Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pinch Every Penny!

A few tips from a Penny Pinching Professional.

As the economy goes into the crapper, everyone is looking for new ways to save some money. Fortunately for myself, I have been saving money everywhere I can for years. So it's nothing new for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good deal. Some of these tips you can only save a little bit of money, but every little bit adds up. By pinching every penny you can save pounds!

1. Don't waste food! Store all of your groceries properly. Invest in some plastic storage tubs, glass jars and resealable bags. Many food items come in re-usable containers from the store. Rewash, and relabel these containers to score free storage containers! Put everything in it's proper containers right after grocery shopping. That way you don't run the risk of forgetting about them and having them go to waste. Seal meats properly to prevent freezer burn. If you don't think you are going to be able to use up produce before it goes bad, freeze it! For some good tips on freezing your food check out this article. Next time you throw out rotten produce or moldy bread, stop and think to yourself, "$3.00 in the garbage", "$2.00 in the garbage", etc.

2. Care for your clothing properly. Read the label and follow it every time. By taking proper care of your clothes they will last much longer, and look newer. Even if they go out of style, they will be in good enough shape to donate. Hint: Goodwill gives out tax deductible receipts when donations are made!

3. Be a grocery master! Write great grocery lists, and collect coupons. Read all sales fliers and shop in several places. This can save you hundreds of dollars. Also try and keep grocery shopping trips to a minimum, this can keep you from buying unnecessary impulse items, plus save you money on gas, and wear on your vehicle. If clipping coupons intimidates you, or you feel that you just don't have the time, check out This website offers a service that keeps track of your coupons and local sales online, eliminating almost all of the work that goes into couponing.

4. Be patient. Everything goes on sale sooner or later. If you can wait, do your research and wait for the item you want to go on sale. Especially when it comes to electronics and appliances, never ever pay pull price!

5. Always, always always, run a full load. Whether it's in the dishwasher, the washing machine or the dryer, you should never run an appliance if it isn't full. Washing two pairs of jeans is so wasteful. Think about how much money it costs you to do a load of laundry every time. Now think about how often you do a load of laundry. Now add it up. What if you could cut that in half by doing full loads of laundry every time? How much money would you save? I know I save about 24 dollars a month, which works out to about 288 dollars a year. That doesn't even include what I am saving on detergent and fabric softener. The full load rule is a no-brainer in most households, as there is always plenty of dirty stuff to get washed!

6. Share the cheap! A network of family and friends to trade coupons, hand me downs and other items is a GREAT thing to have. It saves you all tons of money, and is a good excuse to stay in touch or plan a visit with loved ones. No one to swap with? Join an online coupon swap or check out your local freecycle. There is no shortage of free stuff to be had!

7. Be crafty. Learn how to make your own things, repair things, and re-purpose things. It will not only save you tons of money, it can be fun and fulfilling. It's good to be handy. On the other hand, if you are totally DIY inept it is easy to find crafty people to make good use of what you've already got. Check the local paper for handymen when you are in need of repair. It is often cheaper to have an item fixed (provided it is a simple task) than it is to replace it. Plus, you'll be employing someone in your community.

8. Use a little less of everything. It adds up. I know we all can have tendencies to use to much of everything. To much toothpaste, too much laundry detergent, too much shampoo, even too much food. Follow the back of the package, it will tell you exactly how much you need to use. You'd be surprised how often you may be doubling or tripling the intended serving.

9. Try not to eat out. Make it a luxury. Eating out is such a waste of money and it's not good for you. If you are bored, have friends over for dinner, or try making your home cooked meals a little more interesting. You can make almost anything at home, and have fun while you do it. Even your most challenging favorites, such as Margherita Pizza, California Rolls, or Chicken Tikka Masala can be created at home. Another way to keep yourself from eating out too often is to stock your pantry with a few reasonable luxuries. Little things, like a special snack, or a gourmet ingredient can help keep you satisfied enough to avoid take-out cravings.

10. Be aware! Don't buy things mindlessly. Always be thinking, "Do I need this?", "Will I wear this?", "Will I use this?" Be honest with yourself. If it's a big purchase, sleep on it. It will probably be there tomorrow. If it's not, than maybe it was not meant to be. This way of thinking can also be applied to household bills and utilities. For example, unlimited long distance for $25 a month may sound like a great deal, but if you know that you won't make more than one or two long distance calls in a month, paying upwards of $12 for each call makes very little sense. Buy a pre-paid phone card instead, and only use it when you need it.

I hope these tips help. I live by these tips and I swear they save me a lot of money.

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