August 10, 2010

10 Best Ways to Save Money

Are you looking to save more money?  Here are my 10 Best Ways To Save Money!

Coupons - Coupons can save you thousands of dollars a year. Almost everything you can think of has a coupon out there somewhere. Groceries, entertainment, clothing, movies, and much more. There are several places you can find coupons. The coupon websites, your email, your mailbox, magazines, the newspaper, the entertainment book, or store fliers.There are paper coupons, printable coupons, ecoupons.  Are you catching that coupons are everywhere? You can go here to view all available coupon resources, lingo, and more here.

Budget - A budget is a great way to save money. I would first track your spending for a few months and then set a budget based on your spending. Set a weekly or monthly allowance for each category (groceries, fun/entertainment/eating out,bills, etc.) If you spent $300 a month for groceries while tracking your spending then try for $250 as a monthly budget.  Using coupons will make this very possible along with not buying junk food at the store.

Meal Planning - Let me start with saying, eat as much as you can at home.  Have you ever had a night where you don't know what to cook for dinner so your decide to eat out instead?  Meal planning gets rid of this all together.  My meal plan is simple. 
Sunday: Pasta
Monday: Grill/soup
Tuesday: Chicken
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Breakfast
Friday: Crockpot
Saturday: Pizza
Some people go much more in to detail about meal planning.  They plan meals based on whats on sale each week.  Which ever way works for you is great.  My way works for my family because we almost always have these items on hand.  If we don't then we substitute. 

Stockpiling - Buy only when things are at their lowest prices and buy tons of it. If you keep a price book this will make things easier for you. A price book is an ongoing list of the items you most commonly purchase and how much you paid for them. This list allows you to detect price cycles, spot bargains, and plan your shopping trips for maximum savings. You are probably thinking why would she need 10 toothpastes? I buy 10 toothpastes or more at a time because if I can get it free with coupons, then why pay $2 or even a $1 per item when i actually need it? Same goes for Laundry Soap, Toilet paper, shampoo, or anything else you can think of. These have a long shelf life and can sometimes be expensive. So why not stock up when you see a great price then running out when you run out and pay full price. We never pay full price in this house!

Learn To Do Things Yourself - In my house we try and learn to fix things ourselves first.  My husband does car and house repairs.  I do haircuts, and dog grooming. How to videos are all over the web.  I also use Google or I read how to in books. We also sew/repair clothing, have a vegetable garden, refinish furniture, indoor painting, remodeling, and more.

Find Free Entertainment - Entertainment is included in every budget. What our family does is finds cheap or free entertainment to cut that part out of the budget as much as possible. Free entertainment includes: the library, the mall play area, parks and wet playgrounds, festivals, and game night.  Don't forget about sports.  Enjoy sports for your family such as frisbee, hiking, walking, biking, etc. 

Buy Used - Buy as much as you can secondhand. Cars, clothing, toys, baby items, music, movies, books, and more. Craigslist, Ebay, second hand shops, are all great places to start. If you hate the thought of buying used then buy on clearance. Either one of these will save you thousands each year.

Buy What You Need, Not What You Want - Do you really need every movie channel on your cable plan? Or call waiting, call forwarding, 3 way calling, or caller ID? Do you really need a 1500 minute cell phone plan when you only use 700 minutes a month? We are always paying and buy things that we don't need. My family got rid of our house phone and down graded our cable and Internet. Now think about groceries.  Do you really need those cookies, ice cream, potato chips, and pop each week?  I only buy things like this for my household when I can get them dirt cheap.  Otherwise, we go without. 

Get What You Can FREE - Several companies offer free samples, free subscription, free trials, and more. You can find all the freebies I have come across here.  You can also get furniture, clothing, music, magazines, and so much more FREE.  Craigslist and Freecycle are great places to find free items. I posted all about this in my "How To Get Things FREE" post.  Plus, you can get free internet (if you have a laptop) at the library and other places offering wifi.  If you do decide to keep your internet, another alternative for cable is to just get rid of it and watch all your favorite shows online. You can view more about this here (from MoneyTalksNews).

Kick Expensive Habits - Shopping, smoking, gambling, drinking, and collecting.  Just to name a few.  All of these cost a lot of money if done obsessively.