Article originally published on Girfriends Galore AZ Blog.

Even as the economy picks up (and they’re telling us it is), we have things we do day in and day out that we know we can do without or ways that we can make changes to save money. Much as none of us wants to admit it, we’re not getting younger and retirement for some of us is closer than we care to think about. Even small changes you make today in your spending can have a huge impact years down the road. So, here are some ideas you can use today to make “change” for tomorrow . . . and not all of these are “chump change” either.

Something you probably have done in the past, but now is a good time to do it again – Record your spending! All you have to do is write it down in a small notebook and keep it handy so that you can record your spending over a two-week period. Make sure to write down every time you take money out of your wallet or use that debit or heaven-forbid credit card. This will help you see what you are spending frivolously and what those essential expenses you can’t live without are. Here are some tips you can use to save money.

All-Purpose Tips:

•  After you’ve done your two-week review, pick two or three things that you can do without. Is it that extra latte you get every afternoon?

•  Do you have a membership to a health club or another monthly fee that you pay that you don’t use? Cancel it! If it’s a health club, remember that a walk in the sunshine is a great way to get your exercise and all the vitamin D you need!

•  Keep your car tuned up and in good running condition and don’t forget your tires – keeping them inflated to the right psi will save you money on gas!

•  Everyone dreads it, but pick up the phone and make a couple of calls:

•  Call you credit card companies and ask them to lower your interest rate. They may say “no” but it is definitely worth the phone call. This can add up big over the course of a year.

•  Call your cable or internet provider. They are all after your business and don’t want to let existing customers slip away. By bundling your services, such as cell phone, cable, internet and home phone you may be able to realize some huge savings.

• Remember to unplug your appliances and your cords for your chargers from the wall. Even when you have disconnected the device from the charger, the charger still pulls energy.

Food and Dining Out Tips:

•  Shop for your food and household products once a week. And, always take your coupons with you so that if you do have to run in for one item, you will be able to save even on that single purchase.

•  Don’t be afraid to buy generic – it is almost always cheaper (unless you have that coupon with you for the name-brand) and DO ask your favorite store if they accept other store’s coupons.

•  Short on time every week? Check out grocery services online – you may find that between time, gas to go to the store and the unexpected impulse buying we all are famous for, you may actually save money with a service instead of shopping yourself.

•  Invite friends over, but instead of you preparing the entire meal, do a potluck where you provide the main course and have your friends bring over other dishes  that would go with it. Everything from vegetables and salads to desserts are all things you can use to involve everyone in the fun! One thing to make sure of though is that everyone doesn’t bring dessert. Ask your friends what they want to bring and record it so you know immediately if you have too many of one thing and not enough of another.

•  Instead of a night out at the movies, consider going to your local library and checking our their choices of videos. Can you say “free”? And, while you’re there, pick up a good book to read when you eat your sack lunch in the park instead of sitting in the dreary lunchroom at work. (Get the added benefit of exercise – walk to the park or where you’re going to eat and get some of that vitamin D from the sun at the same time).

•  Visit your local community events page online and see what is going on in your community. Many times they will have free concerts and other fun events that will get you out of the house – BUT bring case and leave the plastic behind. If they will let you bring in bottled water and snacks, take advantage of that because those vender prices can rack up pretty quickly.

•  And, last but not least remember the old adage: Wait and if you still want something in 30 days then go out and buy it.