Considering today’s struggling economy, I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of money saving tips. Many of these tips will not only save you money, but they will also help you to live a “greener” life! Enjoy!
In The Car
- SLOW DOWN – Especially at highway speeds, rough estimates are for every 1 mph that you travel in excess of 55 mph, you lose 1% of your fuel efficiency (think about that next time you find yourself going 80!)
- KEEP YOUR TIRES INFLATED TO THEIR MAX RATING – Tires that are under-inflated take more energy to turn, therefore your gas mileage goes down (tires naturally lose pressure over time, and this is accelerated when the temperature drops)
- REGULARLY MAINTAIN YOUR CAR – This includes regularly scheduled maintenance and tune-ups, not only does this save on fuel but it also prevents much larger problems form occurring (did you know that a simple PVC valve in your car [a $3 part mind you] can end up costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in oil leaks down the road!)…pay a little extra now, save a lot later
In The Home
- CHANGE THE LIGHT BULBS – Did you know that Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs use only about 1/4 of the energy that regular incandescent bulbs use, they also last about 10 times as long! Yes these cost more than your normal light bulbs, but they are WELL worth their cost
- CHANGE THAT FURNACE FILTER – You should be doing this about every month, are you?
- CHECK THAT THERMOSTAT – Why heat or cool your house when nobody is around? Adjust the thermostat when you leave the house, this can be made easier with the purchase of a programmable thermostat…just make sure you don’t let the temperature in the house drop below 55 degrees in the winter, or you might have a costly repair from a broken pipe (due to freezing)
- CHECK THOSE VENTS – Close off vents in unused or rarely used rooms, just don’t close off too many rooms, or you could damage the blower unit in your furnace
- MIND THE BLINDS – In the summer, close off the blinds and drapes as much as possible to block out the hot sun…in the winter, open them up on sunny days to take advantage of the sun, but close them off when the sun goes down because they will help to block out the cold air
- LOAD UP – You can save money by filling up the dishwasher and washing machine with larger loads…just don’t go too crazy with it so that either a) nothing gets cleaned, or b) you jammed the washing machine so full of stuff that it breaks, ending up in costly repairs
- GIVE YOUR LAUNDRY THE COLD LOADER – Your washing machine uses less energy to run loads when using cold water as opposed to using hot water (more correctly your water heater uses less energy)
- GIVE A TUG AND UNPLUG – Unplug any electronic devices that you rarely or no longer use…many of these run in “stand-by” mode which sucks electricity…did you know that chargers, such as your cell phone charger, draw a small electrical current even when your phone isn’t plugged into them!
- R.I.P. to PMI – If you couldn’t initially come up with a 20% down payment on your home (and who really can?), you were required to carry PMI (Personal Mortgage Insurance), you are likely paying anywhere from $50 to $150 PER MONTH in PMI…this PMI is automatically cancelled when the equity in your home reaches 22% of the amount that you borrowed, BUT, you can actually get the PMI cancelled when your equity reaches only 20% IF YOU REQUEST IT IN WRITING…that 2% might not sound like a lot, but it could take you another 2 years or so before you reach that 22% mark, so why not put that PMI payment in your pocket for the next couple years! Also, SOME agreements allow you to have your house appraised, and if its value has appreciated, you might be able to reach your 20% requirement a lot sooner, so check YOUR loan!
- CALL YOUR CABLE/SATELLITE PROVIDER – If you find your rates constantly being jacked up, call them and ask them if they have a preferred customer rate…tell them you have been a loyal customer and what can they do about your rates…if that doesn’t work, you can always threaten to switch from cable to satellite (or vice versa) and this might do the trick (tell them the nice offers that the other companies are running)….better yet:
- CUT THE CORD – Many people don’t realize that you can get high definition television from over-the-air broadcasts using a simple antenna. That’s right, those old bunny ears antennas that you used back in the day to get snowy images and crackling sound can now give you crystal clear digital audio and video. Digital signals are unlike analog signals. With digital, you either get the sound and image (in HD), or you don’t get it all. While a set of rabbit ears may work if you live in a city, you may need a better antenna if you live in the suburbs or in the country. For more information about antennas, check out these tv antenna gurus.
- PAY OFF THOSE CREDIT CARDS – This is probably the NUMBER ONE expense for many households…credit card companies often charge upwards of 15-20% interest! Do everything you can to pay off these cards or you are just wasting money
- THEN TEAR THOSE CARDS UP – Do you really need a charge card for every store that you go to? Sure they might mail you some coupons to use from time to time, but guess what, you’ll probably use these coupons on stuff you don’t need and spend a lot more than you otherwise would have…remember, they’re sending you these coupons for a reason
- CHOSE YOUR CARD WISELY – IF you can control your spending, not abuse your credit card, and pay off your balance in full each month, you can actually get credit cards to work in your favor…shop around for different offers, and you will see that some cards offer cash rewards, points that can be redeemed, etc…again be careful though because these cards often charge higher interest rates than others so that they can pay for Joe The Plumber’s rewards that he earned, so make sure you pay off your statement in full each month
- DON’T IGNORE THAT DOLLAR STORE – Shop around in your local dollar store(s)…be careful because not everything is a deal, but most things are…so compare the store’s items with what you can get in other stores…do you really need that Hallmark greeting card for $4, or will the 2-for-$1 ones in the dollar store work just fine?
- BE A LITTLE THRIFTY – Check out your local thrift stores, you’d be surprised what you can find there sometimes…while you are at it, check your local pawn store(s) too
- SKIP THE ATM – Stop paying all those ATM fees, if you don’t withdraw from an ATM of your bank, you are often charged by both your bank AND the ATM owner…instead, use your debit card the next time you get gas or something like that and request cash back (just make sure to ask if they charge for that!)
- BUY IN BULK – Buying things in large increments is almost always cheaper (remember that term you learned in school “economies of scale”), just be careful if this causes you to overindulge in anything, or if the product has a short shelf life…a good idea is to go shopping with a friend, and split your bulk items in half
- GIVE GENERIC A CHANCE – Generic doesn’t necessarily mean “inferior”, it can often simply mean “not name brand”…give generics a chance and try them out, just DO IT WITH AN OPEN MIND…if you are really skeptical, have somebody do a blind test on you and see if you can REALLY tell the difference
- EAT-IN FOR A CHANGE – Those restaurant meals are VERY pricey, not to mention usually very unhealthy, instead stay in for a change…dust off your china, light a candle, and put some music on to set the mode
- BUY ONLINE – It is so easy to virtually shop online by comparing prices and reading reviews…for certain items, it helps to shop in the store to try out the product, but just write down the model number and buy it online…you might even be able to go back to the store with the price you found online and get the store to price match you if you really want to buy it in the store
- CHECK OUT THE LIBRARY – Don’t forget your local library…why buy that book that you are only going to read once or twice? Libraries often carry books on CD for those who prefer to listen to books at home or in the car…many libraries also carries DVDs that you can check out for free instead of renting them at your local video store
Check out the following ways to save money: