I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1 foot bars I can step over–Warren Buffet
The best way to have more money is to cut down on spending. We need to plug the holes in our budgets and stop letting our money get away from us. Below are several ways to save in your day-to-day life. Small savings in a few areas can add up and increase what you have to live on.
Look For the biggest money saver of all!
Cleaning—My first suggestion comes from my friend Michele. Last winter she began making her own cleaning products from essential oils. The cost is so much less that the savings are enormous. A surprise benefit for her is that she didn’t get sick all winter. Usually, she suffers from several colds and has a chronic sinus infection, so for her it was really noticeable. She saved money, avoided harsh chemicals, and adopted a healthier way of life.
My grandmother used to wash the windows with a vinegar solution and newspaper. She said it was the best way to avoid streaks. My mother cleaned the toilet with bleach. My friend Helen still cleans everything with Comet. (Josephine the Plumber must have made a big impression on her.) Using ordinary household items as cleaning products or one product for many functions is a great way to save money.
Another way to save on cleaning products is to buy concentrates. Companies like Melaleuca sell organic concentrates that save you money, keep you away from caustic chemicals, and do great things for the environment. Shaklee and Seventh Generation are other companies offering concentrated nontoxic products.
Shopping Tips—Create a budget, know what you can spend—and don’t go over. Buy generic brands: most times they are just as good. Buy things made in the U.S., many are much cheaper now. Write a list and stick to it. Join rewards programs and check for coupons for those items before you go. Don’t shop because you are bored. Compare pricing at different stores and Supermarkets. You may be surprised at the differences you find.
Remove your credit card numbers from internet shopping accounts. Get rid of the purchase with one click option: having to enter the number each time gives you the opportunity to rethink your purchase. Believe it or not, this has saved me a lot of money.
My brilliant friend Peggy worked at a department store during the Christmas rush. That way she got discounts on gifts and expensive winter clothes. She also had a job lined up year after year.
Home—Use programmable thermostats. Turn off lights. Change your light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs: they last longer and are more energy efficient. Use power strips which cut electricity to electronics not in use.
Put on a sweater rather than turn up the heat. Wear socks and use extra blankets to keep warm. Keep curtains closed during the day to keep the house cool in summer. Keep air conditioning set higher to save on electricity.
Lower your water heater temperature and turn off water when brushing teeth. You can save over 3,000 gallons per year and help the environment while you’re at it.
Financial Savings—Don’t pay maintenance fees for any banking you do. Call your credit card companies and see if you can get your interest rates reduced. Always ask for any fees to be waived, even if it was your fault. It can’t hurt, and they often say yes. Pay your bills online and save on checks and stamps.
Health—I know we’ve all heard it over and over again, if you have your health….
Right now that’s truer than ever. Being healthy decreases your doctor visits, it decreases the number of medical tests you need, it decreases hospital visits, and it decreases the number of prescription you take. Good health adds up to a big plus on your bank balance and determines how you are going to spend the rest of your life.
There are many ways to save money. Look at your spending habits and see if there are things you can do without or replace with a less expensive item. The less we spend here, the more we’ll have for necessities and perhaps financial security.
How do you save money? Please leave a comment below. I’d like to know.
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Contains excerpts from Retirement Basics: Help for Broke Baby Boomers.