I love saving money!
The financial meltdown has been hard for all of us, but it’s also created some excellent opportunities to save. So here are ten ways to stretch your dollars.
1. Use coupons, but only for what you need.
2. Shop the sales. Many department stores have special savings times, like Wednesdays or Saturday mornings. Find out when your favorite spots are hot and hold off on shopping until then. But be sure to buy only what you need.
3. Some stores offer discounts to their credit card holders. I didn’t have any store credit cards until one of my favorites started giving a 5% discount off the top every time you use its card. So I got one, since 5% off is 5% off is 5% off. But any discount is good only if you’re careful and pay off your balance every month. And be sure to buy only what you need.
4. Take out DVDs from your library. In most cases they’re free, and even if there is a charge, it’s going to be lower than any rental outlet’s.
5. Let your cable/satellite TV service go. TV can become a drug, a very addictive drug. So save your money and take a walk or read a library book or–drum roll–talk to your family!
6. Do you really need high-speed internet? We have a dial-up service that costs $7.95/month, and when we need more speed we go to the library and use their computers, which are connected to a T-1 line. You can also find free Wi-Fi at libraries, cafes, and book stores.
7. What about your cell phone? Every year we buy 100 minutes for $10 for each of our two phones, and we always have time left over.
8. Start reading about how to cut your expenses without wrecking your life. I’ve found several lively books at my library, and there are articles (like this one) all over the internet.
9. Read Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. This book changed the way I thought about money when I first read it in 1993, and by 1998 my husband and I were completely debt-free and paying cash for our cars. This is not a book about making budgets but about living life to the fullest.
10. Start thinking about your life. What really matters to you? How much stuff you do need? If you didn’t have cable/satellite TV, high-speed internet, and cell-phone contracts, how much money would you save? You could pay down your debt, start or add to an emergency fund, save for college or retirement, or build up a down payment for a house.
Everyday frugality is as much about what we think as about what we spend. It’s about figuring out what we truly want . And it’s about living our lives from our hearts instead of through our stuff.