How do You Save Money in the Recession: Part 2
This article is a continuation of a prior article that I wrote “Ways to Save Money in a Recession”. In this harsh economic climate, everyone should seek opportunities to save money and avoid unnecessary spending. The money that you save today, is money that can be better spent on your future through carefully selected investments or your retirement. Let’s cut to the chase and get down to business. The suggestions are as follows:
Consider reducing your spending on live entertainment and movies at theaters. If you like going to nightclubs, live shows, and concerts every weekend, try decreasing the amount of times that you attend these events to monthly or bi-monthly. Instead of spending $10 per person on movie tickets, either catch a matinee show or rent a DVD. It costs about $5 to rent a DVD from Blockbuster Video. Sometimes you can rent DVDs cheaper from smaller neighborhood video stores. Most public libraries have a selection of DVDs available to lend to patrons for free. In addition, you would have the benefit of watching a video presentation more than once in the privacy and comfort of your home.
Please quit smoking. We’ve all seen the TV ads, and heard the surgeon general’s warning for years. Therefore, we know that smoking is detrimental to your health. It’s also a very expensive habit. One pack of cigarettes costs about $4-5 (more or less depending on the state and city where you buy them ). Some smokers consume multiple packs in a day. Times that by the days in a year (It comes out to at least $1,460 based on a price of $4.00 per pack). I do not smoke, but this figure would be enough to inspire me to quit smoking.
Shop at garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets when possible. Garage sales are usually advertised in local paper classifieds and in online classifieds such as Craigslist.org. When you shop at thrift stores such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill, or church thrift stores, in many cases you are supporting a nonprofit or charitable organization, which is a plus. Also, I have personally stumbled upon some amazing deals at local thrift shops, such as designer purses for less than $5.00.
Don’t waste energy. It should go without saying, but when you aren’t using appliances, and ceiling fans, make sure that they are turned off. Set your A/C to run according to the temperature on the thermostat, rather than letting it run continuously. Make sure that ducts and doors are closed in rooms that aren’t occupied. Turn off the hot water heater until you have an immediate need for hot water. When you need hot water, turn the hot water heater on again about 15 minutes prior to using the water. Remember to turn the hot water heater off when you are finished. Use energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.
Purchase generic brand products and medicines, instead of name brand. Generics cost considerably less, than name branded products. In most cases, there is not much difference between the two in terms of quality. Retailers, such as Wal-mart, Target, and Kroger have a flat rate $4.00 prescription plan for the uninsured.
Buy used books and textbooks from Amazon.com, Ebay.com, Half.com, local used bookstores, and “Friends of the library” sales. This is much cheaper than purchasing new books from large brick and mortar retailers like Barnes & Noble, and Borders bookstores. Sometimes students at the school campus advertise textbooks for sale that they no longer need. Look out for ads and posts on books for sale around your school campus or in online classifieds, like Craigslist.org.
Develop a system for organizing your bills and pay your bills on time. By keeping your papers organized, there is less clutter and chaos. This also reduces confusion about when bills are due, hence reducing the chances of paying bills late and subsequent late fees. I use portfolios and paperclips and organize my bills by creditor and month.
Don’t try to keep up with the Jonses. If you can’t afford to buy some of the things that others may have, it’s no big deal. These possessions are only material things. Besides, some of the flashy people that you compare yourself with are probably living above their means. Living above your means can put you deeply into debt if you aren’t careful.
Do you really need pay TV (cable, satellite, etc.)? If it’s something that you absolutely think you can’t live without, think about eliminating premium channels that you don’t watch.
Don’t gamble with your hard earned money. The odds are already stacked against you. When you play slot machines or bingo at casinos, it is all designed to take your money. Sure you may get lucky from time to time, but the longer you continue to gamble, the greater your chances are for losing money over the long haul. The same applies to buying lottery tickets and other forms of gambling. Thinking about all the money that you will inevitably lose, and the possibility for destroyed relationships, is quite depressing. If you have a gambling addiction, be honest with yourself and seek help from professionals.