I know how hard I work for my money, but it never seems like there is enough to go around to take care of what it needs too. So, over the last year I have spend many hours learning exactly how to make the most of my money. It isn't enough just to budget your money to get by these days, you really have to watch every hard earned dollar that you make. If you are not careful, it can unintentionally trickle away like the water from a slow dripping faucet. Here are some ways to save money that you may have never thought of before.

1. Take Your Lunch to Work - If you use your leftovers and make you a plate for the next day, you will save a ton of money. At the hospital I worked at we could swipe our badge instead of using money to pay for our meals and gourmet coffee. Over a two week period I had spent over $70.00 of my money before I even got my paycheck. This can really add to over $1,800 by the end of a year. If you don't think you spend that much money, then add up a typical drive through meal times 5 days a week and see what you get.

2. Bottle Your Water - Get a water filter for your home tap and bottle your water. If you only pay a dollar a bottle working 5 days a week, you will have spent $260.00 over the span of a year. Most bottle water cost more money than that anyway, so BYOB (of water) is one of the easier ways to save money.

3. Use Coupons - Invest in a Sunday paper and use coupon when you shop. You will SAVE a lot of money if you do this. The paper has 2 flyers in it filled with coupons. You can sign up at Smartsource or Redplum online and they will mail them to your house, so that is even more coupons for free. When grocery shopping, first go to the buy one get one free, and get those things first, if you have a coupon, even better. Then use your coupons for things on sale. There is an art form to shopping and saving money like this. You can actually build up a surplus of products like shampoos and body washes, and I am talking name brand stuff for next to nothing and sometimes free. Look up Coupon Queeny and you will really learn how to get your groceries for next to nothing.

4. Use Your Leftovers to Make Scrap Soup - This is an easy way that I use to save my money. Take any remaining meats from your dinner and chop them up along with the vegetables. Put them into a large Zip-Loc bag and press the air out and roll it up. Each night add to it. Pick a day on the weekend when you don't want to cook, open the bag and put the content into a crock pot. Add some broth, cream of whatever you desire with seasoning and you have a delightful dinner. I have had more compliments on meals that I have prepared this way, but I can never give anyone the recipe because it never taste the same twice. This is another easy way to save money and time.

5. Do Not Use Pre-Paid Debit Cards - Here is one of the biggest ways to save money, don't use pre-paid debit cards unless you have to. Some people without bank account may need them in certain cases, but if you are using them to budget your money, your in a losing battle. Pre-paid debit cards come with many hidden fees attached. There are activation and monthly fees, cash withdrawal and balance inquiry fees, customer service and non-use fees, and cash back fees. Furthermore, most pre-paid debit cards don't have the same protection as bank cards and many are not FDIC insured, they don't help you build credit, and if they are lost or stolen, anybody can use them.

6. Do Not Use Unemployment Benefit Cards - There are over 30 states that send out these type of cards instead of paper checks. These cards come loaded with hidden fees. Your best bet is to get the money direct deposited instead. If you can't get around this, then take the card to the issuing bank's ATM and withdraw your money, then redeposit it in your own bank account to avoid these fees.

7. Make Banks Disclose All Fees Before Opening a Free Account - The banks are no longer going to take my money under the disguise of a free account. We all know that there is no such thing as free anyway. A free bank account usually means no fees tied to the balance, checks, and debits per month, but there are lots of little hidden fees. Banks are required by law to disclose fees and interest rates to new customers, but studies show that one-fifth of them don't give you a complete list when ask, and more than that do not bother to disclose their terms and conditions associated with those fees. In the past, over half of the banking institutions where found negligent in placing this information on their websites.

8. Ditch the Cell Phone Service - I know, I love my Verizon cell phone service complete with V-Cast and internet too, but I need every penny of my money to count. I had the top of the line phone and the complete data package for many years. If I had all of that money back now, I would have a new car right now paid for. I can't believe how much money that I just tossed into the trash can trying to keep up with all of my friends. The perks in life are nice, but if your on a budget and trying to make ends meet, there is no shame in being smart. I look back now on everyone comparing there new phones and think how stupid, and I was caught up right in the middle of it. Save your money, and ditch the cell phone for a pre-paid. You will look back and wonder how were you so blind.

9. Buy Your Designer Clothes on Clearance - You can save tons of money like this. I am a Libra, I like luxurious items, but I like having money in my wallet too. I shop online and in the nice department stores, I just shop the clearance isle. I get the same thing that you got two months ago, I just paid rock bottom for it. I can live with that. If you want to save money and still live the lifestyle, shop clearance where ever it is that you normally like to shop.

10. Get All Possible Deductions at Tax-Time - There are so many deductions that are missed at tax time that there is no reason to try to cheat the government. I know, they have cheated us for years. Get online and learn exactly what it is that you can claim. If you don't understand what the meaning of some statement is on the IRS site, then copy and paste the query into the Google search bar, and you will get more than your fair share of answers. It is as simple as that.

Here are 10 easy ways to save money this year. They are not that difficult to accomplish. The list here of ways to save money may not all apply to you, but something as simple as a bagged lunch can add up over a years time. Leave me a comment if you can think of even more ways to save money so the readers can benefit, and maybe this year things will get easier one dollar at a time.