It is wise to save money. The unwise thing is to try to do it all at once. Sold savings comes when you do it gradually and give it a solid foundation. You don’t feel the pinch as badly if you are putting a ton of money aside at once. Saving money gradually works well.
Unsure of How to Get Started?
You want to save money. You have many reasons to do so, but how? How do you sift through all the information out there and the millions of tips? What tips work? How do you apply it to your life? I mean, some of the tips are good, but they aren’t realistic or applicable to everyone’s life. How will you know that the tip is working? Help!!!!
Do it Gradual and Deliberate
Most people read tips on saving money and trimming their budget and try to act on each and every one of them at once. Then as chaos develops, they are not sure which one is being done wrong or which one is the hard one to do. A person begins to realize that going cold turkey can be very painful if we are not wired that way.
You might need to go about this very deliberately and gradually. That way you can make sure that you are doing it right, applying it correctly, and can see the true effect of it.
As you read of these tips, pick ONE that you are willing to being. With each one, I’ll give you tips on how to begin and how to monitor them.
Another thought would be to do with other people (families) and compare notes, maybe start a forum on this topic alone and work out issues together. I’ve found out that when I am not doing it alone, I am more successful.
Step by Step
Step 1 — Turn off Cable — Yes, I said it. Turn off your cable or sattelite. I admit that it can be a little nervous. We cancelled ours and then signed up for NetFlix. Up to $15 a month for unlimited movies and TV shows compared to $50 a month is a big savings. If you go to NetFlix or a similar program, you are not totally going cold turkey. I’ll be honest, I was very hesitant to do this. But we werespending so much more family time and our electric bill took a dip since the TV is off most of the time instead of being on constantly. Be careful! Make sure if you have a contract that says you have to keep your cable a certain length of time or if you have a cancellation penalty. It might not be cheaper, so research it. Give it a try! What have you got to loose?
I’ve found that just a few extra dollars a month on my Amazon prime gives me more than enough of HBO and other pay channels along with my prime benefits. This saves me a ton of money. There are many options out there that can save you money. Ask around. Try a few things out. Research.
Step 2 — Turn off the lights — Sit back and and take some time to watch the activities of your light switches. You’ll begin to notice how many times anyone can walk through a room and have this huge need to turn on the lights and then exit the room leaving the lights on. Keep them off. If you have to, put tape over the switches to discourage automatic usage. Most times we don’t need the lights we turn on. It is just habit…an expensive habit.
In our house, we have begun to use hurriane lamps and candles in place of electric lights (except when doing homework which can be hard enough on the eyes). Our bill dropped to a fourth of what it was. We just have to be smart about candle placement due to the cats, but it gives us the lights we need. In fact, our little light on the fishtank is more than enough to make our way through the living room and kitchen.
Step 3 — Buying in Bulk/Community Grocery Shopping — You walk in and find that flour if bought in the huge 50 pound bag is dirt cheap. The frugal shopper in you is crying out. But the sensible side of you reminds you that you only use it periodically, and by the time you get through half of that big bag it will have those blasted flour bugs taking up house. Then you just wasted all that cheap flour. Go in with other families and buy in bulk to save those dollars. There are various ways you can do it, but the concept is that multiple families go into together to buy those bulk items that are so reasonable and therefore, nothing is going to waste including money.
Buy and freeze what you can. I buy meat in bulk at a cheaper cost and then split it up into sizes we normally use to freeze. That means I save money and time.
Step 4 — Watch those Brakes — Yes, when driving try not to use the brakes that much. I’m NOT saying not to brake. Use them wisely. Do you really have to wait till you are ten feet from the traffic light before stopping? You could have begun slowing down yards back. Most people don’t realize how much wear and tear they put on their brakes by speeding up and braking so much. This can run into money and beyond if you rely a lot on your vehicle. Be careful and think as you brake. Take care of them so that they can take care of you.
Our breaks were going out. Shopping around, we nearly passed out at the cost. Our cousin eventually did them for us if we bought the brakes. That was nearly $200 in supplies alone. Take care of the brakes and all other parts of your car. This is what helps you earn your paycheck.
