Simple Ways to Save Money

A Dozen Ways to Reduce Recession Woes.

With the unemployment rate rising higher every day, almost every segment of society is feeling the pinch. Even those who still have a job are all looking at ways to tighten their belts so they can stick a few more dollars in the savings account. We can do that by just revisiting the common sense things we do every day. Here are ten easy areas you can look at.

1 Always eat before grocery shopping. When you are hungry, everything looks good and you tend to over shop. Look into ‘recession fare’ for at least one meal a week, this means beans, rice or pasta. Look into recipes that can be used more than one way. Fried chicken tonight, Chicken Fried rice with the leftovers. Remember that Spaghetti sauce = spaghetti, ravioli, Chicken Parmigiana and Lasagna with just a little tweak.

2. Make a list. When you are on a budget, making a list can help. Make sure you have bought everything on your ‘must have’ list before you to Your ‘optionals’. This will also help avoid additional trips to the store to pick up things you might have missed.

3. Avoid convenience foods as much as possible. Rather than buying “tv dinners” because they are convenient to fix and serve, make your own foods and freeze in individual portions that can be reheated in boiling water or microwave.

4. Avoid the morning ‘fast-food’ stop by making your own ‘look-alike’ substitute. For example, replace the $4 Starbuck’s Vanilla Latte with 1/2 coffee, 1/2 milk, shot of Torani’s Vanilla Syrup. Breakfast sandwich = English Muffin, scrambled egg, sausage patty or ham slices and slice cheese. Place in plastic sandwich bag and nuke it!

5. Bottled water is a big industry these days but we hear all the time that the only real difference between bottled water and tap water is the taste. Does it make sense to buy one of the many filter on the market today? Your pocketbook and our landfills will thank you.

6. Buy maintenance supplies (toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, garbage bags, sandwich bags, etc) at a warehouse or discount store where they are cheaper rather than at the local grocery store (unless there is a sale of course).

7. Save gas by looking into car-pool if feasible. Post a sign on your company’s bulletin board. If close enough to work, consider taking your bicycle (weather permitting). Investigate the possibility of tele-commuting. Even just one day a week makes a difference.

8. Reduce non-essential services. Tough to cancel your long-standing hair or nail appointment but tough times require tough measures. Cancel you book club and look into on line swapping services such as Bookins, Paperback Swap, Title Trader or Book Mooch.

9. Reduce household utilities as much as possible. Instead of turning the furnace up, wear sweaters or sweatshirts, or use your fireplace. Make sure you have a full load before washing dishes or clothing. Do you have cable services you aren’t using? Discontinue them.

10. Reduce your cell phone charges. Look at your plan, do you really need internet services on your phone? Or is that a luxury you can do without? How about texting? Is there a cheaper plan that might suit you better. That’s a question wireless vendors are used to answering these days. They would rather put you in a cheaper plan than to lose you as a customer. It never hurts to call
them and ask. Speaking of phones, more and more people are abandoning the ‘land line’ in favor of using the cell exclusively. Is this the year you join them?

11. Do you have a web site? Is it free hosting or do you pay a monthly fee? Hosting is now cheaper than ever with a number of providers offering unlimited disc space for incredibly cheap prices. Many even throw in a free domain name. Is it time to compare Web Hosts?

12. Pennies count. Sell your aluminum cans. If your family drink a lot of carbonated beverages or beer this can mount up before you know it. Check your phone book for a ‘buy back’ site in your area. Chances are there is one right by one of your local groceries. Pick up the pennies you see here and there on the ground. If you pay cash for items, set aside your change. Put this a a can or a nice pot some place and save it. It’s always good to have a little ‘stash’ for emergencies.