In spite of the fact that money seems to have wings these days, it is possible to have a savings plan. For many who have lost their jobs or have had to take a pay cut and downsize their home, setting aside even a small amount of money seems like an insurmountable mountain. Here are some practical ways to save money to help you get started.
Instead of purchasing a gift for everyone in your extended family at Christmas time, why not get together with your family and draw names. Set a reasonable limit that each person can spend on a gift, or have a competition to see who can find the neatest gift for the least amount of money.
Make simple gifts instead of purchasing them. For example, if you have children in your family who enjoy coloring, print off coloring sheets that each one would enjoy, and put them together in a coloring book. For older children, add crossword puzzles, mazes and word searches to the coloring pages.
Another practical idea that will help you save money on gifts is to make a coupon book for the person. For example: If you are making a book for your married sister, you can have a coupon that says you will watch her children one evening while she has a special night out with her husband. You can offer to clean her house, sew her a dress, help her with her garden or anything else that she would like you to do. One coupon could be for a free lunch out with you.
Instead of purchasing gifts for birthdays, take the children to a park where there are lots of toys to play on. Take along their bikes and skates, and let them enjoy themselves. You can even take a picnic along with a homemade birthday cake.
Items You Need
When you need something for your family or home, do not go out and purchase it new. Start watching the clearance sections in the stores near where you live. Many times you can find just what you need at a greatly reduced price. Never be in a hurry to buy.
If you cannot find what you are looking for on clearance in your local stores, try the thrift and surplus stores in your area. Sometimes you can get the item you need used in a like-new condition for very little money. Yard sales can also yield some good finds.
When you get the urge to landscape your yard or plant a special flower garden, do not go out and purchase all of the plants at a lawn and garden store. Check and see if you have any flowers or plants in your own yard that could be separated and used. Talk with family members and friends about giving you a cutting or a bulb from plants they have in their yards. By doing this, you can get the majority of your plants and flowers free.
Your House Mortgage
Plan to pay at least one extra mortgage payment on your home during the coming year. By just doing that, you can cut your loan down from 30 years to 18 years. If you can manage two or more extra payments, you will be able to save even more in interest payments.
Stay Away From Stores
If you have a weakness for purchasing things you do not really need, stay away from stores. Only go to the store when you absolutely have to, and then only take the necessary money to purchase what you need. If you plan to go window shopping, leave your money and credit cards at home.
There are many practical ways to save money. Stop, and write down all the ways that you spend money during a month. Consider each one, and see if it is necessary or if it can be eliminated. By doing these simple things, you will be amazed how much money you can save.