How to Save Money
by Marla Saunders Editor, Homelight
Saving money is a concept similar to losing weight - most of us want to do it, but seldom implement concrete activities that will bring success. Here are some ideas to spark "creative" saving.
First realize that small steps can yield significant dividends. Learn to put 10% of your spending money away first, even if it's just 10% of your pocket change. Over time, small amounts compound and you will be more secure in your ability to handle an unexpected expense. You won't even miss it! I recently tried this with my "walking around" money each week. I take $4 out of my money as soon as I receive it - and amazingly enough, didn't notice a shortfall at the end of the week. $4 is not much, but I now have nearly $100 tucked neatly away!
So how do you trim 10% from an already stretched budget? Here are some ideas:
- Cut out one trip to a fast food restaurant. Even if all you order is a soda, you're still spending $1.00! An average trip (in my family's habits) would be $4 for mid-afternoon snacks. That amount represents 10% of the cash I carry with me weekly. Just eliminating that one trip once a week accomplished one of my goals.
- Serve one "frugal" meal a week. Whether you offer soup and bread or rice and beans, one frugal meal a week can yield another $5 to $10 dollars. And in most cases, your family will easily accommodate for one meal!
- Stay at home one day a week. I have to admit, I'm not adept at this. But consider the savings: gas money for even just 10 miles of driving would be $1.00. There's no opportunity to yield to small "impulse" purchases (even a pack of gum adds 89 cents!). By staying home you limit exposure to attractive "wants" - new clothes, items at the mall, even extra food at the grocery store. And finally, the additional time spent at home can be reinvested into productive time, which may add to your income or savings overall.
- Just this time, leave the general purpose cleaner on the shelf at the grocery store. Try vinegar and water, as well as baking soda for scrubbing. Dilute a little bleach for your shower. Savings? $4 on the average. You may choose not to return to your favorite lemon-scented cleaner.
- Use 10% less. If you can stretch your shampoo and conditioner, laundry soap, dishwashing detergent, etc. just by 10%, you will meet your weekly savings goal!
- Take a shower that's 10% shorter!
- Change brands. Prices fluctuate up and down so check often when you don't have a brand loyalty.
- Try the town and church libraries before the bookstore just 10% more often!
None of these ideas will set the financial world on its heels. But applied consistently, they will yield a "cushion" of spare change that can accumulate over time! And like magic, once you've committed to trying a few ideas, you'll find yourself thinking of new money-savers every day. So set a reasonable goal - "I want to pay for our hotel bill at Disney" - and go for it! And let us hear about your success!
Homelight: A Newsletter Dedicated to Success at Home from a Biblical Perspective: Personal Development, Creativity, Money-saving Strategies. For more information email at: email@example.com
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