SAVING MONEY IN A BAD ECONOMY
Everyone can use some help to save money in days like these. Here are a few that might keep a dollar in your pocket and out of someone else’s.
MAKE GIFTS THIS YEAR. Whether it be kid’s crafts, your own special hot cocoa mix, or cheaply framed family photos, this can be fun and cheap. Or, offer a card with an evening of babysitting as a gift to young parents. Maybe even swap out with them rather than exchanging gifts.
ONE MONTH WISH LIST. Put a wish list on the fridge for items you may like (new watch, camera, etc.) but may not really need (you may need a transmission). Any item over whatever dollar amount you decide must be on the list one month before it can be bought. Just write the date and see if you still really want it next month. Odds are, something else will catch your eye in between. Also, if you put your credit cards away, you will have to come home to get them. That helps with impulse spending.
FUN FOR CHILDREN. Your children really want time and attention more than stuff. Next time they deserve a treat, let young ones go wild in a dollar store and you are only out 1.09 each. Or, take them on special Daddy-dates to do something free like feeding geese, skipping rocks at the river or exploring a hiking trail.
CLEAN OUT AND SELL. Closet cleaning can lead to a yard sale, a consignment shop, Ebay or a donation for the tax deduction.
LESS PACKAGED MEALS. If it comes in a package, it is usually less healthful, more fattening and more expensive than the alternative. For instance, think of the cost and nutrition of a bag of chips and dip versus two quartered apples with peanut butter. Cooking is usually cheaper and better than just heating. Crockpots are Godsends in this area.
IF YOU SMOKE OR DRINK, QUIT. There is little out there that takes as much from you as smoking and drinking. In the case of cigarettes, they cost you dental problems, health care, dry cleaning, gum, mints and lost wages. They cost you more on insurance and cause you to live an unhealthy and shorter life. Drinking is likely to cost you a lot as well. In addition to health, it also affects the liability of driving and so forth. Unfortunately, drunk drivers will take lives every year.
CUT BACK ON TV, AND GET MOVIES. Make sure you really want the channels you pay for. Some are paying for HBO, Showtime and Cinemax and never watch them. We love NETFLIX for movies and always have what we want on our schedule, with nothing we don’t want.
USE online bill payment. No stamps, trips to the post office, cost of ordering checks, etc. There is also less chance of an overdraft, because you can check it anytime. Let your bank pay the postage.
BULK BUY AND FREEZE. “You freeze milk?” We hear that question a lot. Just because I make a good living, by the grace of God, does not mean we cannot try and save money. We buy in bulk at Sam’s or Costco every couple months and freeze seven gallons of milk. They thaw overnight, and you cannot tell. You might want to buy a freezer. We also freeze bread. Buy items we use a lot of in bulk, like trash bags, laundry detergent, aluminum foil, and oil. The bigger benefit of this might be that we almost never have to stop at the store, where the temptation to pick up a few more things usually hits.
BROWN BAG. For lunch, trips and other things, take your own lunch. We are always cooking in bulk and keep the extra for lunch or dinner later. For instance, if you brown a ton of ground beef, you can make Chili, Sloppy Joes, Tacos and Hamburger Helper, and be ready for different days.
COUPONS. Take your Wednesday and Sunday coupons, match them up to the sale flyer and use them. Also, get free or low-cost coupons over the net. Often, we can use more than one coupon, get them doubled, and buy on sale. Sometimes, the store has actually paid us to carry home a box of cereal. Many save about 45% on groceries with couponing. That means you pay about $99.00 for what others pay $180.00 for.
In addition to being thrifty, Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached though PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.