In today’s economy, everyone is looking for different ways to save money for various reasons.
Table of Contents
Raising children, buying a house, buying a car, paying bills is becoming harder and harder for most people to accomplish. Most people don’t get to do the things they ENJOY because there is not enough money to cover it all. Most of us can’t take our families on vacations, have family nights out, or even afford to do the “little things” for ourselves.
These TOP 80 WAYS OF HAVING MORE MONEY will not make you rich! However, if you use some or all of them, at the end of the year you WILL see a significant savings. Our family has been using these techniques for the last 2 years and has saved 1000’s of dollars each year. Saving here and there DOES add up. Saving money is not hard. You just have to learn how to do it.
Let’s get you started on saving money TODAY!
Getting Prepared To Save
Everyone should create a budget. Even if you aren’t good with money or don’t know where to begin with starting a budget, many businesses such as H&R Block, offer free financial consulting to help you put a budget together. Knowing where you are spending your money is by far the best way to save. In most cases, people have no idea where their money is really going and once they see it on paper, not only are they surprised but they also decide to change their spending habits.
- What Matters to You
Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Make a list of the 10 most important things in your life. Next to each one, rank them in order of importance using numbers 1 through 10. The purpose of this exercise is to help you see the things you consider the most and least important. This will provide you with a visual of why you need to save. Some examples of things that a person might put on their list are buying a new home or car, a big vacation, starting a business, or paying off debts.
- You MUST Set Goals
Break your goals into short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term. Being able to see your accomplishments is a great motivator for you to work hard at saving. If you set a short-term goal of saving for a bigger TV for your family room and reach that goal, you will be encouraged to keep saving for the intermediate and long-term goals.
- Be Realistic
When it comes to saving money, make sure the goals you set for yourself are realistic. If you set your goals to high and never achieve them, you will become discouraged. If you earn $50,000 (or N50,000)a year, saving $20,000 (or N20,000) would be nice but it is very unrealistic. Make your goals attainable or you will never save.
Once you have set your goal for saving, realize that things can and will change. The secret is learning ways to be flexible. If you normally save $150 (or N10,000) a month, when something unexpected happens, you may only be able to save $50 (or N5,000) that month. This is fine as long as you focus on getting back on track. When faced with having to change your goals, be sure that you get back on track immediately. It’s too easy to slip back into those habits of not saving money.
- Have A Plan
Planning is a great way to save. Before you go to the grocery store, make a list and stick with it. It was very hard for me to do this. Especially when going to places like Wal-Mart. If considering a vacation, plan everything. Taking a vacation with no set direction will certainly lead you to impulsive spending.
Be patient when it comes to saving. This means that you need to accept that it will take time to save and good planning. Be patient and remember that just because you want something, do not rush to buy just to satisfy your urge. Instead, wait for sales in order to get the best price, which in turn will save you money.
Do not forget to give yourself an allowance for things you enjoy. Even if on a tight budget, buy something that you enjoy, which could be as simple as buying a new shirt or grabbing lunch at your favorite café. If you do not allow yourself this small “splurge”, you could find yourself in the same position as if dieting. Total deprivation leads to overindulgence.
- Break old Habits
Take time to learn the various things that “trigger” your spending. When you are depressed, lonely, sad, anxious, excited, whatever it may be, do you spend more? Once you can identify these triggers then you can learn how to control them. As an example, if you were just laid off from your job, although money is tight, you may have an overwhelming “need” to spend money. Perhaps you notice that when you are bored, you head for the shops. Knowing what affects you will help you to discipline yourself to find other ways of comfort.
- Don’t Give up the Good Stuff
A misconception is that while trying to save money you have to deal with sub-par merchandise, which is untrue. If you love fresh breads and pastries, visit a bakery thrift store. For your fresh fruits and vegetables, visit your local farmer’s market. Try eBay or other auction sites to buy top quality merchandise for a huge discount. Watch for neighborhood garage sales or estate sales and auctions to find items you need. Just because you are looking for bargains as a way of saving money does not mean you have to skimp on quality.
- Wants versus Needs
Make sure the thing you want to spend your money on is a “need” and not a “want.” Sometimes this can seem like a fine gray line but if you stick to the need list, you will spend a lot less.
- Written Plan
When a person goes into business, they create a Business Plan, which becomes the blueprint of their business. The same should apply if you are trying to save money. Create a master plan that the entire family can get involved with and learn their role. When you start to spend too much, go back and look at your plan to see where you are messing up and how you can fix it.
