Have you seen the news lately? There seems to be more and more problems with the national economy, the mortgage crisis, big business and their businesses crashing around them. I risk saying that the only person you can rely on financially now and in the future is you. If you live paycheck to paycheck like the rest of us, you should, no, you should swoop in now so you have something away for retirement. Small changes in everyday life can have a big impact over the years.
1. Food shopping
This can lead to huge savings. When you go to the grocery store, there are ways you can save money.
- Check your paper for coupons and use religiously
- Plan your trip and shopping list before leaving home
- Items that you use regularly are usually cheaper in bulk or in larger quantities
- Choose generic products instead of brand name
- Check the expiration dates on perishables when you’re at the grocery store
When you get home with groceries and put them away, be sure to keep the bags, paper, or plastic. Plastic bags are great for tying waste baskets to, and paper bags are useful for shipping items and craft projects. You’re taking advantage of a free product and you’ve just saved a bunch of money.
2. Your debts and bills
The shorter the time you have credit card debt, the more you will save in the long run. You may not be able to pay it back in full, but the higher your ability to pay, the less interest you’ll face. And if you are late on any bill, you will also be stuck with late fees. Some people find it helpful to bank online and have recurring payments pulled from their account – you don’t have to worry about being late because you forgot. However, with recurring payments, you need to be fully aware of your account status so that funds are always available because banks love to charge you for insufficient funds.
Instead of going to see a movie, consider going to your local movie store and renting one. When you add up all the cinema costs, it’s amazing! Movie ticket, popcorn and candy, drink. Bringing home a movie, popping your own popcorn and having your own drinks will save you a lot of money over time. If you really want to spend that time at the cinema, try to go to the earlier shows as they are usually cheaper. You might also consider your local library, they can rent books, music and even movies – and they’re free!
It may be your normal routine to go to a fast food restaurant down the street from work every day. Try replacing a few of those trips a week with a brown bag lunch. You can certainly save on food costs and save on the gas needed to drive to the fast food restaurant. You know you hate those lines at the drive – find a place around work where you can relax and enjoy your bag lunch.
Going out to entertain doesn’t always mean you have a cost. Recreational areas offer hiking or biking trails at no cost and provide an outlet for a regular exercise regimen. After all, with all the money you’re saving, you want to be healthy enough to enjoy it on the road!
4. Full price replacements
Often times you can find products for less with a little research. One huge marketplace that offers massive savings is eBay. Thousands of people are selling everyday products that you can get cheaper than you would pay retail. Not only can you buy items on eBay, you can also easily create an account and sell your items to earn money. Buying online can save you almost anything. The competition is great and you can choose the online store that will give you the best deal, and it may also mean lower or no shipping cost.
You can also get great deals from the classified ads section of the newspaper. Find out where garage sales are in your area on the weekends and get incredible deals on the things you’re looking for.
When you think about what you can get for that special someone, a great alternative to buying at the mall is to make something for them. Everyone has talent in one area or another, and even if you have to buy supplies to make something, you can still save money. You usually have some supplies left over that can be used as another gift in the future. Handmade gifts are more personal and let the recipient know they came from the heart.
6. Savings around the house
There are many ways to save money around the house. Get the whole family on board and save.
- Turn off unnecessary lights
- Lower the thermostat a few degrees
- Use low energy lights
- Turn off your computer when not in use
- Hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer
- Buy energy saving appliances
- Ensure that all windows and doors have good seals to avoid heat loss
Many companies today focus on energy efficiency as their products are readily available. Make sure your family knows how to save money around the house, so everyone participates. A good incentive is to let them know that additional savings from sharing can add up and lead to special purchases and trips.
You have to make an effort to save money, but in doing so, you will see the fruits of your labor. Be aware of what you can do in your life to save money and stick to it. You won’t see huge savings overnight, but over time, the savings will be significant.