Save hundreds of dollars per month
Now that the economy is changing, people are holding onto their cash and spending more time looking for free or reduced items.
- Stay home. Becoming a homebody might not sound like a lot of fun, but it really can be.
- Cancel subscriptions. With the wealth of information and entertainment online, do you really need magazine subscriptions? With all the news online, do you really need a newspaper subscription?
- Make your own. I won’t go into all the possibilities here, but many times we buy things when really, we could make them ourselves for much cheaper if we get a little creative. Now, this might take a little more time and effort, but it can be fun, especially if you make it a family project. If you don’t know how to make something, search for it online. You’ll most likely find some instructions.
- Do it yourself. Instead of hiring someone to do something, try doing it yourself. Sure, it takes some time and effort, but it’s satisfying, and of course cheaper. It’s also educational, if you don’t know how to do it — again, do an online search, read up on it, and give it a go.
- Reduce convenience foods. Frozen foods, microwaveable stuff, junk food … anything that’s packaged and prepared for our convenience is not only more expensive than something you cook yourself, but also most likely less healthy.
- Travel frugally. Airfare is most expensive, usually, so look to buy your ticket in advance, and look for deals. Also consider train travel. Shop around for car rental rates, as they can vary greatly (or use public transportation). Look for cheaper accommodations, or stay with a friend or relative.
- Cut the cell phone. This will not be a popular suggestion either. If you don’t like it, move on to the next one. It’s not for everybody. But think about this: 20 years ago, most people didn’t have cell phones. And miraculously, they survived. A cell phone is not a necessity. It’s a convenience.
- Cut your own hair. Many people cut their own hair, in many simple but nice hairstyles, long or short. Saves money, and time.
- Maintain stuff. If you take care of what you have, it will last longer. You’ll then spend less on buying new stuff. When you buy something worth maintaining, take a few minutes to read the maintenance manual, and create a maintenance checklist that you can attach to the item. For important things like your car’s oil changes or tune-ups, put them in your calendar.
- Save energy. There are several little things we can do to lower our power bill.
- Telecommute. Telecommuting doesn’t necessarily give you your dream job, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. But in addition to allowing you to work in your pjs, telecommuting saves money on gas, on eating out, and on buying expensive work clothes.
- Plan ahead. Sure, easy to say, hard to implement. But if you make it a habit to think ahead to things that are coming up in your life, you can save a lot of money. For example, if you think about where you’re going to get your meals when you go out to do errands, you can pack a lunch or dinner instead of eating out. If you pack a big container of iced water, you don’t need to buy expensive bottled water. If you know that a birthday is coming up, you can buy a gift on sale instead of spending more at the last minute.
- Cook ahead. If you have one free day a week (or even a month), cook food in big batches and freeze in dinner-sized portions. You have to plan it out a bit, coming up with a menu and shopping, cooking enough meals for a week or a month. But once you’re done, your meals each night (and for lunch if you like) are quick and easy. This saves you from eating out or eating convenience food when you’re hungry but too tired to cook.
- Eat less meat. I’m not saying you have to become a vegetarian, but once in awhile, eat meatless dishes. Pasta, vegetarian chili, vegetarian Indian or Thai dishes, falafels with hummus and pitas and tomatoes and lettuce … there are plenty of tasty dishes without meat. And as meat is expensive, you’ll save money on meatless dishes.
- Save on groceries. Use coupons and buy only what you need. The candy in the checkout aisle may be tempting, but do you really need it?
- Frugal Christmas. Christmas is expensive, especially in America (if you live in an area that doesn’t celebrate Christmas with a huge amount of buying, or doesn’t celebrate it at all, skip this tip). People go on crazy shopping gorges. While it makes the retailers and manufacturers happy, it doesn’t make our bank accounts happy. Break out of the cycle and find cheaper ways to celebrate Christmas.