- Personal Finance
Effective Ways To Save Money
Where we are heading.
In today's failling economy we are all now under the constant stress and pressure to stay afloat in the river of financial turmoil. For a lot of us it is becoming difficult just to keep our heads above water. The concept of saving money for a rainy day has gone the way of wooden chompers and tamagotchi toys. Penny pinching is no longer a hobby or a strange trait of the guy down the street who never spends any money. It has grown into a tactic we use for survival.
Lucky for my readers I am a notorious penny pincher, in fact my friends even say that my wallet creaks when I open it and is full of rusty bills. Now I can use my ability to save a buck or two here and there to help you do the same. So let's get started saving money shall we!
The Dreaded Shopping List
Shopping what.... One of the biggest waste of money is the impulse buy. We see those candy bars and we know we do not need them but if we did not need them why would they be so close to the register? While I am buying candy I need a pack of $8 batteries and a magnifyer for my magazines don't I. The answer is no, you probably don't need these items. Impulse buying is a very bad way to spend your hard earned money, money we should be saving. So how can we save money when we go shopping? Sit down and draft a list of all the things you need. I want to stress need, not want so scratch that big screen off the list.
This shopping list will act as your map. When you get to the store only buy what is on the shopping list. If you stick to this list you will notice that you actually leave the store a little less broke and without a cart full of things you may have never needed to begin with. Shopping list are great ways to keep spending down and elliminate a lot of impulse buying that drains money like Lindsey Lohan at a rehab center.
I visited my local store to pick up a birthday card for a friend and after seeing the cost was $5 I calmly placed the card on the ground and began to stomp the living hell out of it. I am just kidding I never stomped it but the thought did occur to me several times. Greeting cards have reached prices that make me think maybe, just maybe money does grow on trees and that is why paper is so expensive.
I started thinking most people have a computer and a printer so why not just make your own greeting cards? Why stop there? Some people have great abilities with wood working, painting, and scrapbooking so we can use these abilities to craft gifts that are much better than what we can buy. They may not be better in quality but imagine the person recieving the gift's reaction when they see you made them a gift as opposed to buying one, especially if the gift is particulalry terrible. In all honesty we can save money by making gifts ourself and we also show the person we care. A personalised gift is often going to be better recieved because it showed you put some thought and time into it.
Catch a movie at home
I know kind of hard to get that 20 foot screen in there but seriously who needs a kitchen anyways. Movies are a great hobby but the price seems to be climbing as fast as a man trying to flee a horde of angry bees. The average movie ticket for an adult is $12. Factor in popcorn at $5, candy at $3, and a soda in a tiny cup for $5 and you soon realize you are spending way to much money at the movies. Saving money with entertainment is easy.
Simply rent a film from a service like netflix. Now you just make some microwave popcorn and buy your favorite movie candy at a dollar store. You will save a ton of money this way and you will also get to spend a very fun filled night at home with the family. If netflix is not your thing than you can find free movies on sites like youtube that will fit the bill for the whole family.
Movies at home can also be a great way to get a party going. Invite your friends over and let them in on all that popcorn action. of course you don't have to share that tub of cotton candy unless you really want to.
A great deal of money is spent paying utility bills. Electricity is one of the bills that generally sets us back a few bucks. One great way to save money is to turn any lights that are not being used out. if noone is in the bedroom why bother lighting the place? It is a huge waste of money if you ask me. Turning the lights out can save you a substantial amount of money each month and after all we are all about saving money.
Another way to make those lights work for you instead of against you is to buy compact flurescent bulbs. These bulbs will cost more initially to buy but will save money at an alarming rate over their lifetime. I replaced my light bulbs at my apartment with energy efficient compact bulbs and saw a decrease of almost $15 each month since. They are well worth the investment and last much longer than traditional bulbs do so you have to replace them a lot less making them save you even more money.
Heating and cooling a home can run into some serious money! The average person sees a very dominant increase in electric and gas bills during winter months. This is often a result of the settings for the heat being less than desirable. If you have a thermostat set to 69 degrees inside regardless of what the temperature is outside you should be comfortable.
A programmable thermostat will allow you to set the temperature and forget about it. You will be able to save money while enjoying a house that doesn't change temperature as quickly as Oprah changes weight classes.
I love Wal-Mart as much as the next fallow in search of a bargain but if we are going to save money, and I mean oodles of money we have to change our shopping strategies from time to time. While Food City and the like are great stores, Sav-A-Lot will actually give us much more bang for our buck.
Great Coupon Site
- Living Well Spending Less™ — The adventure of finding the Good Life on a budget
The adventure of finding the Good Life on a budget
Anyone Have A Coupon
Coupons can be the difference in paying full price and half price. I know this topic brings up the extreme couponing. I am not going to suggest you go that far unless you want to. Having coupons does and will save you money. The key is to only clip and keep coupons you will use. Sure the newspaper had a coupon for rolled up shredded monkey faces for $1 off. But do you really need that, or even more important does anyone?
Only keep the coupons you know you will use. A great trick I use is to get manifacturers coupons like $1 off any Degree deoderant. Now stroll into the Dollar Tree and buy a stick of deodorant and end up paying your sales tax and getting the stick for free. Coupons are a very good way to put some of that hard earned cash right back in your pockets.
Shop At Goodwill
I am a thrift store junkie! Goodwill stores offer us a chance to buy nealry anything for next to nothing. Books, movies, games, and especially clothing items are all here sitting on a shelf priced to move. I find that if you really wanted to you could make Goodwill a part of your frugal living and see some drastic changes in your spare money.
Saving money at Goodwill stores is very easy. Let's say you want a designer shirt and the store carries it for about $25. That is absurd. You can find similar items at the local Goodwill at a fraction of the cost. I recently bought 12 hardback 1st edition Stephen King books for about $10. You can even get furnitiure and toys at these amazing location.
Be Gas Wise
Conclusion.... For Now
There you have it, a few short and simple ways you can save some money in your everyday life. This is going to be an ongoing series and I would love for some of my readers to let me know if any of these methods is working for them. Saving money has always been a very important part of my life and I hope it is becoming a part of yours.