It is the new year, and while you may be making goals for your health, go ahead and make a few for your finances. One great way to save money is to make sure you are paying the best price for your purchases or ongoing services.
Why not review your spending and make sure you are making your dollars go as far as they can go.
Here is my list to get you started. Your situation will be different so adapt as you see fit.
1. Re-evaluate your cellular phone plan. Electronic billing might save you money or you may get a corporate discount through your employer.
2. If you are in Texas, check out www.powertochoose.org to compare energy plans.
3. Make sure your home is energy efficient (more on that in another post).
4. Buy used items at garage sales or on eBay. Let the first owner take the financial hit.
5. Comparison shop through newspapers, websites, and other online resources.
6. NEVER buy online unless you check the internet for promo codes and coupons. At the least, you should get free shipping.
7. NEVER buy in a retail store without checking online for a promo code and coupons.
8. Adopt a European mentality on grocery shopping. Buy what you need when you need it. We throw a lot of food away because we buy food without a plan of when and how to cook what we purchased. Buying food and never using it is wasteful of money and food.
9. Shop local. Buy farm fresh eggs locally. Get fresh milk and yogurt.
10. Keep your tires accurately inflated. Low pressure can affect your gas mileage.
11. Make a shopping list and stick to it. No impulse purchases.
12. Change your lightbulbs to energy-efficient bulbs, such as LED or CFL.
13. Be mindful of where you are shopping. If your weekly grocery shopping is conducted at a convenience store, you are probably paying extra. Keep a shopping list and go where you will get the best bang for your buck.
14. Consolidate your debt.
15. Refinance your home.
16. Refinance your car.
17. Turn your A/C up 2 degrees or your heat down by 2 degrees.
18. Use coupons.
19. Consider pre-owned certified cars.
20. Buy in bulk on things like paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels, assuming you have room to store the extra.
21. Don’t buy bottled water. Instead fill your own bottles or insulated cups.
22. Eat at home. Limit eating out to one night a week.
23. Rent a movie instead of going to the movie.
24. Stop shopping out of boredom. We have all done it. Get a hobby. Anytime you get an urge, clean out a closet or a drawer. Take up gardening.
25. Freeze your leftovers. Don’t just wait to find them a week later with their new mold growth. Frozen leftovers are great to have available when you are short on time.
26. When it comes to dressing your little children, buy used! They grow so fast, why spend good money on clothes they will soon discard? Wait and buy something special for family photos, special occasions, etc. Maybe you like to live vicariously through your kids. Why? Your kids need to learn the hard knocks just like you did. They don’t have to have the most expensive clothes, toys, etc. They probably don’t even care if they do!
27. I love clothes and shopping. But really, I should wait and buy clothes when I have a need, not just for socializing or boredom.
28. For special occasions use renttherunway.com or something similar and rent your outfit.
29. Buy off brands. A lot of time it is the same thing, same manufacturer, etc. I actually prefer the taste of the Walmart brand vanilla yogurt over that of the name brands.
30. Keep your home clean and in good repair. Delayed maintenance only makes things worse and more expensive.
31. Review your landline plans. Get a bundle to save money.
32. Make your own cleaning products. I have accumulated tons of cleaning products, but there are very few I use. The extras sit around getting old.
33. Make your own spa products.
34. Do your own ironing. Only dry clean things that have to be dry cleaned.
35. Instead of getting your hair cut every 5 weeks, change to every 6 weeks.
36. Instead of doing your nails every 3 weeks, change to 4 weeks.
37. Always ask for a discount at the retailer. Just ask, “Is this the best price you can do?” Or, “may I have a cash discount?”
38. Maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to save on doctor bills. Get exercise daily. Stay active. Get plenty of sleep, and eat what is good for you.
39. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true. Remember this old adage…it will save you money in the long run.
40. For ongoing prescriptions, check out options to save. Compare prices at drug stores versus monthly or 90 day prescription refills.
41. Think through your purchase. It may be cheaper per ounce to buy the large container of peanut butter. But if you won’t use that much before it goes bad, it will save you money to get the smaller container.
42. Compare checking accounts to find one that pays interest with no minimum balance.
43. Never use an ATM machine that will cost you money (unless in an emergency).
44. Use senior discounts, veteran discounts, cash discounts, any discount the retailer will offer.
45. When at a retail store, ask if they have any store coupons you can use. I forgot my coupons at Joanns a few weeks ago and asked the clerk. After she used coupons on her cell phone, I saved $40, which was half my bill.
46. When you decide to buy something, wait 24 hours before you actually purchase. A lot of times you will talk yourself out of it.
47. Do you need the movie channels, newspaper, cable, dish, land line, etc.? If you get rid of these, you can spend more time with your family, improving your health, and cleaning your house. Spend your time doing things yourself in order to save money.
48. Trade off cleaning house with a friend. It will go faster, you will save money on house keeping, and you will have fun with your friend.
49. If you have a spare car, get rid of it. Sell all the cars you have to get a better one.
50. Research, research, research. Impulse purchases cost extra money.
51. On faddish things, buy cheap. On lifelong things, but quality.
52. Buy dog/cat food in bulk.
53. Bargain when it comes to car purchases. They don’t mind going to their manager, so you shouldn’t mind telling them no.
54. Change the oil in your car every 4,000 miles. The oils are better these days, yet the recommended mileage between oil changes has not been extended.
55. Recycle your printer paper. Print on both sides.
Re-evaluate how you spend your money and see if you can find big and small ways to save. It all adds up. And to me, that could add up to an earlier retirement!
Bonus Information: An article on saving money from thestickvacuums.com might be of interest as well. Click here to read.