Wednesday, December 26, 2007

7 Easy Ways to Save Money

Most people would love to get a raise; but did you know that by lowering your bills, you're giving yourself a raise? For every $100.00 a month that you can lower your bills, you're getting a raise of about 60 cents an hour based on $1200.00 a year divided by 52 weeks and 40 hours a week. It doesn't sound like much until you figure that most companies are giving 3% annual raises and you would have to make $20.00 per hour to get a 60 cent raise. Not only that, but $1200 would pay for a decent big screen T.V.

In this article, I plan on showing you a few easy ways to save money and with any luck, at least one that you didn't think of.

The first thing you should do after reading this article is grab a notebook, PDA or some other way to keep track and start recording your spending. Write down every purchase you make, even a soda or snack from a vending machine. Keep it up for at least a month and then look at where your money goes. You may start to see a trend that you want to stop before the month is over and by all means, change it. You may also want to do this more than once. It's a great way to keep from falling back into or developing new bad spending habits.

Improve your credit card balances and rates. This is a given and dozens of books and articles have been written so I won't waste too much of your time repeating the same old information. Just know that the lower your rate and the faster you pay it off, the more money you save. Start with your highest rate card and pay as much extra as you can until it's paid off, and then go to the next and include what you were paying on the first card. You could easily drop $100 per month just from this.

Take your lunch and snacks to work. If you spend $5.00 a day on fast food lunch and drink 3 sodas a day, you can easily save about $15.00 - $20.00 a week and that would be about $60.00 to $80.00 a month just by packing a lunch, not including gas and wear and tear on your car. Not to mention how much healthier it would be. You may only want to cut back on the lunches but it would still be a savings. Just a thought, you could use the extra time to read a book or just relax.

Buy Regular Unleaded gas unless your car requires higher octane gas. Check your owner's manual to be sure. Most places charge 20 cents a gallon extra for Supreme over Regular Unleaded and unless you're driving a sports car you won't be able to tell the difference. Depending on your gas mileage this could add up quickly.

Use a shopping list and stick to it. Avoid impulse buys unless they're something you'd normally use and on sale. Clip coupons. If you think it isn't worth it, try it for a month and keep track of your savings. If it's more hassle than it's worth you can stop. But I'm betting you'll be surprised at how fast it adds up. Pay attention to prices at different stores. Most stores offer some products under wholesale just to bring you in because they know most people will buy other things and they'll make money on the higher priced items.

Do you still smoke? I bet you're expecting me to say quit. Well, that would save you money but I'm not going to. If you want to quit then I wish you luck because I know it's hard.
Try out the cheaper cigarette brands. Buy a single pack and see how they taste. If you find a brand you like and it's a $1.00 a pack cheaper then look at how much you'll save. If you smoke a pack a day then you'll save about $30.00 a month, $365.00 a year. If you're scared of what people will think, buy a nice case. They'll never know you're smoking cheap cigarettes.

Take a look at your cable/satellite package. Look at what stations you watch and which package they're included in. If you don't watch anything in the higher end packages, drop the extra or find out if you can get just the channels you watch. If you have cable, take a look at satellite providers such as Dish Network and see if you can save money if that's an option where you live. Some apartments don't have access to the correct direction to use satellite but if you do, then it could be a better deal and you may receive a channel you've always wanted.

Check your phone bill. This is one of the easiest bills to be over charged for and one of the easiest to change. Most people think they don't spend enough to bother with it, but many companies hide fees or make up their own. Some will even tell you a fee is mandatory when it's really just an administrative fee.

What you may not realize is that depending on your calling habits or the area you live in you may want a different long distance company or you may want to go with VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) if you have a broadband internet connection. We offer a calculator that compares 11 companies and shows the rates for your area. There's even the advanced calculator that takes your calling habits and finds the best rate for you based on if you call more instate or out of state.

The point of these tips isn't to make you a cheapskate, but to allow you to choose where your money goes. You can save the extra money, go out to a nice restaurant each month or spend it in any way you want, even to buy a new T.V. And wouldn't it be much nicer to choose where you spend your money instead of wondering where it went?

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Blogger said...

Are you paying over $5 / pack of cigs? I buy high quality cigs from Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60%.

Blogger said...

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