Avoid Impulse Buys
Marketing professionals are fully aware that you have to stand in line at the store, and therefore find yourself looking around for goodies to check out. The magazines are usually there, as well as candy, lint brushes, light up keychains, etc. These are things you don’t really need. Look, but don’t touch. Avoid talking yourself into buying something that’s been put there specifically to catch you at a weak moment. Just don’t do it.
Do It Yourself
With so much information on the internet now, and many, many sites that offer How-To info (like eHow), there are a number of things for which you may have needed a professional in the past, that you can now do yourself. Don’t take on any dangerous projects, or do things that are well beyond your capabilities, but for little jobs, or quick repairs, consult the internet for instructions. You might learn a thing or two, and then you can start charging your friends for your newly discovered talents!
Cut the need for speed; for obvious reasons. Speeding tickets are expensive, and sticking to the speed limit, and maintaing speed are better for your gas mileage. Also, avoiding speeding makes you less likely to get into a fender bender, or worse. Don’t forget, too, if you do get a speeding ticket, your insurance rates go up. Avoiding a speeding ticket for that reason alone will save you a bundle. Do some quick math with me… say the speed limit is 40 and you need to drive a distance of 10 miles. You should arrive, barring any traffic jams, in 15 minutes. Let’s say you decide you’re late and so you put the pedal to the metal. You’re driving 60 in a 40mph zone. Do you realize you’ve only cut your arrival time by a mere 5 minutes? You ‘could’ justify that, but if you really think about it, it’s not quite worth all the risk involved.
Consider travel alternatives
Airline prices keep getting higher, and sometimes even when you plan ahead, the price to fly is is out of reach. Fortunately, Amtrak and Greyhound offer much cheaper alternatives. You can also shop comparison rates for all the major rental car companies, and hotels in the area where you’re headed. You may even be able to save money by driving a rental car to your vacation destination.
Opt for used over new
Many items are virtually ‘as good as new’ even if they have been slightly used. You may not want to go that far with cars and clothes (though I certainly would consider it) but, for things such as books, cds, and gift items, used may be the perfect choice. Whenever there’s something that you fancy, take a moment to wonder if you could find the same item used.
Brew your own coffee
Good heavens, you do know how expensive Starbucks coffee is, right? Even spending money on coffee at the local convenience store, or cafe is quite a markup from the cost of brewing your own. Get a coffee maker with a timer and set it to begin brewing before your alarm clock goes off. Get yourself a travel mug, if you’re short on time, and fill up at home.
Visit your local library
How often do you purchase a book that you actually read and re-read? Don’t you usually just read a book once? Why spend a ton of money on a bestselling hardcover when you could borrow it for FREE from the library? Unless you’re a collector, you could get loads of books for free from your local library, as long as you return them. 🙂 Most libraries even have a periodical section complete with comfy chairs. Take a break, pull up a chair, and get caught up on the latest news and gossip from newspapers and magazines. No need to buy them.
Comparison shop your local grocery stores
When you need food, that’s pretty much it. There’s no time to run around and see who’s got the best price. So, if you have more than one grocery store in your area, including the grocery section inside a Super Walmart, pick about three items, like milk, your favorite brand of cereal, and that half gallon of ice cream you buy once in a while. Notate the price of those three items and next time you go grocery shopping, pick a different store and see how the prices add up. Take into consideration any shopper’s discount card and notice if the prices are comparable. Walmart prices are different everywhere, but I’ve noticed a considerable difference on may items. Even when compared with our local ‘discount’ grocery store, Walmart’s prices are much lower. I get a substantial savings when doing the shopping for a 2-3 week period.
Look for money
Always be on the lookout for money on the ground. Pennies add up too, and lots of people overlook them, or drop them on purpose. What?? Don’t worry about people wondering what you’re doing. If you don’t care, they won’t either. Anytime you see change, or especially a bill, on the ground, just bend over and pick it up. (You could even invest in a metal detector and make it a hobby.) Put your ‘found’ change and bills in a special jar. This is a fun thing to do for 1 year. Mark the date you begin on the jar, and after one year open it up to see just how much money you’ve found.
Find student or intern programs
Oftentimes local beauty schools, trade or vocational schools, or colleges of dentistry will offer deeply discounted programs to the public. If you need a haircut, auto body work, or some work done on your teeth, you may be able to find a deal. Check with local colleges or training schools to see what they offer.
Check local free event listings
Your local area likely has free events, free parks, and free activities; some of which you may not even be aware. Check at your library, in the newspaper, or on the internet for local listings. You might walk or bike in a park, find a public swimming pool, join a free club, or partake in free sporting events. This is also a great way to meet people with similar interests.
Give a little
Giving is a wonderful thing. The act of giving actually opens up a passageway in your energy field. It creates a two-way street for gifts to flow in and out of your life. I’m not necessarily suggesting that you tithe 20% of your paycheck, or even donate a set amount to charity. If those things work for you, by all means, it’s a great thing. But if all that feels overwhelming to you, start small; very small. Give a bit to a child, to someone in need, or to a worthy cause. If you can’t possibly spare a few dollars, give some time. Give of yourself using the gifts you have readily available. Even just a simple smile or ‘Hello’ to a stranger will begin to change your life.