how much of emergency fund you should have. make sure you keep all this extra money in another bank that you don't touch and it's not linked your checking. you won't be tempted.

>> i'm going to go on-line and find you a good handy man.

>> i'll find you a bank.