Save Your Pennies, Save Yourself
"What's a soup kitchen?" ... Paris Hilton
If you are as financially comfortable as can be and living like Royalty, skip this hub.
To quote Aristotle: "Men are divided between those who are as thrifty as if they would live forever, and those who are as extravagant as if they were going to die tomorrow."
You're still reading, so you must be like the vast majority, hanging on for dear life, through this global, economic tsunami. You know you've heard it all and believe you've tried it all...."ways to stay afloat," that is. Nevertheless, I'm here to throw you a lifeline, free of charge. Lesson #1: Never say, "No," to FREE.
Much like you, I resent the phrase, "we have to cut back." It makes us cringe. Just how much more can we give up, or how many corners can we shave or pleasures must we abandon?
OK, I'll be the bad guy and give the answer. Plenty. Calm down and stop the groaning. This will be nearly painless. The focus is on little things, baby steps and picking up the coins on the floor. With a bit of effort, common sense & creativity,you're on your way to a fatter wallet.
Your new Mantra..."Save Everywhere I can, Every time I can..." Situations and occasions to SAVE, are endless. You only need to pay attention. So, clear your mind by purging your conscience and simply ask yourself two questions.
1. Am I a shop-a-holic or binge-spender whose habit is out of control?
2. Do I give in to whims and wants or allow myself to be drawn into advertising razzle-dazzle?
Is that a YES to either or both? Time to take the pledge:
" I accept that my shopping.spending sprees must end today. Now, not tomorrow. I hereby vow to myself and family, to snap out of my haze and get real about saving as much as I can, as often as I can."
Congratulations, you're off to a great start. Keeping this pledge is as easy as 1-2-3.
NEVER choose to go shopping, simply for something to do or to pass the time. Opt for productive, healthy, CHEAP activities instead. Take a walk, read a book, clean out a closet or take a nap.
Toss out every catalog that arrives in the mail, stay OFF the shopping Network and away from on-line stores. Out of sight, out of mind. If you don't need it to survive...you don't need it. (At least, for the next year, as a trial period) Give yourself a fair and reasonable chance to reap the benefits.
While it seems that everyone around you is running amok at the Malls, buying more stuff and collecting new junk, keep on smiling and stuffing your mattress. Leave the shop-a-holics to their temporary highs and the crash and burn of buyer's remorse. Give your piggy bank a big fat kiss, and go on about the business of better days to come.
American Journalist & Educator, Max Lerner: "In our rich consumer's civilization we spin cocoons around ourselves and get possessed by our possessions."
STOP! Don't throw that out!
You know where I'm headed here. Your own home or apartment is loaded with potential attainable cash. Everywhere you look, you should see dollars and cents available to line your pockets. A thorough inventory is in order and there's no better time than today.
All clothing, in good condition, clean & pressed, that has been in your closet long enough, can be taken to your local consignment store, displayed in a yard sale or sold via advertising. From the pile headed for the trash, snip off all buttons to save and depending on the fabric, cut into cleaning rags. Use, use and re-use. This same process pertains to household items, toys and jewelry. Any amount earned this way, $50.00 to $150.00, it's your choice......in your pocket or in the trash?
Celebrity, Actor, Comedian, Will Smith: "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't need or want, to impress people they don't like."
The Lightning Round of Saving Tips
#1) Make use of your local library or swap with a friend, rather than buying every book you'd like to read.
#2) Take 40 minutes and $4.00 and MAKE that birthday cake instead of ordering one costing 5x's more. While you're at it, cut, paste & create a card.....more of a personal touch as well as a savings.
#3) Adopt the habit of keeping all lights off in every room but the one you're in. Setting up or down just 2 degrees for heating and cooling, saves $$$ every month.
#4) Carpool at every opportunity.
#5) Offer and accept children's hand-me-downs and keep them circulating as long as they last.
#6) Dry laundry outdoors or even indoor, on a drying rack.
#7) Buy your kick-around clothes from Goodwill......(donating to charities is an added bonus.)
#8) Do your research, compare prices, guarantees and return policies......look for sales, rebates, discounts and coupons.
#9) Buy perishables only in amounts you know you'll use BEFORE expiration dates......and NON-perishables on special and in bulk.
#10) Cleaning Supplies: Keep a gallon of white distilled vinegar on hand at all times. It's terrific as a cleaner, de-greaser and disinfectant. 90% of hard surfaces, floors included, are better cleaned with White Vinegar & water solution than any expensive, harsher liquid cleaner.
#11) Always read the white "unit pricing tags" on the shelves, below the products, (not just the price tag on the item)
#12) Remember to relax and have fun. Entertain friends & family with dinner or a BBQ at home, and when they ask what they can bring, graciously take them up on that offer.
#13) Extend the life of your wardrobe by washing and drying according to instructions, mending or pressing when needed. Keep formal wear hung and protected with plastic bags. Polish shoes & boots and condition them against the elements....keep them dry and aired out.
#14) Take full advantage of local FREE clinics for screenings and vaccinations. This goes for Fido too. Every city and town has an annual FREE Rabies Clinic.
#15) Always check your receipt and count your change, immediately after a purchase. Keep all receipts safely tucked away, for possible returns!
#16) Ask to see the CAR FAX! Be sure to READ THE FINE PRINT.
#17) Simplify, modify & beautify the inexpensive way whenever possible. Use your talents, avoid the stress. It's all quite simple and proven by many to improve your CASH health.
By the way:If you live in an area that charges a 5 cent deposit on cans and bottles, please don't tell me that you toss them out rather than return them for your deposit. (Also, don't tell me you don't know anyone who does that!) A whole lot of people just can't be bothered to carry these cans & bottles back to a store for refund. The clear deduction here is that they are literally throwing nickles into the trash, right? If you're one who can afford to simply toss your coins into a trash barrel, why are you bothering to read an article about saving money? Look friend, even if you buy only a 12-pack or two of soda or beer in a month, isn't that $7.20 - $14.40 per year? Please, at least give these returnables to someone else who could benefit by those few dollars. I know you have witnessed individuals walking along, bag in hand, picking up these cans & bottles. Do you realize this is probably how these people eat from day to day?
I've done my good deed and shared my tips. If you knew much of this already, call this a "reminder" I trust you'll find 50 to 100 dollars of "bonus" money at the end of each month,in just coins!
American Humorist, Evan Esar: "The Mint makes it first, it's up to you to make it last."
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© 2011 Paula