Good money management is an acquired skill. As you go forward with the process of saving money, you need to have a good, positive attitude, which is often what will keep you and your family heading in the right direction. If you think you cannot save, then you probably will not. Be determined and stay positive about saving.
You may be wondering what being organized has to do with saving money but in reality, it has a lot to do with it. For example, if you miss a credit card due date by one day, you will be charged anywhere from a 15% to 25% penalty. The same would be true for taxes. Missing one simple date can cost thousands. You need to be organized so you know the exact dates your bills are due as well as keep all receipts, contracts, etc. in an orderly manner.
- Coordinate Efforts
If you are married, make sure you and your spouse are working on the same agenda. If one is trying to save money while the other is busy spending, what is the point? When you work as a team, you can encourage each other to keep on track with your saving.
- Life Satisfaction
Learn how to enjoy life and nature rather than possessions. The next time you feel like spending money, head to your local park where you can enjoy the warm sun, green grass, and towering trees without spending a dime. Being happy in life is far better than buying item after item. Having an inner peace is better than having a house filled with “things.” That does not mean you cannot enjoy some of the finer things in life it just means learning how to be happy with yourself and not “things.”
- Live Within your Means
The quickest way to get in debt is to live beyond your means. Sure, most people want more than they have but life is not all about spending money. Be thankful for what you do have and learn how to enjoy the financial position you are in. This is where your budget will help identify the amount of money coming in against the amount of debt going out.
Finances and Bill Paying
- Credit Cards Are A Huge Often Time Unnecessary Expense
Use credit cards only for emergency. Although convenient, credit cards are dangerous and damaging. In addition, if you have a credit card that has a $1,000 balance and you pay only the minimum payment each month, it will take you between 20 and 30 years to pay off that $1,000 balance since the majority of money is going strictly toward the interest and not the principal amount. If you have credit cards and your credit is in good standing, call your credit card company, and ask for your interest rate to be lowered. It is truly that simple. Unfortunately, most people do not even realize this is an option so they never make the call. Just tell the representative that you want a better rate on your credit card and they will take care of your request.
- Mortgage Payment
Paying one additional mortgage payment each year, whether in a lump sum or monthly increments, can lower a 30-year loan down to 18 years. Knowing that information is enough to make anyone use this technique. If you pay more than one extra payment, the number of years will decrease even more. Since this additional payment will be applied only to the principal and not the interest, you end up saving thousands and thousands of dollars once the home is paid off.
Shop around for insurance and work with a good agent that can provide information on discounts such as good student, multi-car discount, etc. Some people think the price of insurance is the same from one company to the next. However, prices can vary dramatically and to ensure you get the best deal, you need to consider all your options.
Set up some rules in your home such as turning lights off when leaving the room, having only a parent adjust the air or heat, leaving the doors or windows open when letting either cold or hot air into the house. Utilities are expensive and a great money saver is to monitor how they are used in your home. Another great idea is the investment of buying an energy-efficient hot water heater. If you cannot afford one, lower the setting so you are not heating water so hot. The hotter the setting, the more energy used. If you go away on away from the house for several days, considering turning your heat or air off. If just going away for the day or night, this is not recommended. It’s more efficient is used for times when you will be away from the house three or more days.
- Unsecured Creditors
Make a list of all your unsecured debts along with creditor contact information and payoff amount so you can have an accurate record of how much you owe. Choose one creditor, possibly a credit card, and focus on paying off that bill. Once you have achieved that goal, choose another. Start with the debt that has the highest interest rate since it is the one costing you the most money. Be sure not to make this a vicious cycle. Once you have paid off a bill, don’t run out and make another one just because you have paid one off.
- Buy versus Rent or Lease
When looking at homes or automobiles check the rent and lease options. Depending on your particular situation, renting or leasing may be a better financial decision. Weigh all your options and see which choice makes the best sense from a financial standpoint.
- Proper Maintenance
Purchase an annual home warranty policy. These policies can run from $350 to $500 a year and offer extremely valuable options. The way most of these policies work is that if you have something break, such as your garage door, dishwasher, air conditioner, etc., for a minimal fee, usually $50 to $100, a serviceperson will come to your home to fix the item. Best of all, if you have five things broken and the same serviceperson is qualified to fix all of them, you are still charged the $50 to $100 fee once, not five times. For your automobile, you might look into purchasing an extended warranty. If you ever need either one of these policies, they will save you tremendous value.
