Do your eyes glaze over every time the topic of saving money arises? If so, this one’s for you, baby. In the current financial state of things, A LOT of folks are doing their damndest to keep their finances on track, and in some cases, simply keep their heads above water. Budgeting and good money management skills are key, including the ability to effectively save. Disposable income is a beautiful thing and saving those greenbacks is a fabulous means of obtaining it. Fortunately, being frugal can be a fairly painless experience, perhaps even fun. Dig the following tips:
Make it a game or contest: You can get your family in on it, even one (or more) of your financially strapped friends and create a game where the person who finds the most creative means to save money wins. About.com recommends washing and re-using Ziploc bags, replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFLs and mending your own clothes to achieve success. A unique reward can be bestowed to the most creative saver at the contest’s end.
You could also participate in what the site calls a “save off” where all participants compete to see how much $$ they’ve saved over a specific amount of time.
Permanent make up: It may sound pricey but this can actually end up saving you in the long run. According to the Mother Nature Network, the average woman spends about $14,000 on makeup in her lifetime. Depending on the procedure, you could spend anywhere from $200-$1000 on the permanent technique, and take items such as eyeliner or lipstick off your shopping list forever.
Potty training you cat: Wild right? But if you’re down, it you can save a grip kitty litter.
Foraging: If you live in an area brimming with fruit trees and the like, this eyebrow raising method can keep your produce costs down. Just think of how much you could save by picking fruit, veggies and herbs directly from their source.
“Fashion Swap”: As the Mother Nature Network explains, “Want new clothes or accessories but don’t have the extra cash to buy them? The odds are good you know plenty of people in the same boat. Organize a swap meet with a group of friends and have everyone bring their tired fashions, unworn clothes and old jewelry, and then swap, trade or barter to your heart’s desire. You’ll acquire some new-to-you items and it won’t cost you a cent.”
Use ATMS with Zero surcharge: It’s worth it, when considering the annual revenue loss they result in. Take that extra 3-4 block walk to get to your bank or credit union’s ATM, and you’ll get the added benefit of some exercise.
Go vegetarian: Firstly, the fundamental ingredients of a vegetarian diet cost less than that of a carnivorous one. Secondly, from a health standpoint, it’s thought that a balanced vegetarian diet is more body-beneficial, which could result in fewer trips to the doctor within your lifespan.
Flush less: As the saying goes: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down.” With water costs on the rise, homeowners could save a pretty penny with that philosophy.
Shorten your ‘do: Think of all the money you could save on hair appointments and products with less hair to manage. Not an option for ya? Consider…
Going to a professional beauty school: One can save some serious cash by taking this route. That said, this option requires a fair amount of research to prevent your head ending up in the wrong hands.
The freezer ain’t just for food: MNN suggest storing items such as candles, batteries, seeds, popcorn, spices and coffee in the freezer to extend their shelf life. They also claim pantyhose are less likely to run when stored in icy temperatures.
Pay bills online: A nice way to cut down on envelope and stamp costs, plus it’s Earth-friendly.
Buy pre-owned: It can be anything from vehicles, furniture, laptops to sound systems. Sources like Craigslist, your local Free-Swap or used goods shops can help keep $$ in the pocket.
Cut cable: …And start saving hand over fist. Netflix & Hulu are decent alternatives. You can even turn to your local library to rent movies and a number of TV series’.
Check out these additional methods from The Greatist:
-Wait for Sales Visit retailmenot.com to search for discounts for a favorite item or store. Added tip: Wait until the end of a season to buy clothes when they’re all half-off or more. Unplug
-See what’s happenin’ around town Check the local newspaper, town website, or coffee shop boards for free or cheap events, from farmers’ markets to concerts in the park, that are going on around your hood.
-Leave your wallet at home or at the office Going for a walk? Leave your wallet when you head out so you won’t be tempted to grab coffee or go on a mini shopping trip.