Little Ways to Save Big Money
- Monday, March 26, 2012
Think you've cut your expenses all you possibly can? You might be wrong. Check out these seven simple ways to find money to grow your savings account.
Reduce kitchen paper. The average American family rips through 1.5 rolls of paper towels each week. At $1.25 a roll, you're paying at least $65 per year for disposable towels. Reduce that to one roll per month. Use cloth towels for cleaning the house and for spills. Throw them in the laundry instead of the garbage. Annual savings: $50.
Unhook the cable. Make a one-year commitment to living without cable television. Don't worry. At the rapidly expanding website Hulu.com, you can watch hundreds of popular TV shows like "Family Guy," "House," and "The Office," reality shows like "The Biggest Loser" and "Top Chef," news clips including those from "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams," tons of shows from Fox News, Home and Garden TV and the Food Channel, too. What you can't find at Hulu, you can likely find on the individual networks' websites. Annual savings: $600.
Cut childcare costs. Sign up for a dependent-care flexible spending account, a valuable employee benefit that hardly anyone uses. With an FSA, offered by 85 percent of large companies, you deposit pretax dollars in an employer-sponsored FSA account to pay for up to $5,000 of care, including summer camp for dependent children under age 13. Even if you only partially fund a dependent-care FSA this year, and assuming you are in the 28 percent tax bracket, you could save up to $75 a month on your childcare bill without making any changes in service providers. Annual savings: $900.
Drop the landline. The average family spends $90 per month for home phones, cell phones, pagers and phone cards. With all those connections, maybe it's time to join the 20 percent of American households who've dropped their house landline. Annual savings: $300.
Reduce dry cleaning. One study reveals that 65 percent of the clothes we take to the dry cleaner are machine washable. You can put most textiles in the washer on delicate cycle with a gentle detergent or wash by hand. Wash and press just two items per month that would have otherwise landed at the dry cleaner. Annual savings: $120.
Cancel the gym. Instead, join the free online boot camp that will whip you into shape in no time flat. MarineCorpsFitness.com, modeled after the U.S. Marine Corps physical training program, offers workouts that can be done at home with no expensive exercise equipment needed. Annual savings: $420.
Don't print. Home computer printers can go through ink cartridges like they're candy! The cost of ink cartridges depends on which printer you have, but none of them are cheap. Before you print anything, ask yourself if you really need a hard copy, or could you just read it from the screen? When you do print, print only what you really need, not the pictures and ads, and print on both sides of the paper. Annual savings: $120.
Originally posted May 14, 2010.
©Copyright 2010 Mary Hunt. Everyday Cheapskate is a Registered Trademark
Check out Mary's recently released revised and expanded edition of The Financially Confident Woman (DPL Press, 2008).
Debt-Proof Living was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt. What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt. Today, "Debt-Proof Living" is read by close to 100,000 cheapskates. Click here to subscribe. Also, you can receive Mary's free daily e-mail "Everyday Cheapskate" by signing up at EverydayCheapskate.com.
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