Wednesday, July 9th, 2008...12:50 pm
21 Practical ways to save money
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- Make a shopping list: This will ensure that you only buy what is necessary and don’t overspend. By making a list, you will have a good idea of what the final total will be, avoiding any unpleasant surprises.
- Avoid shopping while hungry: Ever gone shopping and thought to yourself: “I feel like eating some of that now” or “I could do with one of those”? This leads to many unnecessary purchases and more money spent when it doesn’t have to be. By having something to eat beforehand, or choosing a time to shop when you’re not hungry, you’ll cut down on what you’ll buy and also be able to plan that week’s shop a lot more reasonably. Because in time, those “hunger-buys” will start to add up.
- Buy own-brand food: Food is what we spend a large percentage of our income on, so the more we can save on the food part of our lives, the better. One way to do this is to not always go for the more expensive types of food. A supermarket’s own brand is often just as good as the much more expensive “designer” brand of food. Not only this, but sometimes the own brand will be slightly better for you, saving your health and your wallet from taking a hit.
- Don’t buy designer clothes: Clothes are another necessity we can’t do without, unless we don’t mind frequently breaking indecent exposure laws. A very easy way to save here is to not buy designer clothes. Clothes which are non-designer may even last longer, and will certainly be far cheaper. No doubt you will also spare some poor Asian child from a hard day’s labor as well.
- Clear out and sell anything you don’t need any more: All of that stuff you have that’s gathering dust in the attic or in the garage can be sorted through and gathered up and disposed of in a number of profitable ways. You can hold a yard sale in which passers-by will take away your treasures for a few dollars. Or you can put it all on eBay, and discover that that old plate was an antique collector’s item and watch as the money comes rolling in to your current account, if you’re lucky.
- Build furniture yourself: Start buying flat-pack or DIY furniture that you have to construct yourself. Not only will you limit spend from your savings account , but you’ll also be learning valuable life-skills which are always great to have access to.
- Use your natural talents: If you have any kind of talent, such as singing, a musical instrument, or being able to write, you can milk those talents for all they’re worth. Try writing freelance, there are plenty of places on the internet looking for writers/reviewers with talent. People are also eager to learn musical instruments, so try posting job notes in local shops, and you’ll be teaching a would-be musical artist in no time.
- Don’t dine out: Dining out costs a lot more than it does to eat in. So maybe limit yourself to eating out for special occasions, and instead spend less money on going out but more time staying in with your family.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking is an expensive habit to maintain, and all that cash spent on cigarettes can be better spent on other, more necessary things.
- Don’t drink: The occasional drink out with friends or for special occasions is fine. But learning to say no to buying more drinks on a night out, or to buying drink for home, are essential skills needed in order to save money.
- Go energy-efficient: By buying all those slightly more expensive energy-saving light bulbs, you’ll be saving more in the long run, as those bulbs will last for much longer before having to be replaced, and will also use up less electricity, softening the blow of when the bills come in.
- Change cars: So you have a massive and impressive SUV? It does not impress anyone when you realize that a large percentage of your income is going into keeping the thing moving. Instead of a car that eats through gasoline like a child eats through candy, go for a more gas-friendly vehicle that can travel further on a gallon, helping your gas money go that bit further as well. And remember to compare car insurance when the time is due, you can save many of your hard earn’t dollars by comparing online.
- Don’t use a car: The next best thing to having a more gas-efficient car is to have something that doesn’t require gas. Try using a bicycle to travel, or use the buses or various other forms of public transport. Or even try walking! Walking will cost you absolutely nothing, and will see that you get a lot of exercise at the same time. This will also create savings on insurance and breakdown cover for your car.
- Use the public library: Instead of buying all those books and movies, you could go to the library and borrow them for almost nothing, for as long as you wanted to continue borrowing. In the end, this would save you a fair amount of cash, especially if you read a lot.
- Keep an eye out for sales: There’s always some kind of festive/monthly sale on somewhere, but the key lies in being able to find out where these sales are happening. Local papers and the internet are some of the best ways to find these out. If an item can be bought in a sale, then you can potentially save up to 75% on things like clothes, electrical appliances and other household goods.
- Watch out for deals: If it’s “buy one get one free” or “buy three for the price of two”, you have to be careful with regards to if you really need those things. If it’s on the shopping list and or is an item you usually buy a lot of, then it might be good to take advantage of the offer. If it falls into the “do I really need it?” category, then you might be better off without it. I’m sure your wallet will.
- Don’t watch so much TV: Buying a cable package with 1000 channels might seem like a good idea at the time, but in reality you might not even watch most of those channels and could really do without them. Cutting back on the channels and changing the package-deal you get is an easy way to save cash here.
- Cook: Rather than buying TV dinners, you should cook more often. Buying raw ingredients and being able to combine them into a tasty treat is a very impressive skill to have, as well as enabling you cut back on the costs of food.
- Buy things online: The internet is a readily available resource on which many of the day-to-day items that we need are to be found for much cheaper than if they were to be bought in a local or downtown shop. By taking advantage of this, we can save not only money, but also time, another valuable commodity.
- Drink tap water: Buying all that water in bottles is certainly going to add up to much more than your home water bill will if you drink from the tap. The natural minerals found in tap water provide just as much nutrition as anything that comes in a bottle.
- Don’t spend: Don’t spend what you don’t have, avoid maxing out credit cards, don’t take out loans, and don’t borrow from friends. If you can get into the right frame of mind, and not go past your financial limits, then you’ll be in a very good position to start saving all of that cash.