Woman’s Day has a list of 7 Tried-and-True Savings ideas guaranteed to help you save money. I’ve mentioned many of these tips on this blog, but I enjoyed reading the consolidated list.
Here are the tips:
- Cook In – My husband and I rarely eat out. Even on those nights when we’re unprepared to make dinner, (due to a late night in the office), we’ll find something to eat around the house. That might be salad and baked potatoes or waffles and eggs, depending on how hungry we are and how desperate we are to eat. The key is to hunt around the house for something to eat before heading out for dinner or take out. This hasn’t always been the way mealtime worked at our house. When we first got married we ordered take-out quite a bit. This changed when we made a few key purchases. New pots and pans, cutlery, and a cooking class completely revolutionized our eating habits.
- Cash in Your Coins – According to the Woman’s Day article the average family has roughly $90 in change sitting around the house. The article mentions using Coinstar but I often roll mine or take them to free Chevy Chase coin counting machines.
- Write a List – Take a list every time you go to the store. Some people do this when they go grocery shopping, but this rule should apply to all outings. Whether you’re going to the mall or the hardware store take a list of the items you plan to buy. This ensures you stick to the items you’ve budgeted for.
- Give It Up – Everyone has a vice, something they can’t seem to prevent themselves from buying. Whether it’s coffee, shoes, or in my case magazines. Rather than quitting cold turkey, like Woman’s Day suggests, I recommend decreasing the frequency of your purchases. If you purchase the item every day, cut back to every other, than once a week or once a month. Over time the less often you purchase the item the less you’ll be tempted by it.
- Swap – If you can, rather than buying books, CDs, and DVDs, swap them at sites like PaperBackSwap and TitleTrader. Unfortunately, this solution hasn’t worked for me. The books I’m searching for are never listed on these sites, so I still find myself scouring the Internet. I have changed my perspective on book purchases though. Rather than buying new from Amazon, I query half.com and eBay and usually find books for a 1/3 of the retail price.
- Do It Yourself – Rather than paying someone else to clean your house, mow your lawn, or repair broken appliances, try to do it yourself. I will admit that I’m very lucky: my husband is extremely handy and more often than not with a little time and effort he can fix just about anything himself. We save an unbelievable amount of money this way.
- Use the 10 Second Rule – Before you put anything into your shopping cart ask yourself why you’re buying it and whether or not you really need it. I have two additions to this tip. First, don’t use a shopping cart if you don’t need one. You’ll be less likely to purchase items you don’t need if you have to lug them around the store with you. Second, ask yourself a list of questions before making an unexpected purchase. More often than not once I think through the answers to those questions I convince myself to put the item back on the shelf.
At the heart of it, many of these tips require fundamental lifestyle changes. You have to change your mindset around purchasing items, doing things yourself, and forgoing unnecessary wants. If you can’t do all of these things at once, try one at a time. Some will be easier for you than others. To read the Woman’s Day article in detail go here.