- Personal Finance
Living Frugal, The Easy Way
Save that money!
Let's face facts folks, money just does not grow on trees. If it did you could rest assured I would be living in a tree mansion in the middle of some forest. Times are hard all over and if ever there was a time to start saving money this is definitely it. The economic situation just does not seem to be getting any better. Instead of getting pulled into the current of financial burden and drowning in debt why not learn to make this troubled economy work for you instead of against you.
I will admit it and my friends will surely tell you I am a penny pincher deluxe! Regardless of whether a penny is face up or face down it is going to end up in my pocket if it crosses my path. In this article we will look at some great ways to save a few bucks here and there as well as some ways to keep that wallet from going into cardiac arrest. Some of these methods are a bit awkward at first but I am sure you can make them work as much as I did.
Wrapping Your Own Gift
You know I hate them with a passion equal to the love of an overweight soap opera fan to their snickers bar but regardless of my growing hatred for holidays and birthdays they just keep popping up year to year. The fact that remains for any holiday is you will usually spend a fortune and in the long run find yourself alone in the corner of the bathroom swearing to your credit card you will never leave it this way again. (Lies I tell you all lies)
There are a few ways we can save some hard earned cash on the celebrated days of the year. It takes more than three wise men, a bunny with an affliction for colored eggs, and of course the grown man in a diaper that commits arrow related assaults worldwide to make these work.
Christmas Time- I like to call it consumer nightmare extravaganza myself. People will always rush out to spend every time they can to get those presents for loved ones. If you come from a large family like I do than Christmas is guaranteed to put you in the poor house real quick. How about instead of spending tons of cash to get every member of your family a small but trendy gift you go this route?
Meet on Thanksgiving and discuss having a name draw. Each member of the family draws a name and that is who they buy for.; Granted you will not receive the tons of gifts you usually would you are also not buying a ton of gifts. Instead of 20 $10.00 gifts you can swing 1 $30.00 or $40.00 gift and get by
Wrap your own damned gifts! Ah who would have ever thought the immortal words of a mall clerk would ring so true in my cheap little heart. Stores charge an elaborate amount of money to wrap gifts in store. This seems like a good idea but let's factor 1 roll of wrapping paper is roughly a buck down at the DG. Tape is the same. Why not wrap your own gifts and save a fortune and some very snide looks from that teen trying to buy his girlfriend the newest i accessory for a phone she uses to text another guy on!
If you are really cheap save the wrapping paper from the year before and reuse that bad boy over and over again.
You could also make your own gifts and save tons of money. I have the creative epitaph of a brick of cheese so this one never really worked all that well for me. If however you are a creative and artistic person put that to use and make the gifts you give. They will be more personal and meaningful.
Free movies online
As people we are obsessed with staying entertained. We will spend millions a year if it fights the beast known as boredom. I have a friend who buys every new release DVD on the market whether or not he is going to watch it. Entertainment is a huge part of our lives and it serves to reason we spend a large chunk of our money on it, but if you think a little ahead you can save big bucks on the entertainment front and still enjoy the luxuries that are out there.
I am a movie nut. I have hundreds of DVDs. I buy mine on Amazon and Ebay because full price sucks! But I have found another method that really does well for me. Instead of buying all kinds of movies with no guarantee any will have any re-watch value what so ever why not simply borrow movies from a friend? We all have movie pals don't we?
I find swapping movies with buddies saves me tons in the long run and then if I like a movie I have seen I will go ahead and buy the DVD online or when I find it somewhere cheap.
Theaters. I admit it I am addicted to the big screen and I will gladly pay 7 bucks to watch a new release. However, I will not pay $3 for a box of freaking JuJu fruits! Theater candy is so overly priced that it should be considered extortion. I have noticed that most theaters are usually within close proximity to a Dollar Tree. Guess what kiddoes? That $1 box of candy at the Diollar Tree is the same as the $3 box at the theater. Why not run there first and pick up a box or two and hide those bad boys in a purse or jacket.
Granted theaters do frown on this but in all the years I have been doing this I have never had one attendant tell me I can not bring my candy in the theater. In the event you do get caught I never told you anything!
Date night is a great way to blow a wad of cash. You sick minds thought I was going somewhere else with that didn't you? One great thing about real love is it is not bound by money, or at least it should not be. Why? not have a romantic evening at home? Date nights at home can be just as sweet and memorable as those that involve spending a fortune elsewhere.
Computer Games and Software
In my years of being an online addict I have discovered that sure having a $500.00 word processor program is cool, but not nearly as cool as having the same features in a free program! There are tons of great software and games available online for the great price of FREE!!! We all can dance to that beat.
Sites like Kongregate and the like offer a ton of great quality games that don't cost you a single cent to play.
Eating out is one of those luxuries we love but our wallets cringe at the thought of. Let's be honest, it cost. You may be shocked to learn that some restaurants offer special nights where their items are a little bit cheaper. Take note of these nights and use them to your benefit. Also if you are going to dine in at a place why not choose a buffet? You will at first think it costly more than an average meal but think a little. You get much more food, a lot more variety and usually the meal averages out to about the same or even less than a meal at a typical sit in location.
Take note of specials for dinner and lunch and if you know you eat at a place on a regular basis why not see if they have a member's club or some sort of discount for frequent diners. It can save you some serious cash in the long run and let's face it we all know that is why we are reading this anyways, right?
I run a library in my hometown. In fact all you cool cats should swing over and give us a big old like on Facebook. Libraries are great sources of free entertainment. I am not just talking about books either. Some libraries offer movie rentals and even music. My library does not offer movie rentals I am afraid but we do offer free movie nights several times a month and usually we also provide refreshments at these events. Talk about a free date night huh?
My library also offers yugioh card tournaments, a variety of classes and a ton of other entertainment options. Make use of your local library and see what they can do for you.
-Buy from thrift stores. Movies, books, and some great clothes will be found in Salvation Army and Goodwill stores I assure you. Thrift stores are a great way to save some serious cash and at the same time most are either charity based or community owned so your money is going to a good cause. If we have to spend it let's spend it were it will do some good.
-Bulk- If you know you go through mustard at an alarming rate why buy the smaller container? Sometimes bulk is much cheaper and if you use the item at an alarming rate than you really need to consider this as an option.
-Lower Your Heat- Set the thermostat to 69 degrees and watch those electric and heating bills plummet. You will still have a cozy abode to come home to but you will not break the bank in the process.
-Weatherize Your Home- Some plastic sheeting and caulk can save you a small fortune. Seal up drafty windows and rooms you don't use. Weatherizing your home can really let you keep some of that money right there in your pocket.
Saving money used to be a hobby or an alternative lifestyle but now it has become a way of survival. The need to keep money for a rainy day as evolved into the need to keep money period.
This will be an ongoing topic I plan to write about much more in depth in the near future including some great ways to save money by actually saving money. I plan on also offering a few articles over the wondrous art of couponing so I encourage you to stay tuned to my work and I hope you will come back. Until then save well my friends.