Admitting you’re not a saver is the first step, doing something about it is the next. I’m not a saver and hate budgeting and lists but with the drop in the economy during the last few years, we’re learning how to stretch our dollars and still be comfortable.
These 10 money saving tips are good ways to save money and won’t hurt too much and if you think of changing your money spending habits more like a chess game, it might make it more fun. Make a Budget!
Budgeting is one of the best ways to save money. It’s like a road map for your financial life and without it, you’re just wondering around aimlessly. For those of you how like tools and programs, there’s a free site called Mint.com. My family is using it this minute. It’s really easy for us since we hate budgeting. These guys do all the work and you just plug in the information. It took me about 10 minutes to set up. I used it to show my husband how much we were spending so he’d understand habits cost a lot of money and if you don’t have the money, you shouldn’t have the habit!
Mint has over 100,000 registered users and won lots of awards including the Webby Awards People’s Voice Winner in Banking and Bill Pay as well as in Financial Services. Their software is one of PC World’s“100 Best Products of 2008″.
Take Your Lunch to Work
Remember when your mom would pack your lunch? She did it to save money on meals and now you might have to do this too. I hate making my lunch actually. I am the kind of person who wants to stay in bed as long as possible and then rush to get out the door. There’s no time for lunch making so instead, I used to buy simple things at the store I could just grab. It’s cheaper for me to go to the grocery store than it is to eat at a fast food place.
If you just have to eat out with the lunch crowd, use a coupon. There are a ton of coupons for restaurants in the Sunday paper, online and through the Entertainment coupon book. There’s no need to pay full price when you can usually get at least 50% off at any eatery.
Use Coupons and Save Money on Groceries
WeUseCoupons.com is one of the best ways to save money on groceries by teaching you how to use extreme couponing. Founded by Nathan Engels this is the best money saving tip I’ve found because not only do they give you virtual classes and a forum to ask questions – it’s completely free. Engels said when I interviewed him that he believes people can save at least 50% off of their grocery bill.
Use Your Peds Not Your Treads
If you live in an area where you can walk, park your car and use your feet to take you places. Besides the exercise, it saves a lot of money on gas. We also invested in a pull behind fold up cart which we can take to the stores. We fill it up and walk home. It doesn’t take that long to walk and it has saved us at least $40 of gas per week! That’s over $2000 per year in savings.
Use Craigslist and EBay for purchases
Not only can you make money on Craigslist and eBay, you can also find really good deals on things you need. For example, we just bought a brand new Blackberry for $34 with free shipping. The list price for the phone is $169-$199 if you purchase it from WalMart or another store. Since we use Verizon (our areas only service) we are actually using another discount carrier which uses a Verizon tower making our unlimited bill under $45 for talk, text and web services plus we prepay our bill.
We also bought tires for our car – all 4 for $100 with an excellent tread and a lot of miles left since we don’t drive a whole lot. These tires were going to cost us over $100 a piece. With these saving we’ve kept over $300 in our pocket.
Check the online auctions and classifieds before spending your hard earned cash!
Start Buying Christmas Gifts Now!
Yup – it’s January all right and I’m starting my Christmas shopping already for December. The last few years I’ve been able to actually get great prices on a lot of different items, buy great things on clearance and the holidays are no longer a strain on our financial budget. Buying a little at a time and on sale saves a ton of money!
I even bought my daughter a real (not a wanna be) iPod at a pawn shop and she loved it. Start your craft projects now in order to make sure they’re ready for Christmas. One year I made everyone crocheted afghans according to their personal interests like football, bears and trains.
Use the Three Day Rule
Has anyone heard of this before? I know I have and it works. The rule is if you see it and then wait three days to buy it, are you really going to buy it? Sometimes the answer is yup – but usually the answer is no and you forget about it. Don’t impulse buy, you’ll have a lot of stuff you don’t need or use.
In fact, I usually don’t even cash my paycheck until way later. I hold onto it for a couple days and it kind of stockpiles in the bank. I just like seeing a pile of cash and it makes me spend less although I do like to shop.
Just recently I saved $1000 in about two weeks just from stockpiling cash I got. Remember how people keep saying watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves? It’s true. I collect every penny and it’s not because I’m a miser – it’s because I like money a lot.
Stop Paying for Expensive Phone Service
Cell phones and land lines are really expensive if you’ve got a contract or that monthly fee. Without contracts, cell phone companies compete even more for your business because they know you can switch at any time. In fact, we have a Verizon, a T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile and a Sprint phone and we switch between them depending on who has the lowest service. My daughter and husband use talk, text and web. I use texting only because I hate talking on the phone. So we spend under $120 for all of our phones when we used to spend $200 just for two phones. Now we’re saving over $175 per month for two unlimited phone plans and a texting only phone.
We don’t even have a land line because we don’t have any reason for it. Many people only use their cell phone. You might just cut that tie altogether if you can. If you can’t, consider Vonage or MagicJack.
Use the Clothesline instead of the Dryer
I love a great pair of stiff jeans. I don’t know why but that stiff feeling and the fresh smell of laundry on the line is comfortable to me. It might be because my mother used to hang the clothes on the line and it makes me feel secure. But it sure saves a lot of money.
When I hang my clothes on the line they get done faster too. It takes about 15-20 minutes to dry the average load compared to about 45-60 minutes in the dryer.
I use fabric softner in the washing machine and let the breeze do the rest of the work. I also fold the clothes as they come off the line to get double duty out of my time.
Eat Meatless Meals
We’re in no way vegetarian and love a great steak, but sometimes we just skip the meat and go with veggies for dinner. We make a killer vegetable soup with chicken stock and fire roasted tomatoes. Paired with a grilled cheese sandwhich on sourdough and wow – it’s good. Our family also loves Broccoli Cheese Soup with Sweet Cornbread.
Another great dish is Vegetable Lasagna. We make it with Alfredo Sauce, mixed frozen vegetables with a blend of mixed white cheeses. With day-old French bread loaves drizzled with a Brochette topping we make, it’s so good! No meat and still fills you up.
Now I ask you – is this so hurtful you can’t do it? No, it’s not. In fact, the most difficult thing you’ll have to do is go to Mint.com and make a budget. It takes 15 minutes or less depending on your expenses. There’s nothing super hard about these ten ways to save money and put that extra money in your pocket.
You’ll find these money saving tips some of the easy ways to save money on a tight budget!
April LaJune is the author of AprilPedia.com a blog featuring money making ideas, money saving tips, job scams and ways to find a great job online!