- Company Stock / 401K
Contributing to employee stock options or a 401K plan is a wonderful opportunity to save. Most companies will match your contribution, sometimes dollar for dollar, up to a maximum, generally 6%. From each paycheck, you can have a small amount of money deducted (1%) and up. Over time, that money grows and since the business is providing a match, you get free money.
- Pay on Time
For every payment you pay late, you are charged a late fee, which can range from $25 to $50 or more depending on the company. Therefore, if you just made a $50 payment but it was paid late, nothing was paid toward the debt. Instead, the entire $50 went toward an unnecessary fee. To avoid spending unnecessary money, be sure you mail your check in time to avoid these fees.
- Selling your Home
If considering putting your home on the market, make sure you work with a reputable realtor. A good realtor versus one that is not as experienced can be the difference of thousands of dollars. A good realtor will know exactly what you need to do to your home to get it in the best selling condition, which in turn will get you more money. In addition, experienced realtors know all the best methods for advertising and selling your home while saving you the most money.
- Check Receipts and Statements
If you were to check your grocery or store receipt, approximately 50% of the time you would find an overcharge. This happens all the time and in some cases, the charge can be substantial. The same is true for credit card statements, bank statements, phone bills, etc. Check the detail because it is quite common to find errors. These mistakes can easily be corrected simply by asking and providing a copy of the receipt or statement.
- Challenge the Doctor/Hospital
If you have stayed in the hospital recently, you know the outrageous charges associated with every thing used. While you could buy a box of bandages for a small cut in the drug store for $5.00, at the hospital, they will charge you $10 for one bandage. While the government and insurance companies are cracking down on these charges, you should check things closely and challenge anything that is ridiculously priced. The same is true for your doctor. One woman having a hysterectomy was asked by her doctor if she wanted her appendix removed at the same time. The patient thought it was a good idea and agreed. However, after the surgery when the bill came, there was an additional $1,200 for the removal of the appendix although the doctor never mentioned an extra charge. The woman called her doctor to discuss and the doctor removed the charge. If something seems way out of balance, question it. Something else that most people do not know about is what is called “professional courtesy.” If you are having financial difficulties, you can ask your doctor if they will write off any balance owed as a professional courtesy. Many will and if not the full amount, at least some.
- Overdraft Protection
Almost everyone has at one point or another had an insufficient check. Most banks charge $20 per returned check, which if not careful with your account, can quickly add up to a lot of money. If you have a savings account, consider adding overdraft protection onto your checking account so if you ever go into a negative balance, the money would automatically be covered by your savings. Most banks offer this service free.
- Bank Accounts
Make sure you work with a qualified banker that can set up the “right” kind of account for your type of spending. There are numerous options specifically designed for people that write a good number of checks versus those who do not. Check with your existing bank to ensure you have what you really need and if they are not willing to work with you, change banks. In general, credit unions are good options. Their rates are typically lower and because they are employee owned, you can find better options.
- Appropriate Deductions
Rather than spending money just for the sake of spending, change the amount of deductions you have taken from your paycheck for your 401K or stock options. This is especially great if your company offers a competitive matching program. Increasing the amount you have deducted can quickly add up to a nice savings and is especially nice for retirement.
- Christmas Fund
Many banks and financial institutions offer a Christmas Fund program. This is an excellent way to put aside some money for your holiday shopping so you do not end up with a ton of spending. With these programs, you do not even miss the money and better yet, less stress around the holidays.
Save Money While Shopping
- Shop Online
Many online businesses offer great bargains and in some cases, free shipping. Since the Internet is such a competitive market, you can usually find fantastic deals. In addition, many of your favorite businesses where you shop in person have websites that offer even greater savings. Bookstores such as Amazon.com will sell books up to 70% off the original price. Overstock.com is another online business that sells closeout items for fantastic bargains.
- Consignment Shops
Rather than throw out or sell slightly worn clothing or other household items in a garage sale, consider selling them through a consignment shop. You will get a better price for your items and consignment shops are always looking for quality merchandise. Check out Half.com, which is an online consignment shop offering books, movies, computer software, and much more in either new or used condition.
- Take a close look at the clearance racks!
