Have you watched the news lately? Seems like there are more and more issues with the national economy, mortgage crunch and large business and their businesses crashing around them. I hazard to say that the only one you can rely on financially now and in the future is you. If you are living paycheck to paycheck like the rest of us, then you should, no, you must buckle down now so you have something put away for retirement. Small changes to daily living can have a huge impact over the years to come.
1. Food shopping
This can lead to huge savings. Whenever you go to the grocery store, there are ways you can save money.
- Check your paper for coupons and use them religiously
- Plan out your trip and your grocery list before you leave home
- Items you use regularly are usually cheaper in bulk or larger quantity
- choose generic products instead of brand name
- Check expiration dates on perishables when you are at the grocery store
When you get home with your groceries and put them away, make sure to keep the bags, paper or plastic. Plastic bags are great to line waste baskets with and paper bags come in handy for shipping things and craft project. You are making use of a free product and just saved a bunch of money.
2. Your debt and bills
The shorter the time you have credit card debt, the more you are saving in the long run. You may not be able to pay them all completely off, but the more you are able to pay, the less interest you are going to have to face. And if you are late on any bill you will also get stung with late fees. Some people find it beneficial to bank online and have recurring payments withdrawn from their accounts – you never have to worry about being late because you forgot. However, with recurring payments you need to be very aware of your account status so that funds are always available as banks like to hit you with fees for insufficient funds.
Instead of going out to a movie, consider going to your local movie store and renting. When you add up all the costs of the movie theatre it is astounding! The movie ticket, the popcorn and candy, the drink. Bring home a movie, pop your own popcorn and get your own drinks will save you a lot of money over time. If you really want that time out for a movie theatre, try to go to the earlier shows as they are usually cheaper. You might also consider your local library, they can books, music, even movies to rent – and they are free!
It might be your regular routine to hit the fast food place down the street from work everyday. Try replacing a few of those trips a week with a brown bag lunch. You definitely save on the food costs and you save the gas needed to drive to the fast food restaurant. You know you hate those lines in the drive through – find a place around work where you can relax and enjoy your bag lunch.
Going out for entertainment doesn’t always mean you have cost. Recreational areas offer hiking or biking trails at no cost and provides an outlet for a regular exercise regime. After all, with all the money you are saving, you want to be healthy enough to enjoy it down the road!
4. Alternatives to Full Price
Many times you can find products for less with a little researching. One huge market that offers massive savings is eBay. Thousands of people are selling everyday products that you can get for cheaper than what you might pay retail. Not only can you buy items on eBay, you can also easily set up an account and sell your own items to make money. Purchasing online can save you on pretty much anything. The competition is great and you can choose the web store that will give you the best deal, and might even mean reduced or not cost shipping.
You can also get great deals from the classifieds ads section of the paper. Find out where the garage sales are in your area on the weekends and get incredible bargains on things you are looking for.
When you are thinking about what to get that special person, a great alternative to a mall purchase is to make something for them. Everyone has talent in one area or another, and even if you have to purchase the supplies to make something, you still will save money. Usually you have left over supplies that can be used for another gift down the road. Handmade gifts are much more personal and let the receiver know they came from the heart.
6. Saving Around The Home
There are many ways to save money around the home. Get the whole family on board and save.
- Turn off unnecessary lights
- Lower your thermostat a few degrees
- Use low energy light bulbs
- turn off your computer when not in use
- Hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer
- Purchase energy efficient appliances
- Ensure that all windows and doors have good seals to avoid heat loss
Many companies today are focused on energy efficiency are have their products readily available. Make sure your family is all aware of how to save money around the house, so that everyone participates. A good incentive is to let them know that the additional savings from participating can add up and lead to special purchases and trips.
You have to put in an effort to save money, but in doing so, you will being to see the fruits of your labors. Be conscious of what you can do in your life to save money, and stick with them. You will not see huge savings overnight, but over time, the savings will be substantial.
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