Easy Ways to Stretch A Buck
10 Simple Things Anyone Can Do To Save More Money
1. Have a Garage Sale. The phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure" certainly becomes apparent at a garage sale. Holding onto a box of cassette tapes, yet all you own is an ipod? Have clothes that you have been hanging onto for years that sit in the back of your closet? Now is the time of year to start weeding out all that junk! You will make money, cut back on trash, AND have much more space you didn't have before!
2. Carpool, Ride your Bike, or use Public Transportation. With today's soaring gas prices, there is no better time to lower the time you spend in your car. Not only will you have to fill your tank less frequently, but you will also have fewer maintenance charges. Added Bonus: By finding alternative means of transportation, you are also lowering your carbon footprint! Read other ways to be "green".
3. Stay Home. Yes, we all love to go out to eat, go to the movies, and go out for drinks... but all this entertainment spending can really hurt the wallet! Instead, opt to stay in. You would be surprised how much fun you can have without spending any money! Tip: Plan a theme night. Have all your friends over for "Board Game Saturday" or "Poker Friday" or - better yet rotate whose house is hosting the night. It's fun, cheap and gives you something to look forward to every week. Saratoga Insider TIP: If you are going to go out in Saratoga, find places to go that are budget-friendly. Read our article on exploring Saratoga on the cheap!
4. Go to the Library. If you calculated the money you spent on books, music and DVDs throughout the year, the total would probably shock you! Head to your local library and borrow for FREE! Video stores charge close to $5.00 a movie for 2 nights! If you watched 1 movie a night for 3 months, that would be upwards of $60.00. Books are expensive too and chances are when you are done reading them, they sit on a bookshelf collecting dust! (While you are looking at those dusty books, consider #1 on our list.) Heading to the public library is a habit that is worth developing so resist the urge to buy and start borrowing!
5. Take Advantage of Direct Deposit. This is a no-brainer. "Out of sight, out of mind" couldn't be a truer statement when you set up Direct Deposit. Most workplace payroll systems allow you to put a portion of your salary into multiple accounts. All you have to do is request it, fill out a simple form and you are on your way to saving...without you having to do anything! And since you don't have to remember to deposit the money month to month, you will be less likely to skip.
6. Toss Catalogs. Temptation is the root of all evil. Dispose the onslaught of catalogs you get in the mail. By throwing them out immediately, you are doing away with the often-times dangerous scenario of flipping through and finding something you absolutely can't live without! Better yet, stop the catalogs from coming to your house in the first place. Websites like Catalogchoice.org allow you to decline paper catalogs you no longer wish to get. Added Bonus: by signing up on the list, you can also save natural resources.
7. Avoid the Dry Cleaners. With new technology in washers, dryers, delicate rinse cycles, gentle detergents and home dry cleaning kits, avoiding costly dry cleaner bills could be avoided easier than you thought. Spot clean frequently. Often times, a garment's label says "Dry Clean Only" and could be hand-washable. Added Bonus: you will be avoiding potential hazardous toxins that can be found at dry cleaners.
8. Buy on Sale. Head to the back of the store where sale and clearance racks are found. Check sales circulars and buy "off-season". For some purchases, you can save big on "last season's" goods. For example, prices on spring merchandise are usually discounted in April or May when stores are trying to get rid of their inventory for the new summer line. Looking for a pair of skis? Don't wait until right before the season starts - get your gear in March or April when the season is almost over.
9. Wait Before Buying New Technology. I know...we all want the best NOW! But wait - if you hold off on that new deluxe cell-phone, ipod, or other techy item just 3 months, the price of that item has probably been reduced. Plus, you can read reviews of the products before you buy! Added Bonus: when the 3 months are up, you might not even want that new gadget any more - saving you even more money!
10. Bundle Your Cable, Internet and Phone. Most service providers now offer all three services, so why not bundle and save! Added Bonus: you will only have to keep track of paying one bill instead of 3!