(This is a guest article by Lewis Bennett*)
A lot of families are becoming more conscious of their spending these days, from getting rid of a second vehicle to rethinking many consumer purchases. It’s not always the big things that are breaking the bank though. There are lots of simple & practical things you can do to save money in 2009.
- Most stores sell “loss leaders” which are products that stores discount drastically – sometimes even taking a loss – just to get shoppers into their stores. Go to two stores every week and stock up on these products. Do not get distracted by freshly baked bread or the smell of a chicken in the rotisserie – head straight for the checkout!
- Many dentists suggest that people are using twice the toothpaste they really need. This is apparently the result of toothpaste commercials featuring people applying excessive amounts of toothpaste on their brush. Use less, squeeze the tube out to the last drop, and don’t forget to brush thoroughly for a few minutes!
- Make a price book and fill in the items you regularly buy and the best prices for those items at specific stores. Don’t waste all day driving around town though; you don’t want to spend more money on gas than you save on the cost of groceries.
- Just because a deal is advertised as two for a certain price doesn’t always mean you have to get two or three to still get the bargain. See what the store’s policy is and only buy one if you only need one.
- Pour water into empty shampoo bottles, soap, and other bathroom & cleaning supplies and give them a quick shake. This way there is no waste and if you do it with lots of things it will really add up.
- Sell things you don’t need. Do your research though and see what is selling well on Craigslist or eBay or even your local newspaper. Sometimes selling your used goods to a friend or neighbor can save you a lot of time, effort, and money in the long run.
- Learn! Learn basic car repair and maintenance like oil changes. Learn to cut your hair. Learn simple home repair. The Internet is a great tool for learning how to do almost anything and the extensive knowledge base of your friends and family would pleasantly surprise you.
- One tip that people often neglect mentioning is a budget. All you need is a pen, a calculator, and a piece of paper. Although not terribly unique or exciting it is still one of the best ways to organize your money and get your financial life back on track.
Are you wondering how these little things can save a lot of money? Well, its all in the mindset. Slowly you begin to be aware of how much you are spending and come up with ways to save some money here and stretch the dollar there... In the long run, that goes much farther than any one time temporary reduction in lifestyle.
An interesting read related to this topic: The World’s Richest Frugal People
*About the author: Written by Lewis Bennett, from a debt resource site based in the United Kingdom.
*Image Credit: Photograph by Lanterna [via Flickr Creative Commons]