Monday, February 22, 2010
Simple Ways to Save Money
Things are so expensive these days. We seem to be hearing, and saying, that a lot lately at the gas pump, in the grocery store and especially when paying bills. But there are simple ways to help save money without making sacrifices in your lifestyle. Small savings can turn into large rewards for little effort. Start with the small things. Eat out less, stay home more often. Invite your friends over for a potluck supper and rent a movie. You are still able to enjoy entertainment at half the cost of going out to eat and then to the movie theatre. My friends and I rotate whose house we will go to every weekend. Giving the house a thorough company-coming-over cleaning is then limited to once a month. There are many, many ways to save money when shopping for your children. Their clothing can be purchased at a consignment or thrift store for half of the original cost. Many clothing items may even still have their tags, especially baby clothes. Set up a clothing swap with your friends who also have children. You may find that they can hand down clothes to your child that will be eventually handed down to their even younger child. All children like to draw; the evidence is displayed on refrigerators across the land. Have you noticed that your office paper has been quickly disappearing? This phenomenon of missing printer paper can become expensive. Recycle your office paper for artwork. Or even re-use the paper grocery bags, they're free! Babysitting costs can add up. But you have to get away every once in a while. Try rotating sitting with your friends. We keep the kids on Friday night while our friends go out. They keep our kids on Saturday night while we go out. It reduces the cost of our night out on the town. Speaking of those weekend trips out, don't go crazy! It can be so very easy to spend a lot of money on the weekends. You've worked hard all week, and now you deserve to have fun. While that may be all so true, you might not be thinking about your overall budget. Plan activities that don't cost anything. For example, instead of spending the weekend at the local amusement park, go to a new park and ride bikes through the trails. Picnics, hikes and scavenger hunts cost very little, while they create wonderful memories for your family. When it comes time to purchase new appliances, look for the energy saving appliances. When you have to run several loads of laundry a week, you want to use as little electricity as possible. On nice days, hang your wash outside instead of using the dryer. Not only will you save money, but it can be a nice escape from your daily routine. Look at all of your appliances, and see how you can save money by using them smartly. You can turn your refrigerator down in the cooler months. Insist that no one is to stand in front of the fridge with the door open for more than fifteen seconds. Electric bills can add up quickly, so eliminate the waste of electricity by turning off lights when you leave the room. One of the biggest ways that money is lost is through mismanagement. Credit cards may help you make ends meet, but if you can't pay the entire balance at the end of the month they will cost you money. Interest charges and minimum payments can stretch out a small amount of money into a long payment period. Every month, you are losing money to interest. Overdrafting your bank account is another example of lost money. Even though you have overdraft protection, it will cost you in the long run. If you are charged $25 every time you overdraft, and you overdraft four times a month, you have lost $1200 a year to fees. What could have been purchased with that money? What would that money be in twenty years if you had invested it wisely? There are ways to save money. It may seem as though a little bit here and there isn't worth the effort, but believe me - pennies can turn into mountains.