Times are tough and I don’t need to be pointing that out to anyone. I have been thinking about writing a list of ways to save money that I might be overlooking, because, it’s tough out there (like I said before).
I figured if I was writing a list of how to shave down my expenses, I might as well make it into a short article and share it with others, so it’s at once an exercise for me and a post for others to read, give feedback, and hopefully add to. Without further ado, let’s dive into the list.
How to Save Money Tip #1
1) Cut your Cell Phone Bill. Many people are switching to prepaid types of phones, which is an immediate way to start saving money on your cell phone bill. The reason it’s easier to save is because you buy minutes as you go, so when you have used all of your minutes, you have to buy a new card or a refill and add more talk time to your phone.
This way you have more control over your minute use and what you pay your cell phone company. Some good prepaid companies to look into are Tracfone and T-Mobile prepaid. Most people still go with a monthly contract cell phone plan because they are more popular and many people like getting the free phone every two years or having in-network calling for free, which is a pretty good deal.
One way to save with this kind of plan is to look at your bill for the past three months and see if you are using most of the minutes you pay for, or if you’re well under your allotted minutes. If you’re well under, lower you plan and save a few bucks a month. Are you overpaying for text messages sent and received? Maybe you need to pay the extra 5 bucks a month to get unlimited text messages. Or if you really want to save money, disable text messaging altogether. Just don’t overpay.
How to Save Money Tip #2
2) Make your own coffee. If you have a coffeemaker, it makes sense to make coffee at home instead of hitting Starbucks for a latte. Even their regular drip coffee cost $2 for a medium size. You can buy a good sized bag of Peet’s coffee at the grocery store for around $9, which actually tastes better and has more flavor than the stuff you get at Starbucks. Seriously, this coffee is good. I’m drinking it right now.
The savings from doing this adds up pretty quickly and it completely makes sense because the coffee is much tastier! If you want to go really cheap, you can find generic brands of ground coffee for a third of the price of the Peet’s kind. Another tasty option (for those who like the taste of Coffee) is Tully’s. For the cost of five grande drip coffees at Starbucks, you get around 20 cups of coffee if you make it at home.
Save Money Tip #3
3) Cancel Your Cable. This will probably cause a knee-jerk reaction with many people, but you can save a lot of money if you cancel your cable.
I know most people will not go out and make this change because it’s convenient to have a TV with hundreds of channels and often these days people have a bundle package with their phone lines, cable, and internet. What I really want to write about in regards to cable is that you should cancel the stations you don’t use and should call every time a new deal is advertised. You know those music stations that are in the 1000’s or whatever channels they are in your area? You’re paying for them, and you probably don’t need them. Cancel them. Read the fine print on your bill: find out what you’re paying for.
If you don’t watch the channel, see if you would save by cutting it out. Cancel HBO and Showtime if you don’t watch them. There are MANY places where you can watch free TV shows and movies online, so this is an option for you. Just see some of my other posts! Next time you are thinking of spending a few bucks on renting a movie, see what you can find online.
Save Money Tip #4
4) Borders Book Store or the Library? Are you a big reader? If you are, then Borders might be one of your favorite places to visit. Borders is cool because you can go there and read books and magazine while you enjoy coffee. Their hope is that you end up buying that book on Traveling to Jamaica that you are scribbling notes about as you drink your coffee in the Borders Cafe. But you don’t have to buy anything: you can just browse.
This might sound a little cheesy to go to a bookstore and buy nothing, so how about studying there and researching (for the writers out there) and buying one of the books you are interested in, instead of the two or three. If you want to be really cheap and save yourself from the opportunity of spending money, go to a library. This is probably your best option. You can also find AMAZING deals on books.
My local library has a “friends of the library” book store, where every used book costs one dollar. It doesn’t matter if its James Patterson’s latest book or James Joyce’s Ulysses in hardback. They’re all one dollar. Definitely check your local libraries for book stores or just go there and check some books out, which costs nothing.
Save Money Tip #5
5) Get a Roommate. This might not be possible for people, especially those with one bedroom or families, but if you are paying full rent on an apartment or home, maybe it’s time to look for a roommate. Why not have someone else help you pay your mortgage or cut into your rent? I’m sure you could find a good use for the extra hundreds of dollars you would save each month. You could also do this for the short term and host students from other countries. Contact your local university study abroad program and see if there are opportunities there.
Save Money Tip #6
6) Return Stuff. If you bought something three months ago that’s still in the box or that you haven’t worn, chances are you’re not going to use of wear it any time in the near future. Take it back and get money in return. Even if you don’t still have your receipt, you can still often return items to the store you bought them at. If you are “too proud” to return something, get over it. I guess that was kind of harsh! But you need money!
6) part 2…. Sell Your Stuff. Stuff is just stuff if it’s only around taking up space. You can sell it on ebay or half.com, which is very easy to do. Once you make a sale, you will mail the item out to someone and you get paid for shipping too. The one thing you will have to make sure to do if you want to make any sales is to set a competitive price so that people will be enticed to buy your item.
I have sold a few books from half.com (which is owned by ebay) so if you have any questions on how to do this, go ahead and ask and I will help you get started and tell you a little bit about good ways to sell your items.
Save Money Tip #7
7) Get rid of your credit card. Credit card companies do a lot of things to make it seem like your getting a great deal. It gets to the point where you almost don’t even realize how much money you have on your card and how much you are paying in interest. If you pay your cell phone bill or other utility bills with your credit card, maybe you should change to auto-debit and have your payments made immediately, instead of owing more to your credit card company.
Well that’s my list of ways to save money. Some are more actionable than others. I hope it helped you out or at least refreshed some ideas in your head. Let me know your best tips on how to save money in the comments here and share them with everyone else.