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Ways to save cost and squeeze that buck

Updated on May 7, 2010

Ways to save money when times are tight

The following covers eight different ways of saving money when your wallets are stretched or there is a hole in your pocket, all to help you tide over tough times

1)Recycling unwanted receipts

Whenever you purchase something anywhere, you'll probably be given a receipt. Very likely, you'll often end up throwing it away. However, they are actually a pretty good source of writing material for you to make notes and lists on. You can simply write down the things you need to do or perhaps some reminders on the back of the receipt (which is usually totally blank) and use that instead of a note it pad. In fact, it's even better because you won't have to bring any extra paperpads out of the house, and the receipt goes into your wallet/purse regardless.
It's effectively a portable note it pads to write on, that refills itself as your day goes by!

2)Planning travel routes before hand
Whether you drive or take public transport, it's always prudent to take note of your travel path before hand. By planning from the comfort of your home using the vast information available on the internet (usually there are even path planners available for free), you'll be able to find the shortest or cheapest path, shaving a substantial part off your petrol or ticket fares.

3)Don't get tricked by seasonal coupons and discounts, buy only what you need, and only at times in bulk.
Discounts and coupons are there solely to make people spend more, and in our case, also happens to very likely push us above our budget as we spend more than we actually do need. An example is perhaps a buy 2 get 1 free promotion, perhaps you only really require one of that item, but now that you've purchased 3 for the price of 2, what will you be doing with the other 2 items? This easily creates unwanted additional expenses to your weekly budget.

Sometimes, they even throw regular priced items into the same pile as the discounted ones. If you buy them, you won't be getting a discount at all, and possibly end up buying something you do not need, so do beware!

Alternatively, one good way is to actually buy shop vouchers from people looking to get rid of them for a lower cost. For example someone might have $20 worth of the local supermart vouchers, but does not intend to use it, you might be able to buy it from them for about $15 of real cash which they can use to buy anything else since they did not want anything from the supermart anyway.

If you need tabulation, i have a hub on sample inventory reports!

4)Mystery shopping to offset costs
Mystery shopping, or secret shopping, refers to the "part time activity" where you are hired by another company on a contract basis to evaluate the service and product quality of their outlets. A supermarket giant might want to know if its service at a particular area is up to par, and thus send mystery shoppers to check it out, filling up a checklist and evaluating the service. Following which, they would reimburse the costs spent purchasing items, as well as a shopper premium as payment for your service.

Most countries will have some form of Mystery Shopping company sourcing for "private contractors" which you can sign up for. Do take note that you should not at any point have to pay for a registration fee, as if they ask you to pay to enter it is very likely a scam. When you do find one however, it is likely they will have food and grocery mystery shopping assignments available which you can undertake to offset your daily costs on those budget areas!

5)Buy and sell second hand

These days, there are many ways to unload your old goods, especially when you need to replace them with a new one. Clothes in serviceable condition can be sold for a small price, but its worth it if they no longer fit you or are too old. Books can also be traded, with other people, and there are many such exchange programs that exists around the world. At the very least, you could possibly sell your old gadgets either at the local conversion store, or over ebay. Entertainment like dvd movies or games can also be bought and sold second hand!

6) Borrow or Rent

Even better than second hand, if its an item you won't be using for a long time, do your best to borrow or rent it. This goes for public libraries, which these days often not just have books that are free to borrow, but also all sorts of newfangled stuff such as computer software or audio books. Its free! Make use of it!

Also, renting items are more accessible and cheaper these days. Although the more common example is dvds for tv shows and movies, you can also use this for power tools, wheelchairs and equipment to list a few. If you're a college student in need of university texts, do consider purchasing them second hand from seniors also, or if not perhaps check out ebay or amazon.

7)Use the internet

You can use ebay to offload old and new items alike, as well as spot cheap and underpriced stuff, just be sure to keep an eye out for shipping and handling charges. (as well as currency differences) You can also use the internet to source and search for the companies that might be relevant to your country for the ways and steps above.

You can also use it to pick up freelance jobs to work on the side so as to have a small extra stream of income, this is especially helpful if you are able to write a lot or program or do design as many people outsource those assignments to people around the world. Alternatively, if you're a budding photographer, you can probably sell either your photos to stock photo companies, or offer to take up some photography freelancing offers online for extra cash.

8)Making a budget and analysing it

Perhaps you don't know what is causing you to bleed the most money out of your bank account. After you have made some careful collection of data, you might wish to check my other hub out on how to read your personal expense report, so as to refine and further cut down on your expenditure, saving you money.

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