Cut your spending by $500 a month

In today's tight economy, who doesn't want to free up some cash? Trim the fat but not the fun from your budget - here's how.

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Tip judiciously
Monthly savings up to: $10*

Somehow during these heady past few years, 20% became the new 15% as far as restaurant tips are concerned. It's time, perhaps, for the budget-conscious to rethink that. Waiters and waitresses depend on tips to make a living, so cutting your tip budget to zero doesn't seem ethical. But dialing back tips to the 15% baseline -- and reserving 20% for extraordinary service -- can slice some of the expense from your monthly dining bill.

NEXT: Take a home-swap vacation.
Last updated August 17 2009: 9:37 AM ET
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Note: Assumes six meals out a month at an average pre-tip cost of $40; going from a standard 20% tip to five meals tipped at 15% and one at 20%.
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