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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Slash your grocery bill
Monthly savings up to: $183*

Shop once a week. The more trips you make to the store, the likelier you are to buy on impulse because you see more tempting items. About two-thirds of purchases are unplanned; cut that in half to save $143 a month (if you spend $100 a week on groceries).

Give up the bottle. Stop drinking bottled water and instead buy a filter for your faucet (about $34, plus $25 for replacements). If your family consumes 12 gallons a month, you'll save about $15.

Eat what's ripe. Out-of-season produce costs 20% to 50% more than it does when it's in season. For a list of what's in season when, go to fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. Estimated savings: $7 a month.

Differentiate between clean and dirty. Organic produce costs $1 to $2 more than the conventional kind. Cut your pesticide intake by going organic on the dirtiest produce (apples, lettuce) and conventional on the cleanest (kiwi, tomatoes). For a list of clean and dirty fruits and veggies, go to foodnews.org. Savings: $18 a month.


NEXT: Ditch your second (or third) car
Last updated August 17 2009: 9:37 AM ET
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Note: Assumes spending $55 a month on produce ($35 on organics), one-third of it out of season.
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