- Personal Finance
How to Save Money
In today's world, we are all trying to find great ways to save money, make money, or both. One thing that works great with saving money is to take several smaller ways of saving money, do them, and your savings will slowly start to pile up. For example, using Kroger bags to line garbage cans. In the back of your mind, you may be thinking that you already buy the cheaper trash bags, and you only spend two dollars a week. Let's take a minute and look at that. There are fifty two weeks in the year, so if you are spending two dollars a week, that adds up to a total of $104 per year just on trashbags. Now, if you start using those Kroger bags that are slowly accumulating in your kitchen, you may only have to buy trashbags every other week instead of every week. This takes your annual spending on trashbags down to $52, which looks a little better than the original $104. As you can see, the little things do count, and can slowly add up. So here are some more great ideas to help you save money.
1. Avoid impulse buying. This is one of the most important ones. It's easy to see something while you are already at the grocery store, decide it doesn't cost that much (so it won't really matter), and then buy it. Stores are even set up to trap us into doing this with pretty, eyecatching displays near places they know you are going to walk, such as by the stores entrance and cash registers. A great idea to try when attempting not to impulse buy things is to wait three days. If you still want the item in three days, buy it. Chances are, you won't really care in three days.
2.Make a list. This goes along with impulse buying. Make a list before you go to the store, and stick to it. This will prevent you from buying unnecessary things.
3. Don't look at everything. Even I do this sometimes. You're in the store, and have some extra time on your hands, so you casually wonder down the cosmetics aisle even though you originally had no intention of purchasing anything. Twenty minutes later, you have decided that you must have that new eyeshadow, and it is laying in your cart. If this happens to you often, try going to the store when you don't have a lot of extra time to look at miscellaneous items.
4. Buy generic brands when possible. Personally, my children do not complain if they get generic Frosted Flakes. They are just ecstatic they get to eat cereal that has sugar on it, which does not happen very often. Also, many generic brands work just as well as name brand things. If it doesn't seem to measure up, go back to the name brand, and stick with generic brands on things when you can.
5. Compare prices. This is especially important when shopping for bigger items, such as a new car or washer. Shop around a little bit before making your final purchase to ensure that you don't spend more money than you have to.
6. Shop online. This is a great way to compare prices and can help prevent impulse buying at the same time. A simple click and that cool thing you were about to purchase is gone. Also, many stores have a larger variety of products online, so you can always seem to find what you are looking for, which is great. This also doesn't require you to leave your home, so you save money on gasoline too.
7. Roll your own cigarettes or stop smoking. Let's just face it. The pack a day habit can quickly add up. If you spend five dollars a day on cigarettes, that's $35 a week, and $1820 a year. Rolling your own cigarettes can save you a lot of that, and there are several different products available to help you do this. Some stores will even roll them for you (with the purchase of tobacco and filters.) If you just can't seem to suck it up and go with this idea, cutting down on smoking is another great alternative. If you can manage to smoke only five cigarettes a day, that is only 1 3/4 a pack a week, taking your yearly cost down to about $455. This is not including the health benefits. I am a smoker, and am seriously considering this...
8. Dig through your freezer before you go to the store and make your list. You can save some money just by using what you already have instead of buying a whole new meal. For example, if you like to make Hamburger Helper and mashed potatoes, and you already have everything to make this meal except a box of Hamburger Helper, you can have a meal with the purchase of only one thing. See how that works?
9. Coupons. This one is pretty much self explanatory. Use coupons.
10. Drink water. In addition to the wonderful health benefits of water, this can save you a lot of money if you are accustomed to drinking an excessive amount of juice and pop. Water is cheaper (if you plan on buying bottled water) or it is free (if you want water from your sink.)
11. Pack a lunch. This can save you money that you would normally spend buying lunch. Even if you only pack a lunch two out of five days, remember that those little things can add up.
12. Take a water bottle with you. If you frequently find yourself going through a drive thru to purchase something to drink, invest in a good sized water bottle or thermos to take with you for when you are thirsty.
13. Eat dinner at home. This can save you money the same way that packing a lunch can.
14. Make a list of your spending. Seeing where all of your money is going can be a real eye opener for some. For the next month, make a list of every single thing that you spend money on. At the end of the month, take a long look at it. Sure, some of us have all of our money going to bills. Others may be spending excessive amounts on new clothes and toys for their kids, and not even realize it.
15. Tell your children NO.Some parents are quite good at this, while others aren't. Every parent that didn't have a lot of things or nice things growing up seems to want their children to have everything, and, because of this, buy them things they frequently don't need. One of the most important things that children can have is time with their parents, something that money can not buy. During Spring quarter of college, I was contemplating going to work full time as well as attending school full time, as I have done before. The main downside to this is that there is less time with my children. The upside is that I have more money to spend doing things with my children. Since this seemed to revolve more around my children, I consulted with them before making my final decision. They sweetly informed me that they did not care, and would rather be poor as long as they still got quality time with their mommy.
16. Budget. When you have money, budget it. Pay your bills first. With everything else, set a predetermined amount that you will spend, and do not go over it.
17. Take a look at how many bills you have. For example, if you are paying an extra $30 a month for an upgraded cable package, but only watch one of those channels, is it really worth that extra $30? I'm sure you would be able to find something else to watch without that one channel.
18. Don't go out as often. Some families love to go out to do things. While this is great, if you desperately can not afford it, try to find some cheaper alternatives around the house or in your community.
19. Take care of things you already have. Make sure to check the fluids in your car, and have any leaks fixed. Take an extra minute to take off your child's nice shirt before they eat spaghetti if you already know it will be covered in stains that seem impossible to get out. If you take care of things you already have, then you won't have to replace them as often.
20. Don't throw away things that are fixable. For example, if your shirt's button fell off, and you do not have the slightest clue how to sew on a button. Instead of buying a new shirt, get some thread and a needle, and look up how to sew a button on. I promise, it's not that hard, and can save you money if you do this with things whenever you can.
This list can go a long way and eventually wind up saving a person hundreds of dollars in the long run. One great thing about saving money, is also thinking about things you can do with that saved money. If you quit smoking, and saved almost two thousand a year, that would buy a lot of things. Two years of that, and you can go on vacation!