Always head straight for the clearance rack where you can find amazing bargains. Sometimes you may have to dig a little to find the right item but the savings will be well-worth your time. Most clearance racks offer variety, current trends, and great value. For example, Bed, Bath & Beyond has a clearance section where you can find all kinds of wonderful household items for a fraction of the original cost. I have teenage daughters so buying name brand clothing is very important to them. When we shop at the big department stores, we always find great deals on the clearance rack.
When you shop, look for items that can be reused. Rechargeable batteries are a perfect example. Even though the initial purchase may be more than non-rechargeable batteries, there is a definite savings over a long period. Stop buying paper plates, paper cups, and plastic eating utensils. I know a lot of people who wash them and reuse them, but I don’t like that idea. I only buy these items if we are going to a cookout or a picnic. There is no reason to buy them for birthday parties, or family get together. Just use the plates, glasses, and utensils in your cabinets. You may have to wash a few more dishes, but it is well worth the effort.
- Buy in Bulk
It is true that warehouse shopping can save a lot of money. Even if you have a small family, you can always split large quantities. The price of items in bulk is generally a great bargain. If you are single, you might go in with friends or family on bulk items. Be sure to watch the prices though. Warehouses and shopping clubs are sometimes more expensive.
Okay, maybe you used to laugh as you watched people pull out their coupons at stores but the truth is that using coupons can save you hundreds of dollars every year. Coupons can be used at grocery stores, retail chains, and any store where the item is sold. Some stores offer double coupon days, which is an extra bonus. On average, you could easily save from 5% to 15% on a bill for $100 simply by presenting a coupon. Coupons are not just for food items and by scouring your local newspaper you can find coupons for all sorts of merchandise. You can even buy coupons on Ebay! You can get 100’s of dollars worth of coupons for just a few dollars on Ebay. Evenif you can’t use them all, you will save HUGE on your grocery bill! I have saved up to $75 on a $225 grocery bill. I paid $150 for $225 worth of groceries. If I did that twice a month, I would save $1800 a YEAR!
- The Right Time to Shop
Studies have proven that when shopping while hungry, depressed, tired, and stressed, you buy more. Before you head to the grocery store, eat something. If you are upset or feeling a little blue, calm yourself down or wait until you feel better before you head out to shop. As funny as it may sound, having a clear mind is important when it comes to shopping and spending money efficiently.
- Comparison Shop
Comparison-shopping can make a big difference in the price you pay. You might be looking at a barbecue grill at one place for $350.00 and by making two more stops, find the exact grill or one comparable for $300. In addition, consider the price of items assembled versus unassembled. For example, you might find the barbecue grill unassembled for $250. A couple of hours of “fun” assembling the grill is certainly worth a $100 saving.
- Dollar Stores
Many years ago, dollar stores offered only off brand products or poorly made merchandise. However, that has completely changed. Now you can walk into a dollar store and find the same name brand laundry soap, cleaning supplies, clothing, school supplies, everything for a fraction of the cost. Where a store name brand bottle of laundry detergent might cost $6.50 at a grocery store, you can find the identical product and size at the dollar store for $2.50. Check out your local dollar store and enjoy the mountains of savings.
- Go Generic
When buying food, try some of the generic items. Unless you or your guests are connoisseurs of fine dining, they will not know if the green beans were generic or a top name brand. Once you add some butter, salt, and pepper, no one will know the difference except you – $.79 per can versus $.33 per can! People do not realize that many generic brands are actually manufactured by name brand companies, just branded with a different name. In fact, companies such as those that make snack foods will have conveyor belts that run side-by-side – one for the name brand and one for the generic brand. This is quite common and the only difference is the label and price.
- Stock Up
As you shop, if you notice that a brand you and your family use on a consistent basis is on sale for a great bargain, stock up. As an example, if you use a particular type of shampoo costing $4.50 per bottle and you find it on sale for $2.50, go ahead and buy two bottles. You should only do this on items you know will be used. If you just purchase an item because it’s on sale, you are not saving money if you don’t use it.
- Shopping for Clothes
There are many secrets relating to saving money on clothing. As a perfect example, rather than buy a matched suit for $450, buy the pieces separate. This will save you about $100 to $150. Additionally, buy several pieces that can be mixed and matched, giving you six outfits out of four pieces.
