Saving money living from paycheck to check can be difficult; therefore, frugality has become a great way to save money and keep you operating within your budget.
It’s time to start thinking about how you can modify your daily activities to save some money. Review your previous months spending habits to determine where most of your money goes and make changes in those areas. Most people’s expenditures come from utilities, gas, shopping, and groceries/food. In addition to saving money, many of these suggestions are beneficial to both your health and time management.
1. Never pay full price. Internet shopping can be quite competitive if you’re on the business end. There’s always someone selling the same product for cheaper. This is most beneficial to consumers. Input what you’re looking for in search engines like Google Product and sort prices low to high to compare finds. Check sites like ebates.com and retailmenot.com for cash back and coupons. One word of warning: factor in shipping costs before you buy. Some vendors can offer you the lowest rate initially, but get you on shipping.
2. Ditch the landline. Landlines have become almost obsolete with the invention of the cell phone. With smart phones able to receive calls, check emails, remind us of doctor appointments, forecast the weather (the list is endless), our home phone is beyond obsolete. The home phone line only has a few uses today: fax machines, home security systems, and archaic internet connections. If, however, you do prefer the landline, you can purchase a MagicJack for $20 and pay just $20 per year for cheap long-distance phone calls.
3. Bike to work. If you live within 8-10 miles of your work, you should be biking; you don’t have to go at a breakneck, Lance Armstrong speed though. Gas prices are continuing to rise. You’d be saving anywhere from $50-60 per month on gas and that’s just to and from work. If you really want to be saving more money, start running errands on your bike. Attach baskets and saddlebags for grocery shopping. Biking everywhere could save you over a thousand dollars a year not to mention whip you into shape.
4. Shop at second hand stores. If the idea of shopping at thrift or consignment stores creeps you out, rest assured that many of them have high standards in terms of the quality of items up for resale. You can pick up almost any item at a second hand store: clothes, furniture, books, and appliances. Some secondhand stores even sell paint donated by hardware stores not mixed to a customer’s liking.
5. Buy after season. The day after holidays costs for decorations are cut in half. The same holds true for apparel. If you’re looking for a nice winter coat, check the discount rack at the end of season. Stores need to make room for up and coming products, but it’s difficult to do so with the remnants of the last quarter. Buying right after a season has ended is an easy way to save money. The most difficult part of your thriftiness is waiting until the season rolls around to use or wear your purchases.
6. Take short showers. Sure long hot showers might feel good, but taking one every day might be a bit excessive if you’re living on a shoestring budget. A sixty second shower will keep your money from going down the drain. It’s a great way to save money, and you’ll also be saving a lot of time as well.
7. Unplug appliances when not in use. Even when you’re not using your microwave, if it’s plugged in, it’s using a little bit of electricity. Now think about all your household appliances: washer, TVs, computers, phone chargers, hair dryers, fans, toasters, lamps, space heaters, routers; they all add up. You’re essentially paying for something you aren’t using. Unplugging appliances will cut down on wasted electricity and money.
8. Water down drinks (and salad dressing). Check the label of your favorite beverage; most likely, the first ingredient is water. So what’s wrong with mixing in a little more? Although there is no set ratio of water to drink, start out with a small amount, and work your way up. A taste test will let you know if you went too far. Watering down salad dressing is equally as effective. This suggestion just isn’t for saving money; if you’re watching your weight, it will also help you cut down your calorie and fat intake.