- Personal Finance
Basic money saving techniques
We have all been hit by financial struggles throughout these past few years. I have researched on line how to save money in an everyday kind of way. Whether you need to save for a new car, college education, move or a big heating bill after winter these are some techniques that will help.
First, remember you are trying to save money. So those everyday trips to star bucks are not going to help you unless you are using a gift card which someone gave you. Which brings me to my first way to save money. Throughout the year there are times when people might be giving us a gift, gift card or cash. Keep these times in your head as you think of making an unneeded purchase. Maybe you could register for a gift if you are graduating, getting married or having a baby. If you are a young person about to head off into the world of independence and living in your own place put it out in social network, to family, friends, church or synagogue. Let them know what items you will need in this new chapter in your life. If Christmas or your birthday is around the corner, again making a list for those who will take one is helpful but also just waiting to see if someone you know bought the item you are thinking of buying. Just hold on to the impulse to buy the item immediately and wait to see if you get it as a gift. If you receive gift cars use them wisely. Do not run out and use them all at once, getting everything on a gorge weekend. Save some of those cards for rainy days. You might need a new outfit and you are without the extra funds, not to worry, your grannie gave you a gift card to Macy's. Go use it! You might need some detergent and that student loan has not come in yet, not to worry, mom & dad gave you a gift card to Target, go get some detergent and stop smelling up your classes! I know I have used a Star Bucks gift card well after I received it and just needed a little something to cheer me up as I ran about my usual day.
Another way to save is the use of coupons. Now, after saying that there is also a warning because coupons are made with the intent to make you purchase an product so keep in mind that some coupons will not be saving you money but costing you money. Remember just using a coupon is not good enough. If you end up buying something you do not use or like then it has all been a waste. Keep those flyers you get in the mail. Recently I had some work done on my car. I had a coupon for an oil change and 10% off any work done at Pep Boys. They took both coupons as I had both an oil change and struts put on the front end and it saved me over thirty dollars! It is always a good idea to make sure they place you are going to will accept both coupons at once. Not every business will be so cooperative. They will want you to come in for each separate coupon. If you have a phone get the Groupon app it sends out messages for sales which match up to your profile and location, another good app is GeoQpons. They too will find sales and coupons for retailers,restaurants and kids places near you. Several times I have walked into a retailer, especially Michael's and have presented them with my phone which has the GeoQpons coupons and they have accepted it. Another good thing is to sign up for coupons from you favorite eating place. If you like to eat and exclusive, restaurants then this might not be for you. But if you enjoy a good appetizer, burger and dessert from Chili's then this will help. Chili's sends our almost weekly coupons. Most are for free dessert or appetizer with a purchase of an entree. Although there is a need to purchase an entree, those are usually large and can be split and then you either have an appetizer or dessert to share. Those too are very nice when the budget has been too tight for eating out. Make it a special treat and something to look forward to as you continue to take lunches to work.
If you have a family or a house full of college students become a member of a Sam's, BJ's or Costco. Each of them offer items in bulk for cheap. As a mom of two growing children who eat just about anything, a trip to the store every week can become costly. Even if you are trying to eat healthy and fresh local food, these places can help save money and even make it possible for you to shop for local produce. I will usually purchase my items such as toilet paper, detergent, and cooking things I use regularly. On a daily basis I make pancakes for my children for breakfast. So that means, flour, baking powder and salt are not long in my cabinet. Neither is syrup and butter or spread. These items are much more reasonable at the warehouses instead of the regular grocery store. Plus they help save time. I have no desire nor time to run to the store every couple of weeks because I am out of flour, baking powder and salt. It helps to just have those things fully stocked in the house and in a month or two I can restock them. The warehouses will have things on sale such as those K-cup machines and televisions. Do not go crazy and buy everything because you are in a warehouse but like the coupons, use them as a resource. If the kids bathing suits are on sale at the warehouse and they are cheaper than at Target or Walmart then grab them and go. But if you know that other sales are better than of course wait, hold off on that impulse buy and get it at the more affordable store. Warehouses also have coupons which they mail out to their members. When those sales happen go and get what you need, most of the time they have a limit of two or three at a sale but that is pretty good. Also, these places usually have a gas station attached to them. I know where I live in PA I can get gas for about five to seven cents cheaper at Costco than at the other gas stations near me.
If there is a downfall to the warehouses it is that they have a limited supply of what they have. Sometimes they will only carry the product part of the time or year. Essentially, what you see is what you get from the warehouse. I can usually find everything I need but there is an occasion where they go about two months without carrying the kids V8 fusion juice. That being said, if you live in a large enough area there might be another warehouse and they might carry the item you are looking for all the time. So, on your way to visit your girlfriend, mom, or bubbe stop by that particular warehouse and get your stuff.
Some time ago I read an article about saving gas. I do not own a hybrid nor can I afford one in the near future. So saving money on gas with with I have is what I was looking for about a year ago. Gas prices are crazy and unless you have an overflow of money it can eat through it quickly.
First, as I am sure you have heard before, run errands close together. If you are going in one direction then do errands which are all in that area. Try avoiding going back and forth across town to run different errands. Something I began doing was not turning on the car until every one had their seat belt on. When I would park the car either in a parking place or at home I would turn off the car then turn the radio down and off, unbuckle my seat belt and roll up the windows. All of those things can be done with the ignition turned on to ACC. No wasted gas while you are sitting getting things ready. You will be surprised how this really does cut down on gas. Also, if the line is long in a drive through then turn off the car while you are just idling. If you are able to become a member of a warehouse then I would suggest doing it. They will usually have gas several cents cheaper than other gas stations. At night one or more local news stations, especially during the summer when we all like to go out and play, will have a find the cheapest gas section of the news. Pay attention to the location and see if it is near you or any errands you might be running. There are also apps for your phones which will help find cheap gas near you, find one which stays consistent and keep an eye out for the lowest cost for gas.
Another task which can help save gas is maintaining your car. Get the oil changed regularly. If you need the air filter changed, have them skip that and run to Pep Boys or Auto Zone and get one yourself, it is a lot less expense and fairly easy to put on yourself. When they do the oil change have them rotate the tires, this will help with MPG and is usually covered in the oil change. If it is not part of the oil change find a place where it is. Have the car tuned up when it is scheduled. A car in need of tune up can drink up a lot of gas. Once you find your auto place wait for coupons. Most places will offer coupons in the mail, be sure to sign up for them when you go for your oil change.