12 ways to save money in 2012

Yes it's more than three months into 2012, but it's never too late to start saving some cash!

Although aimed 20somethings, most of these tips apply to savers of any age.

1. Set up direct deposit. Put a fixed amount of your monthly paycheck into a savings or investment account.

2. Contribute to your employer's 401(k).

3. Cook dinner at home; take a lunch to work. "By eating dinner out two nights a week instead of five and packing your lunch four days a week, you can save a ton of money."

4. Compare insurance rates. Shop around for lower premiums on car, health and renters' insurance.

5. Procrastinate before making impulse purchases.

6. Create a budget and stick to it.

7. Make breakfast. "Try making breakfast and coffee at home rather than (buying) a bagel and Starbucks coffee on the way to work every day. On average, I used to spend $6 every morning for breakfast. By making my own bagel and coffee at home, I'll save close to $80 per month."

8. Quit smoking.

9. Stay out of bars. "How many times have you said 'I'm sick of going to bars," and five hours later find yourself paying a bartender a $50 tab at a local pub. You can save a ton of cash by having friends over, buying cheap beer or finding something better to do with your nights and weekends. By cutting out the amount of time I spent in bars in 2011, I saved close to $2,000."

10. Stop paying bank fees. "While many big banks are struggling to survive and raising fees for retail customers, it's not your burden to bear. Look at your bank statements to see if you are overpaying for basic banking services."

11. Create shopping lists; pay with cash.

12. Use coupons/discounts. "A Sunday newspaper can pay for itself if you take time to clip grocery coupons."

Source: Eric Bell, founder of YoBucko.com

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