1. Buy Used Cars: I drive a car which is 8 years old. I acquired when it was over 4 years old, that’s enough time for maximum depreciation for a new car to kick in. The ideal time is between 4-6 years. The car still has lots of life left in it. It runs reliably and has never broken down. The other advantage is you can get all the extra options on the car for lot less. Cars usually deprecate 20% the first year and around 10% for the next three years. One important point which a buyer usually forgets is the insurance on a new car is very high. The insurance payments will be 50% lesser for a 4-6 years old car. You can easily save $600 per car. Research properly and buy a used car.
2. Use Public Parks and Libraries: These are services you pay for no matter what. In addition to a huge book collection, your local library may also have DVD and CD collections. Admitted the movies and music collection might not be great but you may find something interesting there. Latest issues of all the magazines is also a big plus. Take advantage of tennis courts, swimming pools, gym, etc. also. They may sometimes provide better facilities than private clubs. Try to use the free services as much as possible, it would stop you from spending money somewhere else.
3. Stop Impulse Purchases: You would almost always end up buying something you don’t need if you purchase it because of impulse. Always wait for a specific period before you commit. Say two weeks for an item over $100. Maybe 12 weeks for an item over $1000. This would give you time to to consider whether it really warrants the money you intend to spend. Don’t jump simply because the deal is too good. They never are!
4. Sell Used Electronics: Don’t throw away your old used DVD player or that DVD/CD collection. Sell them over the internet. Ebay among others is a fantastic place to sell electronics. Craigslist also offers free advertisements to sell your stuff. Remember someone somewhere always wants the item you don’t need. Its just a matter of how to get to that person.
5. Discontinue Services You Don’t Use: This is true for almost for anything. Your Premium Cable Service, High Speed Internet, Mobile phones, etc. Check whether you are watching all those premium / movie channels which you are paying for every month. Cancel everything and pay for only the channels you actually watch. Check whether you save over time over fixed plans. Downgrade your internet service to a speed which you actually use. If nobody is sharing your internet connection then a very high speed internet connection is probably not needed.
6. Buy Used Home items: Try to buy second hand. Usually you would get items in very good condition in a thrift or goodwill store. Check your local store. Household items are available for around 50 percent of their original cost and they are gently used too! Don’t buy new unless its necessary.
7. Rent Don’t Own: People always think it is better to own their house. Financially it makes more sense to rent rather than own. People think buying is the better investment, when its not. Calculate the rent you pay per year then calculate the cost of ownership of a house. There is the interest you pay on a mortgage, the mortgage itself, the insurance, utilities, property taxes, maintenance of the house. So its always higher than renting. If you invest the difference you will end up higher after many years. Of course it may also vary depending on the individual circumstances.
8. Cook at Home: Just about everyone understands eating out is a costly affair. Home cooked food is always better than take-outs. Pack your snacks and lunch for your next picnic (in a public park!) and I am sure you would enjoy it. Just $6 per lunch adds up over time. So try to pack your lunch to office at least 4 times a week.