Dollar Yoga – How to Stretch the Almighty Dollar
With all the changes taking place in today's economy, we're forced to look at our finances in a different light. Many of us are having to downsize homes or give up a brand-new vehicle for a used replacement. Here are several admittedly drastic ways to cut costs. After all, with as hard as we work for our money, we might as well stretch it to the max, right?
Clip coupons and grocery ads. Wal-Mart will match any advertised price, so if you do not mind changing some time in line for some extra bucks in your pocket, you can make it a one-stop shop.
Disconnect your land line. With internet being available via cable and the "family share plans" that are common among cell phone providers, it may not be necessary to keep your land line. Another option would be to sign up for a free Skype account. Then you can have the best of both worlds! Evaluate your personal situation and get rid of it if you do not really need it.
Borrow vs. buy. The public libraries carry a large assortment of books, as well as movies. Check out their selection and see if you can utilize what they have to offer instead of purchasing books and paying those huge movie rental fees. If you do, however, continue to rent movies on a regular basis, get a Netflix membership or ask your local Blockbuster about their "Movie Pass".
Regulate your electric use. Did you know that unplugging the TV instead of just turning it off can save you electricity? Remember to unplug appliances while they are not in use, and do not forget to switch off fans and lights when you leave the room. Use a programmable thermostat to control your heat / AC usage. They even sell thermostats for swamp coolers. Check at your local Home Depot or Lowe's.
Ex-List the Joneses. If you have friends that are lavish spenders, who purchase a new car every year, eat at fancy restaurants every night, and live way beyond their means, you're doing yourself a favor to find some new friends. Even if they are good people and mean well, this can have an adverse impact on your financial well being by creating unnecessary desires and discontentment.
Hold the mother of all garage sales. Cast a critical eye on what's in your garage, storage, and what's lingering in your closets. If you have not used it in six months, chances are you do not need it. Your annual savings depends on how much junk you have. I've put mine at about $ 1,000 cash, plus the added bonus of more space and peace of mind. Side Note: Children can get involved by adding a lemonade stand. They'll get a lot more customers due to the garage sale.
Quit smoking. Pack-a-day habit? This alone can save you between $ 1,500-2,000 per year at a pack a day, which could go straight into savings, debt payoff, or even help you pay that growing gas and electric bill. You will also save on insurance and health care costs.
Driving addict? Find ways to save on gas, insurance, car maintenance (and aspirin) by carpooling or utilizing public transportation. Maybe even lose the vehicle if either of these options is available to you. If you do continue to drive, combine your errands in one trip. Obey speed limits, or even a little under.
If you practice the above on a regular basis, you can literally save yourself thousands of dollars every year. If you were to put that money into an average 10% return investment account, it would not take long before you will watch that number grow like the weeds in the front lawn your "friendly" neighborhood association keeps sending you mean letters about.
What have you found to be a good method for stretching a buck?