Sunday, December 28, 2008

Long Term Ways To Save Money

Saving money isn't difficult. What you do today affects the finances of tomorrow. None of these tips are going make you rich overnight but by consistently practicing one or more of these, you will begin to see your savings accumulate.
  • Turn the water off. Whether brushing your teeth, shampooing your hair or rinsing dishes... if you aren't using the water RIGHT THEN, turn it off.
  • Use up leftovers. Just because there aren't enough veggies left for everyone a serving doesn't mean you have to throw them away. Let everyone pick one veggie for their meal tonight, make a stew or soup, or even make homemade dog food. The internet is chock FULL of recipe sites, so make the most of it and stretch your food dollars! I like Group Recipes, which enables you to search by ingredients and even lets you take a short test on foods you prefer to "predict" which recipes you will probably like.
  • Keep your car well maintained. Yes, we've all heard this one ad nauseum, but there's a reason for that - it really DOES help extend the life of your car and decreases the amount of fuel consumed by it.
  • Turn your thermostat down at night. Some people swear by a thermostat gizmo that automatically adjusts your temperature at night. I say unless you're very forgetful to skip that, lower it yourself and invest that money in a nice down comforter :)
  • Buy quality pet food. Yep, that seems like an oxymoron but actually the better quality pet foods mean that your pet eats less and gets more nutrition (and since better quality means less fillers.....which is mainly byproducts that they cannot break down.....there's less ahem........ waste materials from your little darlin'). Coupons can be found for this if you sign up on their websites.
  • When buying online, always look for coupon codes and/or go through reward sites. I prefer to use Alex's Coupons to search for codes since they donate to children's cancer organizations. Try Ebates for your starting point when ordering online. You get a percentage of your purchase price back!
  • Don't spend your change. Seriously. We have 2 different change "jars" in our house. One for pennies, and the other for all other silver. Every day empty your pockets, purse, wallet, car, couch, or whatever you store your change in and put it in a change jar. If it's not on your person tomorrow, you won't spend it. Let it accumulate and cash it in towards your vacation, Christmas, or whatever you want.
  • Ignore your dryer. It may take some adjustment, but if you pretend that you don't have a dryer, a family of 4 can easily save $20 or more per month on their electric bill. This assumes, of course, that you have an electric dryer and is based on a very messy family of 4. If you want to get EXTREME, you can string up clothes line on your porch or patio, even in your attic, basement or bathroom. Our dryer actually went out a few winters ago, and I got some very strange looks when our neighbors started talking about me hanging out clothes after dark. I was working at the time, so it was dark when I got home. I would take a load down before the dew got on them and hang another load (or 2 or 3 or 4) up as soon as the others were down. Ever played "cat's cradle" as a kid with yarn on your hands? That's what one of our porches looked like from all of the clothes line we had strung from post to post for rainy day clothes hanging!
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many, many more options out there. Some are a little more extreme (wash and reuse your plastic sandwich bags) than others (use coupons), just use the ones easiest for you to incorporate!

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