- Trendy Fashion
Most people love to dress in the most up-to-date fashion but for those fashions, you pay big bucks. Consider dressing with basics and then emphasis them with trendy accessories. This will save you money on the clothing that is less expensive while allowing you to dress it up.
- Stay out of the Malls
If possible, stay away from shopping malls. High-dollar shopping malls have expensive overhead and are designed to sell, sell, sell. Prices are generally higher and in most cases, people walk out with more than they anticipated buying. It is better to shop at stand-alone shops or on the Internet.
- Car Shopping
Shop around for the best price. While you may have your eye on that “perfect” car and want it now, by waiting and looking around, you could be saving yourself a lot of money. In addition, check out other states. If you live within a few hours drive from other cities, check out the price difference. The five hours it takes to drive may be worth the money saved.
- Plan Menus
Although it will take some time initially, after you have planned a week’s menu once, it will become much easier and best of all, it will save you money. Knowing exactly what you will be making helps you to shop for foods that can be used more than once. As an example, if you are going to have spaghetti on Tuesday, you could buy bulk ground beef at a better price and then use the other half for tacos on Saturday. Another option would be buying round steak where one night you fix Salisbury steak and then a few days later, you use the leftovers for breakfast hash. This will help you stretch meals and avoid last minute or impulse buying.
- Dining Out
Eating out can be expensive. Rather than stop eating out, simply cut back and look for options of two-for-one. Restaurants of all calibers offer weekly specials and if you check in your Sunday paper, you can often find special bargains. You might even think about signing up as a Mystery Shopper on the Internet where you can eat at fine restaurants free or at a huge discount just for writing a report on the food, service, and cleanliness.
- Freeze Foods
When you grocery shop, look for bargains on items that can be frozen. Most people do not even think about shredding block cheese and freezing it. Did you know that you could even freeze eggs? You can as long as you give them a little room to expand. When ready to use, simply set them out at room temperature. If you find apples on sale, make your own apple pies and freeze them or make applesauce. Many food items can be frozen with no problem. Therefore, the next time you see a great bargain think about freezing. (Dairy products other than cheese do not generally freeze well).
- Baby Food
Instead of buying expensive baby food, make your own. You can use fresh vegetables such as peas, green beans, or corn, run it through the blender, and then freeze individual servings in ice cube trays. When it comes time to feed the baby, simply pop out a cube of food, defrost, and you have instant food. This is a real time and money saver. Most foods can be frozen. In fact, if you make family foods like spaghetti or soups simply make a smaller portion with less salt and spice, puree, freeze just like the vegetables.
- Squelch the Smoking
This is probably the hardest habit to break but in addition to saving your health, you will also save money. Cigarettes have become quite expensive and if you can quit smoking, you will enjoy breathing easier and having more to put away for a rainy day.
- Seasonal Buys
One to three days after a holiday, stores mark their holiday items from 50% to 75% off. This is an ideal way to stock up on next year’s Christmas or Halloween decorations. This is true for stores that sell seasonal clothing as well. Shopping for jackets or sweaters in the summer will provide you with great deals.
Miscellaneous Money Saving Techniques
- Barter System
Gather friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers and set up a bartering system. Offer babysitting to one family in exchange for them mowing your lawn or offer to clean someone’s house in exchange for a week of car-pooling your child to school. You would be amazed at the opportunities and the money that can be saved using a bartering system. We have a neighborhood bartering system in place in my community. We set up a bartering board at our local post office. Anyone in the neighborhood can view the bartering board, and barter with other neighbors.
Do you love the movies but hate the prices? Switch your nighttime show to the late afternoon or early evening matinee. The price is about 50% less and when taking an entire family, that is a nice savings. Pop your own popcorn, put in a plastic bag, and place in a large purse and make or buy your own candy, leaving only drinks to buy. Food at the theater is outrageously priced. The next time that you head to the movies, hit the matinee, stuff those jellybeans and licorice sticks in your purse, and enjoy the savings. Also, check for movie tickets online, which can be discounted.
- Incentives – Reward Plan
To help you and your family spend more wisely, set up a system where rewards are given when the rules set forth are followed. For example, if a family decision was made to start making lunch and brown bagging it to work and school instead of paying each day, the incentive might be that if this is followed strictly for one month, the entire family can spend a Saturday at the Zoo or favorite theme park.
