Saving is the cornerstone of a sound financial future. It is the only way to ensure that you are safe financially when it counts most. The good news? Learning to save is simple.  The following tips will help you save money and set you on strong financial footing.

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1. Save Money on Automotive Costs

  • Clean your filter. Research shows that a clean air filter can improve gas mileage by almost 7%. This translates to a savings of $100 for every 10,000 miles that your car covers.
  • Fill up your tires with the recommended amount of pressure. If your car is below the required level by 3 PSI (pounds per square inch), you lose 1% of your gas mileage. Given that the majority of car tires tend to be 5-10 PSI below the recommended level, you stand to save up to 4% of your gas mileage.
  • Do NOT use premium gasoline. While many people take pride in using gasoline of a higher grade than is needed for their car, it's an unnecessary expenditure. On average, premium gas costs 20-40 cents extra per gallon as compared to regular unleaded. By filling up with regular, you save up to $250 a year, or $5 weekly.
  • Walk to work. If your house is close to your place of work, try walking. This way, you save money and get exercise. AAA states that the amount of money that an average American spends on commuting is $4000 per year. Assume that you walk to work and invest the money that you would otherwise spend on gas: at 4% per year interest rate, you will have accumulated $535,519.01 by the end of your 40-year career.

2. Use a Food Calendar to Avoid Wasting Food

It's annoying to discover that milk, veggies or leftovers in the fridge have gone bad. What's more annoying? Realizing that every time you throw out food, you throw out your money along with it.

If you discard food often, consider using a food calendar that you display on your fridge. Every time you put your groceries away, indicate on the calendar the date that it will expire. For instance, you can write the expiry date of your milk (March 15th: milk expires). Then, commit to using that item before it goes bad.

Having a food calendar can not only prevent you from wasting food—it can also provide meal inspiration. Knowing that you have to consume mushrooms and chicken may lead to something like Thai Chicken coconut soup.

3. Pick Your Heat Source Wisely

During winter, it makes sense to use the oven frequently. It will not only keep your room toasty, it will also reduce the need to have another source of heat—a source that likely comes with a high price tag.

In the summer, it is best to minimize your oven usage, so that the temperature and your air conditioning bills stay at a minimum as well.

4. Drink Tap Water

Bottled water is not worth the price! Most of the bottled water you buy, despite the brand names, is comparable to the water you can get—for free—from your own sink. Don't pay as much as ten times more for water you can easily fetch from the tap.

Drinking tap water even when you're out is another way to avoid overspending. Research shows that many bars and restaurants charge a lot more on beverages, especially alcoholic ones, than on food. Research from the United States Census Bureau indicates that families could save as much as $800 every year by drinking tap water, rather than soda and other beverages, when dining out.

5. Use the Internet to Know the Best Time to Buy

When you buy items that you need early, rather than waiting until the last minute, you'll be able to save and have a better selection of options. Many sites can help you find the best deals, no matter what you're searching for:

  • Kayak tells you when the plane tickets are at their fairest rates
  • CamelCamelCamel allows you to create a wish list and notifies you when Amazon items are discounted.

You could save a lot of money by buying when the price is right.

6. Repair Leaks to Save on Water Bills

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American home wastes roughly 10,000 gallons of water yearly due to leaks. By replacing your leaky toilet with an efficient one that meets EPA's "WaterSense" standard, the average family of 4 could save up to $2,000 in water bills over the lifetime of a toilet.

7. Save on Entertainment

Today, all information is available with a few clicks. Do you really need that annual magazine subscription? Consider reading the online version. Rather than buying or renting DVDs, consider a cheaper, online-only version of a service like Netflix.

It's likely that your favorite show is available on the Internet. Consider canceling your cable or other TV provider to save a monthly expense, or compare the bundle offers that your local provider has.

The bottom line—you don't have to earn a lot of money in order to save. By looking at your expenses and cutting back on the things that you don't really need, you can start to save in unlikely ways.