You’re always broke. At least, you feel that way. Your savings account is collecting
more dust bunnies than the corner under your bed and your paychecks just don’t
seem to stretch far enough. Take heart: With a few simple tricks, you can save more
than $100 each month.
1. Get a library card.
That often overlooked piece of plastic is your passport to good free stuff like
movies, books, and CDs.Why Pay $3 to rent a movie? Or spend $20 on that new
novel by so and so that you just have to read? Borrow them for free at the library. It
is a treasure trove of good stuff. You never know what you’ll find !
2. Cook at home.
Pack that lunch. Forgo that dinner out and fire up your stove. Eating out eats money
faster than the IRS. Watch this add up:
3 lunches out during the workweek @ $7 each =$21
2 dinners out during the week @ $11 each = $22
Grand total for the week =$43
If you do it every week for a month = $172/month
Every month for a year = $ 2064
That’s a lot of lettuce. Wouldn’t you rather use that money to go on vacation or pay
off your Visa bill? Eating at home is better for you and a whole bunch cheaper.
Not knowing how to cook is no excuse. Invest in a good cookbook and use it. (Or
borrow one from the library!) I bought a copy of 1001 Low-Fat Recipes and haven’t
looked back since.
3. Thrift baby, thrift!
Don’t go to the mall and spend $20 or even $60 on brand-new clothes. Go thrifting
instead and spend five. This year, I bought two like-new sweaters — one Banana
Republic and one Express — for a grand total of $7. Now isn’t that better than $50
You never know what is waiting for you at the thrift store, but that’s half the fun.
And, your money is going to a help a nonprofit rather. It’s almost like shopping
4. Check that bank statement!
Do you know what magic fees the bank is charging to your account?
o How much is the bank charging to maintain your checking account?
o Can you get a free account or a better rate?
o Are they crediting your account correctly?
o Is a company still deducting automatic payments even though you cancelled your
Keep your eyes peeled. Most of all, watch those ATM charges. Using the ATM can
cost you a bundle in fees. If you use another bank’s machine watch out. You’re
getting charged twice — once by your bank and once by the other– just to grab
that quick $20 you needed for lunch.
5. Make Your Own Vanilla Soy Latte.
Starbucks is everywhere, and their creamy fancy coffee drinks are good. Too many
will lead you straight to the poorhouse. Don’t go cold turkey, by any means. Cut
back or make your own steamy beverages.
My husband was drinking us out of house and home, buying three cups of $2 coffee
a day. So we bought an industrial-size thermos and some coffee beans. We send the
thermos to work with him everyday and keep those precious dollars in the bank.
My weakness is hot chocolate. The other day I paid $4 for a grande hot chocolate at
a local cafe. That one glass cost me more than one gallon of milk, so I decided to
turn cheap and start making my own at home and at the office.
6. Drink That Six Pack at Home This Weekend.
Do you really need to spend $50 every Friday night boozing it up with your friends?
When I was single, I spent all that and more every weekend just to go out and
socialize. I’m not asking you to be a recluse. Just give up one of those nights every
month and use the cash for something else. Pay extra on a student loan or tuck the
money away in your savings account to help buy freedom from your slave-driving
If you’re feeling really ambitious, give up two nights a month and invite your friends
over for movies and beer instead. Drinking at home is much cheaper, and you still
get to hang out with your friends.
7. Get on the Phone or on the Internet and Haggle.
Call your credit card companies and haggle for a lower interest rate. If they won’t
give it to you, switch to a low or no interest card. Last year, I switched from a high
interest card to one with no interest for six months. I saved a few bucks while I paid
off the balance. It’s worth it. Why give 20 percent or more to the people who send
you nasty bills and revel in your financial ruin?
Search for coupon/ discount Web sites and see if you can lower your utility and
phone bills or car insurance by switching carriers. Be sure to read any fine print on
deals that seem to good to be true.
Oh, and don’t forget the phone company. Do you really need call waiting, privacy
manager and wire maintenance service? I didn’t think so.
See? That was easy. Now you are well on your way to saving money each and every