Isn’t it nice to reach into your purse or pocket and find a few extra dollars you didn’t know you had? We all love reaping the rewards of hard accomplishments, so here are some great tips for saving yourself a bit of cash to do some fun things, including taking a trip, buying a new wardrobe, or starting to save for retirement.
- How many nights do you spend in front of the TV with its 800 channels and absolutely nothing to watch? Narrow your cable and internet package and start lining your pockets with green.
- Weather-proof your house. Seal the gaps around doors and windows to keep out drafts. Plant shade trees to save on air conditioning. As a bonus, with some repairs and improvements, the energy company may offer some rebates. Uncle Sam may even give you tax breaks.
- Don’t go crazy with the thermostat. Keep it just a little warmer in the summer and a little cooler in the winter.
- Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket to prevent heat from escaping. Pair this with taking shorter showers to maximize your savings.
- Plug appliances into a power strip, then turn the strip off when the appliance is no longer in use. Even when the appliance isn’t in use it continues to drain energy.
- Instead of spending $5.00 each morning for that latte, make one at home. With so many inexpensive home varieties available, there’s no reason to give money to the franchise on every corner.
- Consider dining at home more. This is a huge way to save money.
- Plan your meals and prepare a list before you go to the grocery store so you don’t overspend. We suggest taking a calculator along to keep track of your total.
- Get a membership to a wholesale club like Sam’s or Costco and buy household necessities and groceries in bulk. The prices are lower and you’ll save gas running to the grocery store each week.
- Before spending time and gas running to the store, check prices online and see where you can get the best deal.
- Shop on eBay, Craigslist, thrift stores, and at garage sales. Things are often gently used or brand new and can be a big savings.
- Only get a gym membership if you will really commit to it. Otherwise, be realistic with yourself and invest your money elsewhere.
- Plan fun family activities that cost less. Have a picnic in the park and play ball. This is much less expensive than going to a movie or amusement park. Entry to most museums is free and educational, as well. Be creative and come up with new ideas for date nights that are less expensive but still fun.
- Take a trip to the library rather than buying books.
- Teach your children how to handle money so they grow up financially responsible. Allow them to earn a small amount for performing chores. When they are old enough, teach them how to open a checking account, how to record checks, and how to reconcile their account each month.
- Talk to your cell-phone provider about your plan and reduce it to the lowest amount you really need each month. Put a monthly reminder in your calendar to review your bill and verify that your usage is adequate to your needs. Make any necessary adjustments.
- If you have a mortgage, consider your interest rate. If it is high enough, it may be worth refinancing.
- How fuel efficient is your car? If you are spending too much at the pump, consider trading it in for something more fuel efficient. If you have public transit available, take it to work or look for others who live near you and start a carpool.
Some of the savviest of savers had difficulty getting started. If you’re still overwhelmed or feel stifled by planning a budget, perhaps a call to Ovation might put your mind at rest. The key is to try to take control early so you can enjoy your life now and in retirement.