Saving money can be a challenge and all the more so if you do not have much cash to spread around. Still, there are numerous ways that you can pinch pennies and squeeze nickels, to achieve net savings that demonstrate that you are shrewd consumer. Read on and we will look at frugal tips you can employ today.
1. Contain the credit card. You do not need to get rid of your credit cards, but if plastic is the source of your financial woes, then you need to put these on ice until you can get your finances under control. Yes, fill up a container with water, toss in your credit cards and freeze them. You will have to do some work to get to them, an effort that can thwart impulse buying.
2. Make a shopping list. You have been heading to the grocery store without a list, trusting your memory to help you bring home what you need. Trouble is, you are bringing home more than what you need including high caloric snacks, beverages, cans of soup and specials on 50 pound bags of rice. Stick to your list and you will save money. Depart from it and you always fall short.
3. Use coupons, shop store specials and carry a store card. Really, you are not paying full price for that 14 oz. can of DelMonte Grade A cling peaches are you? You are if you are not using coupons and if you do not take advantage of in-store specials. Time your purchases to buy what is on sale and to buy these items in bulk. Stock up and your net savings will be huge.
4. Cancel the gym membership. You ate way too much during the holiday season, munching many Christmas cookies and imbibing in New Year’s cheer. That extra poundage had you running to the gym, but by the third week of Jan. you were tapped out. Cancel the gym membership, get a refund, invest in a pair of walking shoes and stroll your neighborhood. Better yet, bring a friend with your for mutual support and encouragement.
5. Get there in other ways. Start to restrict the amount of driving you do by combining your trips. Also, if it is within walking distance, then those new walking shoes can take your there. Ride a bike. Take mass transit. Work from home more often. You will save gas and wear and tear on your vehicle. Moreover, if you reduce your trips enough you can ask your insurer to serve up a low-mileage policy. Perhaps you can sell that extra car too.
6. Just drink water. Flavored beverages cost you money. That morning trip to Starbucks, the afternoon break at the office soda machine and the stopover at the burger shack for a malt on the way home can add up. It can also add pounds. Make a point to consumer fewer drinks each week, quenching your thirst with water, not flavored beverages. Invest in a really great coffee machine and buy the coffee you love. Even with a Keurig machine and regular use of K-cups, you will reduce your coffee consuming expenses by at least one-half.
7. Go back to the library. Libraries are so passe, are they not? No. In fact, your library is much more than a place where old books, dusty periodicals and crotchety librarians hang out. Today’s libraries are contemporary edifices that rent out movies, DVDs, music and much more. The latest books are free for the renting too — why pay $26 for the new Grisham novel or $10 for the ebook when you can get your copy free? Renew and take out a library card and begin to enjoy big savings today.
8. Make used a household word. We modern day folk like our new stuff, but the cost of buying these things can bust any household budget. That does not mean you cannot have nice stuff, but consider buying what you want second handed. Buy the car you want when it is a year or two old, but the big depreciation has been rung out. It will still be under warranty and like new especially if you buy a certified used car from a dealer. Do the same with your home furniture, your computer, outdoor furnishings and other items. Chances are you will buy something in great condition from someone who had second thoughts about their purchase.
It is easy to adopt a frugal lifestyle, especially if you are motivated to save. Frugal living does not necessarily mean doing without, rather it allows you to save in one or more areas and splurge elsewhere, perhaps affording an item you would have charged and regretted later.
Elliot Shah works in the energy industry. He frequently blogs about the latest innovations in energy efficiency on home improvement blogs. Learn more about EnergyHelpLine.