Even if you have a job that pays well, it’s hard to gain complete financial security. Unexpected expenses tend to pop up at the worst time possible, leaving you strapped for cash. To improve your financial standing, the first step is to focus on saving. The more money you have tucked away, the better prepared you’ll be for any unexpected expense that may come your way.

Saving is easy, especially when you have a plan of attack. Keep reading to learn five money secrets that you’ll wish you knew years ago.

1. Sell vs. Collecting

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It can be hard to part with belongings that we’ve had for a long time. It can also be hard to resist the temptation of buying a new pair of shoes or a new wardrobe for the upcoming season. But, one of the biggest money wasters that we all face is buying things that we don’t really need.

How many times have you been coerced to buy a small item when standing in line at a local retail store? These small cheap items are placed where they are to encourage impulse buys. It’s also all too easy to want to buy the latest and greatest fashion trends.

But if you’re looking to save money, now’s the time to start selling vs. collecting. Old clothes, shoes, accessories, and electronic devices can land you some serious cash, especially if the items are in good condition.

There are many benefits to selling versus buying. You’re able to save and de-clutter your home. Talk about a true win/win situation.

2. Don’t be Afraid to Coupon

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Couponing is nothing like it was in the past. Gone are the days of sitting down at the dinner table, clipping paper coupons one by one. While paper coupons are still a thing, digital coupons are all the hype these days.

With a few clicks, taps, and swipes, you can have access to hundreds of coupons for a variety of retail stores. You can even access coupons when you’re out and about shopping by using apps such as:

  • Shopkick
  • Ibotta
  • SnipSnap
  • SavingStar

Using these apps, you can find coupons and discounts that will help you effortlessly save.

3. Use Cash Back Websites

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Getting paid to shop may sound like a dream, but there are all sorts of websites out there that have turned it into reality. While there are websites that are strictly cash back websites, you’ll also find sites that offer cash back and other easy ways to earn money.

Swagbucks, Vindale Research, and OneOpinion all allow members to not only earn cash back when shopping online, these sites also allow users to earn cash by responding to surveys, watching videos, and other simple tasks.

Using the points from these sites you can choose to cash out via PayPal, or you can choose to redeem your points for free gift cards to some of your favorite retailers. You can check out a list of ways to get free gift cards on Careful Cents.

With the right cashback websites, you can save hundreds of dollars a year.

4. Minimize Eating Out

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Going out to eat vs. cooking a meal at home can be 2-3 times as expensive. Though it takes more planning to cook at home, the savings are well worth the time you have to spend cooking and serving a meal.

You can start the saving process by smartly grocery shopping. Always have a list of items that you need to buy so that you aren’t wandering around the store picking up everything that seems to be a good deal.

Grocery shopping may also make you more inclined to eating at home since you don’t want your food going to waste.

5. Bundle Services

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Getting services from the same provider is a great way to save hundreds of dollars a year. For example, if you own a home and a car, you’ll likely save money by bundling these two insurance policies under the same company. The same stands true for home services as well. You can save a lot by choosing the same provider for your internet, cable, and phone service.

Before bundling services, shop around to make sure that you’re getting the lowest price possible. This way, you can have peace of mind that you’ve found the best deal and that your cash is being used as wisely as possible.