[In Pictures: 10 Ways to Save on Food Costs]
21. Use less energy. Small changes, like closing doors to unused rooms or turning off the air conditioner during the day, can make a serious dent in utility bills. So can unplugging appliances, turning off lights, and shutting down computers at night. Even televisions can use power when they're turned off, so unplugging them when they're not in use saves energy. A $30 power strip, called the Smart Strip, automatically cuts power to devices that don't need it when they're off, such as a DVD player, while maintaining power to those that do, such as a cable box.
22. Reduce your utility bills. Making sure your home is properly insulated can save you money on heating and cooling costs. Using a programmable thermostat so that the temperature automatically rises (in the summer) and falls (in the winter) when no one is home during the day can yield annual savings of about 30 percent. While some 25 million households own programmable thermostats, only half actually use them.
[In Pictures: 8 Ways to Reduce What You Pay at the Pump]
23. Forget the Joneses. With Facebook making it easier than ever to compare your own material status to others, it can be easy to always feel one step behind. But it's easy to be unaware of the debt supporting a friend's lifestyle, or their own private financial stresses. Cultivating a sense of gratitude can help ameliorate feelings of jealousy.
24. Take advantage of job benefits. If your employer offers flexible-spending accounts, gym-fee reimbursements, or other perks, be sure to take advantage of them. The human resources department can help connect you with the right paperwork.
25. Plan ahead with big-ticket purchases. Big purchases, such as cars, homes, and vacations, often come with major hidden costs. Homes, for example, can lose value or spring a leak in the roof. Cars depreciate and break down. Waiting to buy until you have the cash reserves to handle those unexpected costs can prevent a lot of financial stress later.
26. Stop receiving email sales alerts from your favorite retailers. Electronic junk mail might not carry the same environmental impact, but it can still convince you to spend money on items you don't need. Unsubscribe to retailer alerts to avoid the temptation.
27. Take advantage of your bank's free tools. Banks are increasingly offering easy ways to track your spending online. If your bank offers a free tool, use it to see where your money is going and where you can cut back.
28. Negotiate, even in this economy. Even if their salary itself is fixed, employees often have room to negotiate on other benefits, such as flexible work hours or vacation, which can result in a more appealing employment package. In the worst-case scenario, the request will be denied, but many employers expect some back-and-forth during the negotiation process.