Top 10 Ideas to Save Money
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
November 9, 2011
Filed Under Self Help
Contributed by Rosemary O’Brien, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Many people do not realize that the littlest changes can result in big savings.
Here are a few ideas for you to incorporate into your daily routine. One, or all of them, are ideas to save money that can help out everyone.
10. Save energy and resources
Did you know even the smallest drip from a faucet can cost you hundreds of dollars per year if it is not repaired in a timely manner? Even an improperly flushing toilet, if done on a regular basis, can cost you gallons of wasted water. That adds up to a lot of money going, literally, down the drain!
Replacing old fixtures with new, more efficient faucets and fixtures can quickly start you on the road to savings, instead of watching those dollars go down the drain.
I don’t know about you, but I’m addicted to those shows where over-the-top couponers get something like $1000 worth of groceries for $5. It takes them hours to clip and search for coupons and then match them with the store’s discounts. You do not have to be this committed, though, to save some change at the store. Go through the newspaper circulars, usually found on Sundays and sometimes on Wednesday’s editions of your local newspaper.
You can also go to places like Coupon Mom which provides printable online coupons. You just click the ones you want and print them from your own printer. Keep in mind, though, that you may get a better deal with generic or store brands. Retailers are also getting smarter with their ideas to save money. They often run their store specials at the same time the brand-name coupons are offered. Do a little research and you could save big. Even a $10 savings each grocery shopping trip adds up to almost $500 for the year!
8. Gas points
Some stores also offer loyalty programs that give you even more bang for your buck. One of my local grocery stores offers savings points that add up to cheaper prices at the gas pump. This can add up to as much as a dollar or more per gallon of gas! I don’t know about you, but getting as much as $1.00 off the price of each gallon of gas is often worth the trip to the local grocery chain’s gas pumps. Keep in mind, though, that the points at these places usually expire, so use them often or lose them.
7. Bargains by Month
Few people know this, but each month offers a different type of savings in retail stores. While those of us who have children are usually aware of the school supplies saving that come around each August, most do not know about the other month’s booty. This month-by-month guide for finding sales from Bankrate.com is a great way to keep on top of what’s available each month. For example, did you know March is National Frozen Food Month! During March, many frozen food items can be had at a deep discount at your local grocer’s. And if you want to find deals on pool accessories and furniture, hit the stores in August when manufacturers are clearing the shelves and readying them for next year’s items.
6. Tax amnesty for school shoppers
Tax amnesty days and even weeks are offered by many states around the United States. During these times, you can purchase clothing and other items without having to pay state tax on items or purchases under a certain dollar amount. This varies by state. Many people save their school shopping for that time so they can get a bigger bang for their buck. Even an extra $10 saved can be applied toward another purchase such as that coveted pair of sneakers or that top-of-the-line outfit your daughter just has to have. Check your state’s website or ask a store manager for information about when your state may offer tax amnesty for shoppers.
5. Online travel sites
There are fantastic deals to be had at those online travel booking sites. Hotels would rather have their rooms filled than let them go empty, so they offer steep discounts for their empty rooms. You can often find the best deals closer to the date of travel, so you don’t necessarily have to worry about advance purchase if you are up to taking a chance. Scout the sites ahead of time and make note of the best prices and the places you think you would like to stay. When the time for vacation or trip draws closer, revisit the site regularly to see if the rates are being reduced. Some places are going to be priced higher than others depending on popularity and the time of year you plan on traveling. For your information, the best time to book a flight is on a Tuesday evening or after midnight. That’s when the airlines clear out their backlog and start the week fresh. This is usually when the best deals on airline tickets can be found.
EBay is not only good for selling that pile of junk from your garage or that antique you inherited from Aunt Tilly that you simply hate. This auction site carries lots of items that can be a great money save. For example, a few years ago my preschooler needed a few things to tide him over until winter. He grew just that extra bit and his clothes did not fit him, but it wasn’t quite winter yet. I went on eBay and bought a lot of playclothes for very little. It helped him get through to the next season and I didn’t have to purchase a whole set of new clothing for just a month or two. This can work for older kids, and definitely for adults. Just make sure you buy from a trusted seller with a return policy. Most people are honest, but every now and then you can get something that is not as it is advertised on the site. You take your chances, but it can definitely be worth the savings.
Bartering is an interesting idea especially in business settings. In fact, while writing this article I received a call from a consultant who needed a few things written. Her trade? Public relations connections for one of my writing projects. If you do not have a business, you can still take part in a bartering arrangement or an all out trade. For example, if you know other knitters or people who work with yarn, hold a yarn swap. Have everyone bring that extra ball of yarn leftover from that sweater they knit last year or that leftover scarf yarn, put it on a table and everyone take home what they want. Everyone wins this way. It’s an opportunity to clean out your stash, get some new yarn and you didn’t have to go to the store to do it. This idea also works well with scrapbooking and fabric supplies.
2. Grants and discounts
Camp costs can be prohibitive if you have more than one child or if the camp you want your child to attend is expensive. This usually means the programs are worth it, but this does not help if you cannot afford the fees. So why not ask for a discount? You never know unless you ask, right? A few years back, a friend of mine was going through an unexpected layoff from a job she had had for years. Her son had also been waiting all year for a particular camp session at one of the more expensive local camps. When she called to ask for any available breaks, she got one. Many of these programs have funds set aside for those who need them. You only need to ask. People understand hard times and are happy to offer a break to those in temporary need. Even if there is no fund available, they may make an exception and give you a price break anyway.
People get very creative with their ideas to save money prompting innovative programs. Babysitting coops help parents who stay at home get a break with babysitting fees and plain old time off from the kids. These groups offer points or credits for babysitting other members’ children. You can then trade in those credits for a date night or just a few hours to clean your house in peace or work on a project. This same idea works with dinner coops, too. Each night, a different member cooks whatever she is cooking for her family for the entire group. Even a little Italian Balsamic vinegar tossed with tomatoes tastes good if you’re not cooking it! Members can then pick up their dinners at the pre-arranged time or the person who cooked can arrange to deliver it. It’s up to the group and, of course, the number of members who take part. Some groups email a weekly menu along with their schedule so members know what to expect.