Cost Cutting Tips to Save Money
Save Money during Economic Difficulty, or any other time!
As you may have noticed we are all going through global economic problems. News reports are full of stories of prices going up and employment going down. This may be a time that teaches us to value our money again and be wary of debt. The greatest good that should emerge from this is an increased awareness of how to save money and get the most value for your money.
There are several tips I can share and have used to insulate myself against the rising prices and not feel the pinch. The first is to be aware of offers being made by the stores you use, online many shops will offer eCoupons that are printed off and can be used at the till, or on an online purchase. There are loads of sites that offer eCoupons for shops around the world, the shops offer these coupons to increase their sales and popularity. If you can find eCoupons for items you would have bought anyway you may make considerable savings on your normal shopping.
Be Vigilant With Your Finances
Plan out your meals in advance and use that to make up a shopping list. By sticking to your list you will avoid buying food that will just wind up in the bin! The savings that can be made by not chucking your paid for food in the garbage can be huge. Think of it this way, you are throwing away good money when you shop on impulse.
Instead of buying lunch at work and paying way over the odds on the true value of a sandwich try making your own at home. The combined cost of ingredients to make a tasty sandwich each week day will total less then the combined cost of 5 pre made sandwiches. If you have microwavable containers and a freezer you can always make extra portions at dinner and freeze the extra portion, this works if you have access to a microwave at work say in the staff room. I find that pasta meals and curry meals can often taste better as a frozen microwavable meal. Taking this meal to work frozen should ensure it says fresh at work before lunch as it will take time to thaw.
Be willing to compare costs across the different supermarkets in your area, chances are they will each have good offers on something you buy regularly. Small private shops can often give good value on goods that are in season, you can get more then you need for less then you could hope to get elsewhere.
If you are flexible with your brands and don't mind going for an own brand or value range you can make even more savings. With own brands and value ranges you may wish to compare nutritional value, some items will not suffer in nutritional value (may even have less sugar or fat or salt) others will, you need to decide for yourself if its worth switching to a value brand or own brand.
Wouldn't it be nice if some stuff was Free?
Well here is the good news! There are valuable items out there that are totally free. Some folks will go dumpster diving and curb crawling to find free stuff but there really is no need for all of that. Freecycle groups have sprung up all over where people offer anything they have no need for anymore and all you have to do is pick it up.
Yahoo has a number of regional free cycle groups making it easier then ever to connect with people looking to free cycle their old goods. They can offer everything from clothing to furniture and electronics. My only warning is that goods offered of value get claimed quickly. Unfortunately there are people who troll these groups looking for stuff to sell on eBay, this is very unpopular with free cycle users as its not really in the spirit of why the goods are on offer. In order to maintain the spirit of the free cycle idea there are sometimes rules about offering stuff as well as taking.
Fortunately there is an aspect of free cycle that usually ensures the spirit of free cycle works. People can actually request items! It can be surprising what people will ask for as well. We filled a request for non-functional electronic stuff like phones and cassette players for a teacher who needed them in a lesson plan. I would have thrown them away had I known they were squirreled away in storage! I am happy that they got a last use and that they are no longer cluttering the place up.
I would strongly recommend having a look for free cycle groups in your area!
Save money and Reward Yourself!
We all like to treat ourselves sometimes. When you work hard it is very rewarding to have a little treat for working so hard. Dinner and a movie doesn't have to cost very much at all. Rent or record a movie for a dinner and movie night and make up your favorite dish, this can be a very cozy and decadent evening. I think of getting something like a coffee from a cafe as a real treat, I enjoy it all the more because of its infrequency. The rest of the time I make my own coffee.
Another great way to get some savings on your shopping can be to join loyalty schemes. I don't really like these that much but the savings are undeniable. With the supermarket I use most often I have a loyalty card that I use. I get green points for certain purchases and general points for most other purchases. Every few months I get money off vouchers as well as a few other vouchers in the mail. When I have managed to get quite a few points I have had vouchers large enough to almost cover the whole cost of a shopping trip (where I got more points). I may not like them keeping track of what I buy but it does seem a small price when it offers the savings it does.
In the home you may want to look at your energy providers (including things like insurance, heating etc.). If you do not regularly compare prices you could be paying over the odds. These companies are often more competitive in regards to gaining new customers, once they have you they are not that bothered unless you threaten to leave them. It may seem a shame that companies do not value established customers but you can take advantage of this by calling up their competitors and asking what they would offer to steal you as a customer. I have to say there is something satisfying about making them fight over you.
In markets and when buying expensive items don't be afraid to haggle. Making the sale is very important to the sales person you are talking to and sometimes they will make deals or throw in freebies to make the sale. I have found that with markets and companies I have bought from before if I remind them of this they can be more inclined to try to get me a good deal. I once commented to the stall owner at a Market that something was just a bit more then I had on me and found she was happy to cut the cost to exactly what I had in my pocket with no real effort on my part :). It can be surprising what people will do if you just ask.
- My Tips For Effective Haggling
In this article I share my advice on how to get the best deals haggling. If you want to get the best prices for expensive items you must know how to haggle.
- How To Complain Effectively
What do you do when a business or company gives you a raw deal? I stand my ground in those situations but anyone complaining is going to have a hard time if they don't complain effectively. Here I share what works for me.