Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ten on Tuesday it is:

10 Ways You Can Save Money

1. Make a budget. Be realistic. The best way to do this is save all your receipts and bills for a month. Make that your starting point and then trim from there, rather than picking arbitrary numbers you have no hope of achieving.

2. Balance your checkbook once a week. That way, if you've had unexpected expenses, you are reminded to adjust your spending.

3. Get your furnace/air conditioner checked up twice a year (before the heat goes on and before the AC goes on) - really helps keep everything working well. Change your filters regularly. We change them when the time changes. Easy to remember.

4. Caulk windows, make sure doors seal properly, and add insulation. Insulation isn't cheap, but you'll get the money back in savings on your heating and air conditioning bills remarkably quickly.

5. Plan your week. Again, be realistic. If you regularly buy a week's worth of food and then toss half of it because your plans changed, then adjust your shopping and go twice a week. Sure, you have to make an extra trip, but that's cheaper than tossing food. Really look at what food costs. And how much is convenience food vs going out? If I'm tired, I'll buy that roasted chicken because $6.99 is far cheaper than dining out!!!

6. If you hate leftovers, learn how to cook precise portions.

7. Patronize your local library. My library has an internet catalog so I can sit in the comfort of my own home and request the latest bestsellers. It may take a month or so for me to get them, but books are horribly expensive these days and most of them I don't really want to own.

8. Join the Borders email thing. I forget what they call the program, but it's free and they send out coupons almost every week. Today it's 40% any DVD boxed set. Most of the time the coupons are 20-25% off, but every couple of months they offer 40% off any book in the store or online.

9. Don't buy things because you have a coupon or because it's on sale, unless it's a product you normally buy. Grocery coupons save money, but only if it's on stuff you actually need. Don't get a Sam's or Costco membership if you won't use it. Often, you'll find a bunch of things you would not normally buy and end up spending a bunch of money you wouldn't have normally spent because "it's a good deal".

10. Unsubscribe from store emails unless you regularly shop at that store. Less temptation! Put things is your online shopping cart but don't buy it immediately. Often, that have to have item becomes less attractive a day later.

And a bonus tip:

Put money into savings at the beginning of the month rather than waiting to see "what's left over" at the end. In addition to regular savings, have $25 or $50 automatically go into a savings account and DON"T TOUCH IT. At the end of the year, you'll have enough for a trip!