- Check the Garbage
One woman had her teenage daughter clean her room. The daughter proudly did just that, filling two huge trash bags of things she no longer wanted. Out of curiosity, the mother peeked into one of the bags to see what was being thrown away. In shock, she found a new tube of suntan lotion, two perfectly good sweaters, makeup, lotion, a picture frame, hair curlers, all good things. The daughter did not realize that just because the items were of no interest to her, they might be to someone else. After talking to her daughter, the mom turned around and listed the items on eBay, making a $35 profit on her daughter’s “junk.” My family bought several storage tubs. When we want to get rid of something we analyze it to see if it could be use to someone else. If so, we put it in a storage tub. Each summer we drag the storage tubs out and have a huge garage sale!
The next time you plan a vacation, consider off-season. Generally, the prices for airfare, hotel, and cars are substantially lower than traveling during peak time. If you look at all your options, you will find that in many cases, you can come close to the date you would like to travel. As an example, flying to Hawaii through June 8 is considered off-season while June 9 is peak. One day makes a huge difference in price.
- Buffet Meals
When taking the family out to dinner, consider restaurants that have buffets. In many cases, the prices are outstanding and a parent can share with a small child. In addition, many buffets are “all you can eat” and of course, there is something for everyone. Buffet style restaurants have changed over the last few years. Many people are used to the old style buffest restaurants
- Cable Networking
If you have a computer upstairs and another downstairs and you use high-speed data, have one of the computers be the primary computer and the other be the backup. This way, you are only charged once for Internet access and a small fee of $10 to $15 a month for the second computer. This is a great bargain! We have three computers in our house, and by networking them, we save over $80 each month.
- Free Entertainment
If you are tired of being bored, you will be pleased to learn that there are hundreds of things to do that do not cost a dime. For example, if you want a little Friday or Saturday night excitement, sign up at your local police department for a “ride-a-long” where you can go on duty with an officer as they respond to real calls. Community colleges are always offering free exercise classes, or coffee shops have poetry readings. Entertainment and having fun does not have to cost anything. Some cities have special areas that are popular on the weekends where you can find free concerts. Check your local paper and college to get a list for your area.
- Telephone / Mobile Phone
First, shop around for the best deals. Second, stay away from all the fun bells and whistles and just stick with the basic plan. Some people have turned to shutting down their home telephone and are now using their mobile phones in place. Since most wireless carriers offer free long-distance, call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, voicemail, and more, it can do the same as a regular phone but for less. Why have two phones when you can have just one?
- Home Remedies
Before rushing off to see the doctor for a sore throat, try some home remedies or over the counter drugs instead. For a sore throat, butter mixed with ginger and sugar makes a soothing healing pate. A hot toddy before bed is great for a cold. Simply ask your family for their home remedies and try it. Sometimes a simple over the counter medication or herb will do the trick without costing you an expensive doctor’s office visit.
In some larger cities, carpooling is required in order to reduce smog. However, regardless of where you live, carpooling can also be a big money saver. Check with co-workers and determine who lives close enough to share a ride. By the end of the year, you will have saved several hundreds of dollars.
Hundreds of dollars are wasted every year from the average home due to improper insulation. Make sure there are no drafts coming from your window, door, or fireplace. Ensure your home has the appropriate level of insulation, which will make a HUGE difference in your utility bill.
- Cancel Subscriptions
It is always fun getting your favorite magazine or book in the mail but you should cancel them or at least most of them. If you have several subscriptions, choose one or two to keep and cancel the rest.
- Consolidate your Errands to save gas, organize your day of errands so you get as much done in an organized manner as possible. Stay in the same geographical area and hit as many of your errands in that area as possible to avoid excessive driving.
- Turn your Hobby into Money
Everyone has a skill – find yours and turn it into money. For example, if you have a skill for woodworking, start creating children’s toys, or curio cabinets to sell. Perhaps you are computer savvy and could teach a class at your local community college. Find something you enjoy and sell it.
- Heating and Cooling
Make sure vents in rooms not being used or the garage are closed. Many people tend to try to heat and cool the entire home. Instead, take the time to close off areas that you are not using. You will save substantial money on your utilities.
While Paris, England, or Germany offers excitement, they also cost money to visit. Unfortunately, people on a regular basis forget about the United States and even the very state in which they live. One man had lived in Arizona his entire life. At age 50, when asked by a friend what the Grand Canyon was like, he was unable to answer because he had never been there. The next time you get ready to plan your family vacation, look around where you live and consider an exciting road trip that will not only be educating but cost effective. A vacation does not have to be expensive to be fun and memorable.
