Shop savvy and have more money to shop with


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I’m Jean Chatzky, and this is Money Rules.

Gas prices dropped more than a dollar a gallon over the course of 2014, representing a savings of around $1,000 for the average family. Even more encouraging: Most of us are saving it rather than spending it, according to new research from Visa. That, to me, further proves Money Rule No. 98: Frugal is the new black.

Three ways consumers are saving money these days, in case you want to join them:

Couponing. Yes, it’s still hot. Nearly three-quarters of consumers report using coupons, and coupon distribution offers consumers a potential savings of over $1,500 annually. Not bad for a few minutes spent with a pair of scissors.

Comparison shopping. Forty percent of shoppers say they use their mobile device to compare prices while in a store. Apps like RedLaser and ShopSavvy do the work for you.

Cooking at home. This is high on my list. On average, Americans eat restaurant food 191 times a year. Sounds like a lot, but that figure is down from an average of 215 times in 2000. Cooking at home saves precious money and calories.

The recession kicked it off, but even as the economy continues to rebound pinching pennies remains cool.