Ch. 05: Miscellaneous Ways to Save

Ch. 05:
Miscellaneous Ways to Save

You can save money in plenty of different ways, in almost every aspect of your life. For example, at Christmas instead of spending a ton of money on lots of expensive gifts for friends and family, make homemade cookies and put them in pretty tins. Handmade crafts or a nice picture frame with a sentimental photo are both inexpensive and thoughtful. A personal handwritten card or note is also a lovely added touch.

If you find yourself buying a lot of things you just don’t need like that new handbag or that flat screen television, use the thirty-day rule. Come back thirty days after you look at something you’re interested in and ask yourself if you really need that expensive pair of earrings. Most likely you will find that your desires aren’t as strong after thirty days, and you may change your mind about making the purchase. Basically, every time you buy something that is considered a “fringe” purchase, think about it before you actually take the plunge. You just might surprise yourself and find that you’re buying a lot of items that you normally do not really need.

You might be surprised to know that many creditors will reduce your current interest rate simply if you ask them to. By making a few phone calls, your credit card company may be able to lower the APR of your card. If your credit is good, the odds are in your favor for a lower rate. If the first person you speak to does not oblige, ask to be transferred over to a supervisor. With a little bit of time and bargaining skills, you can probably get the rate lowered on at least a card or two. Another option for saving cash is to use balance transfers. Most major credit cards have offered to give you lower rates if you move your balance over. Just a few interest points can save you hundreds of dollars per year. Look for offers that have no balance transfer fee, and save even more.

If you have children, there are plenty of things you can do for free that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Local parks are a great way for kids to get out and explore and get fresh air and exercise. Some zoos have free days or offer reduced rates for younger children. Local botanical gardens are another fun place to explore. Buying toys or putting your child in front of the television is not always the solution. Kids want to spend time with their parents, so remember that and come up with some creative ways you can all bond and have fun together. Quit unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking.

Not only does smoking cause you to smell bad and have bad breath, but it is also the leading cause of cancer. Quitting smoking can save you anywhere from $50- $100 per month. Cut back on drinking as well, and you will be surprised not only how much better you will feel, but at how much money you have been able to save. Eliminating these bad habits will also help save on health-related costs later on down the line.

Cancel any memberships you do not use any longer. The gym, the local country club, whatever you are a member of that you no longer use – cancel them! You’re probably paying monthly or annual dues that you’re not using. If you decide later that you want to re-join, you can. On the flip side, become a member of every single discount program you can think of. Whether it’s the local grocery or drug store, or a movie rental store, most places now offer rewards cards and other perks for members where you can save loads of cash.

Create a budget. This is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to help you save money and get a better view of where your hard earned dough is going each month. Write down how much money you make every week, and then calculate what you’re spending on bills and everyday expenses. Be sure to include everything from the power bill to your grocery expenses. Look at how those expenses are broken down and then try to come up with some things to cut. For example, you probably don’t watch or need every single movie channel you subscribe to. Call your cable company and cancel a few packages or see if they will give you reduced rates.

Share your talents with others, and perhaps they can share theirs with you. Swap babysitting nights between friends, and offer to do some landscaping for a neighbor in exchange for electrical work. Helping each other out not only builds relationships, but it can also be a real money saver. Try to repair your own clothing or other items yourself before just giving up and buying a new one. Learn to sew a button on that blouse. Try to figure out why your car is making that loud noise; it could be something very simple and easy to correct. Some people even learn how to cut their own hair to save money at the local barbershop or hair stylist!