With our plastic cards readily available, it is so easy to spend, spend, spend. Now when it comes trying to save, on the other hand, it is another story. You have a goal to reach. Perhaps it is for retirement, college education, new automobile or house or any number of other goals. Stretching the income to pay bills you already have can be challenging. It seems that to save will be to squeeze everything and have no fun. Think again. That’s simply not the case. There are simple things you can do to save money and to be frugal. The trick is to put that saved money, even if it is coins, into a container of some kind until you take it to the bank.
Look at Where Your Money Goes – Take one full week and write down every cent that is spent. If you are like most people, there is the daily morning coffee and perhaps breakfast, the afternoon muffin or candy bar, and perhaps a drink or snack on the way home from work. In the grocery store, the “buy me” items that are at the ends of aisles and at the cash registers beckon you to splurge, so you do on one or two items that were not on your grocery list.
Make a Grocery List – Keep a piece of paper on your refrigerator or kitchen cupboard. As you get down to the last item, say for instance, mayonnaise, jot it down on the paper. Check the grocery ads and coupons for the best bargains. If at all possible, shop at the store that has the most bargains for your household. Another day, if you happen to be near another store with great prices on items you have listed, stop there, but don’t go out of your way to do so, thereby saving on gas usage. Buy only what you need at the grocery store. Don’t let the sales tempt you to purchase a dozen of something when you only need one or two.
Plastic Money – Unless you are using it for a debit card, put that plastic away. The interest rates are out of sight and add up more quickly than you realize, if you do not pay your bill within the specified number of days. Cash or debit are the way to go.
Return Bottles and Cans – If you live in an area that charges extra for bottle and cans and then reimburse you that money upon return to the store, by all means take advantage of that wee bit of money. For example, if you buy a dozen cans of soda at five cents extra per can, that is sixty centers out of your pocket that you can put back into it the next time you go to the store.
Wise Gasoline Purchases – You know your area and when the gas prices rise and fall. Take advantage of the low period to fill up your tank. Put the difference into the container for savings.
Take Your Lunch to Work – Preparing a sandwich or taking leftover pasta or soup is considerably cheaper than buying it on a daily basis. Besides, you throw away less food. When cooking make a little extra with the expectation you will have it for lunch one day soon.
Use Leftovers – Let’s say you have a roast on Sunday. On Monday make a vegetable beef soup. Come Tuesday, shred leftover roast beef, make mashed potatoes and serve with gravy and perhaps some bread. There are always ways to stretch the food and have it taste different so your family doesn’t feel as if they are eating Sunday’s food.
Newspaper and Magazine Subscriptions – Do you receive certain newspapers and magazines on a regular basis but you seldom get around to reading them? Cancel the subscription or don’t sign up again. There’s more money for your container.
Walk or Bicycle Instead of Driving – Hopping into the automobile to go anywhere is a habit. Stop and ask yourself if your destination is within a distance that you could walk or bike it. If it’s a mile each way and gasoline costs $3.35 per gallon for which you get 15 miles per gallon, put another $.22 into your container.
Don’t laugh. At the end of the month, you would be shocked at the amount of savings you accumulated by being cost-wise. That goal will come more quickly than you imagined. Add to this list as you come up with other money saving ideas. Just think, you are teaching your family important life style changes that will benefit them throughout their lifetime.