- Annual Maintenance
Make a list of all annual maintenance items for your home such as air conditioner, heater, hot water heater, etc. Once again, being prepared and working in a proactive manner can save you unnecessary expenses. If you take care of your air conditioner by getting an annual tune up then you lower the risk of something going wrong during the hot summer months when it will be quite costly to repair.
- Automobile Care
Keep your car oil changed, tires rotated, and overall care up-to-date. First, the $30 for your oil change will save wear and tear on your car, which could result in significant money. Second, you need your car to get to and from work. By not having your car in top working condition could put you in a bad position when it comes to required transportation.
- Repair versus Replace
Instead of spending $1,000 on that beautiful new couch, you might consider one of two options. If your couch frame is still good, you might spend $300 to have it recovered or purchase a quality slipcover for $100. Your couch will look brand new for much less, than it would to replace. Another example would be if you have a lamp that you want to replace. Consider painting it and adding a new shade rather than spending money to buy a brand new one. Perhaps you have a washer, dryer, or refrigerator that is running a little sluggish. Find out the cost of repair over that of purchasing a new one. Even if you have an appliance with the wrong color, businesses offer fantastic paint jobs. With a little creativity, you will be amazed at how much can be repaired, thus saving you money.
- Computer Software
In order to keep on track with your debts and credits, you need to use some type of software such as Quicken or Quick Books. This will keep you focused on your goals and tasks while you strive to achieve them. Additionally, rather than buy software programs to download, first check Download.com or Freeware.com to see if there are free versions to download.
- Previously Viewed
Home videos and DVDs are hot items and perfect for any family entertainment. Now you can visit the major video chains and purchase previously viewed videos and DVDs for about half the cost. For example, at Blockbuster, you can purchase either one and get a 30-day warranty. This is still a wonderful way to have quality entertainment for a terrific savings. Another great option is to record your own movies either from TV or any of the popular cable channels such as HBO, Showtime or Disney. Rather than hitting the theater every weekend, make it a special occasion. Instead, pop your popcorn, grab a soda, spread out a blanket, and create your own theater-type atmosphere.
- Dinner Guests
Invite friends over for dinner as a potluck. People love sharing their favorite recipe and by splitting dinner, everyone enjoys variety while saving money. In fact, make this a tradition amongst your friends.
- Ball Games
Instead of spending your money on overpriced items at the ballgame, take your own cooler of food. Some professional stadiums no longer allow this so check before going. If you have a son or daughter that plays little league or soccer, this is a great way to save money over paying high concession stand prices.
- Discount Books
Purchase a discount coupon book, which generally costs around $25. As long as you use it faithfully and base your choices on options featured in the book, you can save hundreds of dollars. These books are great for restaurants, hotels, car rentals, and tons of entertainment and provide great variety and even better discounts.
- Pocket Change
Keep a jar or some type of container handy and each time you come home, drop in your change. Every time you break a bill, put the change in your container. You will be amazed how quickly your money will build.
Check out freebie sites such as TotallyFreebies.com or SassySue.com where you will find all types of sample items ranging from cosmetics to books to clothing. Most have no shipping charges and the ones that do are minimal. By filling out a few forms, you will receive sample size soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners, etc., which are ideal for the traveler.
- Rebate Programs
When you shop, always keep your eyes open for rebate programs. Although filling out the forms and clipping the UPC codes from a box is a hassle, the money you save is worth it. Some rebate items are not listed as offering a rebate. Check out AsmartShop.com or Rebateplace.com to see if any of your recent purchases offer a rebate.
You CAN Do It!
It is VERY important for you to have an understanding of money. If you can’t make a long-term commitment to save money, try taking small steps. Save here and there and right them down in a journal. Call your journal your “Money Journal”. Write down when you save money, how much, and how you did it. By keeping journal you will be training yourself to save!
I have developed a 12-month “Money Journal” for you. You can download it at:
Print it out and put it in a 3 ring binder or in a folder so you will be able to keep it all together.
Saving money requires some investigative skills, desire, determination, and creativity. Once you get in the habit of saving money, you will feel better about yourself and enjoy life much more without debt hanging over your head!
I hope you have enjoyed this article. More than anything, I hope you have learned several techniques/ways that you can put into action TODAY!