Step 5 — Shop Smartly — There are times we are to buy those needed items and those not so needed items. We are going to buy them no matter what so how do you save money doing that? You shop around. You don’t just go buy it. Learn where the best places are to get it. A friend of mine loves a high priced jewelry brand but just does not feel like going bankrupt to acquire the pieces. She shops on eBay and gets the exact piece for half to a quarter of what the retail price is. That is a big savings.
I’m known for knowing what I want and begin shopping sometimes months before I really want to buy it. Why? Because then when I walk in and some salesman tries to explain how much of a sale it is, I know the reality of it and don’t walk out spending more than I have to. There are some of you whodon’t like shopping and run from it as fast as you can. See if you can enlist a friend to help who likes to shop. I bet for an ice cream sundae they would do the shopping (not the buying) for you.
Step 6 — Second Hand/Consignment — Do you really need that dress or that chair brand new? I have to admit that there are some things that I absolutely refuse to buy used (underwear is a big one). But most other things can be bought used and no one knows while you are saving sometimes HUGE amounts of money.
We had three children who grew out of clothes like there was no tomorrow (ok, only two right now are doing that to me, but…). If I went to even Wal-Mart and purchased ALL their clothes, I couldn’t leave without spending a couple of hundred dollars. I would be doing that a few times a year. Instead, we visit the second-hand stores and really shop. I don’t buy them clothes that should be burned. We find really good pieces (some still with the tags on them). I can all of my children ready at the beginning of the school year for under $200 and they get so many clothes.
Step 7 — Eat at Home — I love to eat out only because I have a variety of dishes to choose from and I don’t have to do the dishes. Okay, the dishes part is a big thing. Next to a massage every day what more could you ask for, right? But in the spirit of wisdom and poverty, we probably need to look more at home for eating.
To break up the boredom and free up time, we end up making meals ahead of time and freezing them. That way the urge to go out to eat because I’m just too tired to cook can be twarted. For $100 a week…. Ok, in today’s economy, that might be more, but it can be done very cheaply. You also do not have to eat fancy meals. Simple things such as a piece of chicken and a small backed potato works or just a salad.
Step 8 — Sell Excess — Admit it. Most of us have things around us that we don’t want, don’t like, and for sure don’t need. If we really thought about it, that could be a lot of things. Have a rummage sale. You might not make thousands, but you could rid yourself of clutter and get a few bucks along with it. EBay, Craig’s List, and other local venues are also out there to help you get rid of your excess. Take a look into it.
Step 9 — Green Movement — Everyone is going green. The “fad” is something we all should be doing just on ethics alone. But beware of really cool green tools that aren’t really needed and cost lots of money. You can go green which benefits you and the world for little or no cost. In the end going green should also be saving you money and help be smart. Don’t fight because so many are doing it. Just make sure you are doing it the correct and smart way.
Being green means being smart and thinking about your actions. Ask yourself how your actions impact the environment and your health as well as those around you.
Step 10 — Using Waste — This coud be part of the step above, but you don’t have to go “green” to think about the wastefullness we all participate in. Reusing your sandwich bags is one such example. Think before throwing it in the garbage. Think of how it can be used again.
Can you resuse leftover food? How about the plastic bags from the grocery store? Think before you throw things away. How else could you use them?
Step 11 -Coupons — Don’t laugh. Coupons can save you money. A few cents here and there really add up. A fun way to do it is to have a coupon club with your friends or co-workers. You clip the coupons you want and then pass them on to the others. They do the same. Therefore, the ones that you don’t use don’t go to waste.
Just be careful and don’t buy something if you don’t really need or cannot see a future use for it. Once my brother-in-law bragged about how much he saved when he bought mayonaisse. He bought twenty large jars for him and his wife because they were so cheap. He ended up with nearly all twenty jars still unopened three years later. Was that really a savings?
It Is Easy
I can be easy if you don’t try to go overboard. It’s easier to make life changing steps when done gradually when you can see the results and feel good as you actually make it a part of your everyday life.
Good luck and have fun saving your dimes!!!!