An easy way to make money is to save money.|
I had originally written this as a guide for saving a little money each month as a way to finance your coin-purchasing habit,
but with the economy being the way it has been for a while and with financial troubles continuing to loom, this guide should also serve for those
who are looking for ways to make ends meet at the end of the month. See also how to budget and keep track of expenses.
The news had been around failing banks and mortgage buyouts, and those are still items to be concerned about. Putting enough away to handle
a few months of unemployment is a good strategy even if you are confident in your employment status. It is always a good feeling to be debt-free
so, by putting a little extra away each month, you can not only pay a little more on your debt each month but, if you have no debt, you can
build up a cushion.
A credit card is almost a necessity in this day and age so choose one with low rates, some cash back potential, and
,most of all, try to pay it off each month.
Part of the problem is that for some time now, people have been living beyond their means while hoping to eventually pay things off in the future.
That is not the way to go, sound fiscal policy would say to save for something before buying it rather than buy and worry about
paying later. Why? Because as people are paying for the first item, they see another item they think they need and since the
precedent of "buy now, pay later" has already been established, they add the second item to their inventory and are now paying
on two assets. For larger purchases, such as a home or car, this may not be possible and reducing your outlay of cash becomes vital.
The following tips can help build up a surplus so that you can save for those purchases in advance. These also help to allow you to put
more toward paying off debt that you currently or may shortly owe. Consider the following as "thinking points" and apply as many of them
as you can.
What do your do with the money you have saved?
- How often do you eat out? Restaurant meals are expensive compared to what you can prepare at home.
- Pack a sandwich for work one day a week.
- Leftovers. Make extra and put the rest in the refrigerator. This keeps a supply of quick meals at hand for those
times when you may be too tired to do a lot of cooking and will make it easier to eat at home rather than go out to eat.
- Although gas prices are dropping, this can turn around at any point given their volatility. Plan your purchasing trips in advance.
Plan what you are going to purchase ahead of time. Determine where you will purchase the goods and make a single trip. A shopping list
also lessens the impulse buying. Don't grocery shop while hungry.
- Consider buying non-perishables in bulk.
- Do you live within a mile of your workplace? Walking to work even a few days a week is good exercise and keeps your
gas tank fuller.
- Do you really need a special flavored coffee every day? With the cost of some of these coffees, limiting yourself to
even two a week can save up to $50 a month!
- Bottled water...be glad your car doesn't run on it.
- Consider replacing incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs) or, better yet, Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights.
These bulbs cost a bit more up front, but will save a lot in the long run because of the two following points: 1) They last much longer
than incandescent bulbs so, though they cost a bit more to begin with, this is quickly made up by not having to replace them near as often. 2)
They use a lot less energy. A CFL bulb that is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb uses only 15 watts (only 25% the energy)
- Put an extra blanket or two on the bed and drop the night-time temperature setting for your thermostat. Note: Be sure to
make allowances for infants, small children, pets, etc.
- Is anyone actually watching the TV? If not, turn it off.
- Check your refrigerator and freezer settings. Are they at the coldest setting? They probably don't need to be....
- Check your hot water heater setting. Is it at the hottest setting? It probably doesn't need to be.... If you have an
older hot water heater, consider an insulation blanket for it.
- If you're going to be gone for a few days, turn the hot water heater to the Vacation setting. There is no sense keeping
the water hot if it's not going to be used. Note: During the winter, be sure to keep it at a temperature that will prevent
- Wrap hot water pipes and furnace ducts with insulation.
- Close your curtains at night. Even a simple thing like a curtain can lessen heat loss through glass.