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A Penny For Your Thoughts: Our Two Cents About Saving Money

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Just recently I sat down to pay bills satisfied with how well I was doing, not only getting them paid ahead of time, but at keeping costs down and letting the checkbook “pile up”. That was until I opened one monthly bill only to find out that it was going to mean a heavy hit in the pocketbook, one I was not expecting. And that’s why mom ALWAYS said, and still lovingly reminds that it’s always good to sack something away for a “rainy day”.

Still, life’s little luxuries and indulgences, even the ones we consider “no big deal”, can add up to literally hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. And, that may mean more in your pocket if your learn the dynamics of spending (or rather saving) intelligently.

1. Resist Temptation: Mom always use to say NOT to making any purchases unless you had the money readily handy and available. Still, between the checkbook, debit card and credit card, money, for most, may not seem like much of an urgent or immediate “issue”. And, that say experts is what puts most of us in dept. If you can’t resist, think about giving your shopping list with your spouse or giving it to a friend who can and will stick to only purchases mentioned and items listed and who won’t deviate from the price point given.

2. Shape up your budget: Did you know that by getting into shape you can receive significant insurance savings, in fact, the better shape you’re in, the more you’ll save.

3. Feed your passions: If you’re a latte gal (almost $5 a cup) you could save beaucoup bucks by learning to make them at home. And, the same goes for some of your favorite exotic foods. In fact, home parties can be just as much fun as a night out on the town and you don’t have to worry about reservations.

4. BYOF: Bring your own food. Rather than go out for breakfast, lunch and snack, brown bag it for extra savings.

5. Look for package deals: This includes vacations, family plans such as on cable, etc.

6. Keep an eye out for “promotions”: Just because you are with a certain service provider now doesn’t mean you have to stay with them, especially once your contract is up. Consider looking for a better deal and switching or calling and letting them know what their competition is offering.

7. Move: Gyms are not the only place to get in good physical condition. While having the environment to facilitate fitness and professionals to guide your through it all, you can save some extra cash if you learn to stay active at home. Take up walking, biking, etc. And, do the gym twice a week on a plan that’s pay as you go.

8. By invitation only: Join a club or group that gives you access to discounts or “freebees”.

9. Follow up on ads: Don’t be so quick to discard of postcards and other ads you get in the mail. Instead give a call and see if what they have to offer is better than the deal you are currently getting. You just may be pleasantly surprised.

10. Set a budget and stick to it: Whether your grocery shopping or looking for a special gift, set aside how much you CAN spend and stick to that amount. And, as far as regular purchases or saving such a groceries or contributions to a vacation fund, but a specific amount aside each day or week until you reach you goal.

11. Clip some off the top: Trim costs by clipping coupons before going out shopping. And, try to go when certain items are on sale, you’d be surprised how much you can actually save this way.

12. Tap in to trade in: Think twice before discarding recyclables, especially if you can get back some sort of deposit, by depositing them at your local store. Yes, its only 5 cents, but nickels turn into dollars quicker than you think.

13. Get “grounded”: Give your surrounding a glance or two when you’re walking around. And, don’t be ashamed to bend down and pick up loose change, you just may be surprised at just how much you can save up by picking up loose and spare change.

14. Stash some cash: Take out a weekly amount from your check, even if its $1 or $5 at a time. Over time you will see a significant savings.

15. Get Thrifty: Try thrift stores and second hand stores for some casual or work clothes and/or some interesting “antiques” for your home. And, don’t be afraid to accept hand-me-down, especially for little ones who tend to outgrow things quite quickly.

16. Learn the art of barter: If you’re good at something your friend is not and vice versa, trade skills and save on costs. For instance, you can prepare gourmet meals in exchange for a free haircut.

17. Balancing Acts: While most people think that saving means having to “stop” living all together, it doesn’t. Simply replace your old idea of fun with a new one. Rent movies instead of going to the theater, pick restaurants that are less pricey, invite friends over for a pot-luck dinner and a board game, and go out once a week instead of two or three.

18. Buy in bulk: Especially when it comes to non-perishables. Sure you’ll likely spend the same amount, but storing things will allow you to store money aside without heading to the market each week, especially since most of us add on items we don’t really need.

19. Go for “broke: We all need to get out, and for us ladies window shopping is fun. Leave your purse in your trunk. Even better, resist temptation by NOT carrying cash, leaving the checkbook at home, and canceling credit cards. Now you can only spend when it’s absolutely necessary, and if you can’t, simply bring a friend who can help you walk away.

20. Tap into the perks at work: If you work for a clothing boutique, try doing most of your shopping there. Work at a restaurant? Eat meals there and try to bring some home for your family or for the next day. As long as it falls within what you ARE entitled to, your workplace can be beneficial in not only helping you earn money but also helping you save it.

Long Island Money & Careers Articles > A Penny For Your Thoughts: Our Two Cents About Saving Money

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