|Twenty-five Ways I Save Money
||[Sep. 28th, 2006|10:24 am]
In 25 Ways I save Money (now updated), Frugal for Life invites us to play along. Although we are perfect strangers, I am accepting the invitation and inviting her readers to look here, too.
1. Live in a small house. This saves on mortgage payments, insurance payments, taxes, air conditioning, re-roofing costs, etc., and is probably my biggest money saver.
2. Buy my cars very used (10 years old) but reliable and keep them for a long while (10 years or so). This is probably my second-biggest money saver.
3. Don't buy collision insurance on said cars--just take on the risk of buying another car if I crash the car and it's my fault.
4. Buy clothes first from thrift stores, then from discount stores and clearance racks, and then from places where I know they'll fit. (I don't go to garage sales because I rarely find anything there and it doesn't feel worth my time.) This might be my third-biggest money saver.
5. Never pay exorbitant interest (at least not for bad debt). I pay for all six months of car insurance at once so I don't pay the fees to spread out the payments. I pay off my credit cards in full each month, etc. This is another big money saver.
6. Bring lunch from home instead of eating out (I should do this one more often).
7. Try not to buy books that I haven't already read--buy only books that I know I'll read over and over or that I'll lend out to people. Test-drive books from libraries.
8. Similar thing with movies - rent them first and only buy the best ones. Sadly, movies from libraries are often so damaged they don't play properly, and now that I use Netflix, I may as well get everything from there, although some of those movies are damaged, too. I use the two-at-a-time plan, a relatively cheap one.
9. I balance my checkbook and double-check at the end of the month that I've paid all my bills so I don't end up paying bounced check fees or late fees. Holy piles of missing money, Batman!
10. Try to drive in a way that won't get me pulled over.
11. Take defensive driving to lower my car insurance rates.
12. Try to stay thin and fit; this should go a great way toward keeping my medical expenses down.
13. Have regular medical check-ups and at least call the nurse line if I'm noticing disturbing symptoms, even though I tend toward stereotypically male behavior in this area; this should help me find problems before they get too big (and expensive).
14. Comparison shop for price and, when possible, durability and usability.
15. Keep track of grocery prices; when I'm at a store I stock up on what's economical from that store.
16. Audit classes instead of taking them for credit. Stop earning degrees until either an employer will pay for the classes or will promise a big raise afterwards. Actually, this one is saving me a huge pile of money.
17. Train myself that my house is not a museum. I don't need to own everything cool that I discover. I can just admire it in the store.
18. Replace things only with objects that I really, really like and are durable and will last a long time. For clothing it also has to fit perfectly, be washable, go with clothes I already own, be at least halfway flattering, and, if pants or a skirt, have pockets. These requirements eliminate almost everything, so I don't buy as much as I could.
19. Use my company's medical savings account to save income taxes on predictable medical expenditures and invest the maximum in a Roth IRA each year to save income taxes in the future, when they will probably get very high.
20. Do some things myself instead of paying someone.
21. I don't have kids or pets or other dependents. This is not to save money, but it does have that effect.
22. Weatherize my house. I did it when I first moved in, and I'm doing it again soon.
23. When buying things that use energy, try to choose relatively less wasteful items. We have the fluorescent lights, re-chargeable batteries, energy-star refrigerator, a car with relatively good gas mileage, etc.
24. Donate money through www.justgive.org instead of my employer's charitable drive: the fee is only 3%. Also, try to find organizations that can accomplish a lot with a little money. Sometimes that just means picking one with a relatively low percentage of administrative fees.
25. Keep up-to-date on savings interest rates. When I first started having savings, I used a passbook savings account at a bank. Those were the good old days of 5% interest. Later I switched to CD's. I learned that if I could go even a single cycle without having to cash-out early, I could earn much more in additional interest over what a savings account paid than I would ever lose paying the "substantial penalty for early withdrawal." That penalty is deductible from your income taxes, by the way. Nowadays I use an online money market account with a good interest rate (ING Direct).