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Intersection of Life and Faith

Simple ways to save money

  • Whitney Hopler Contributing Writer
  • 2000 9 Sep
  • COMMENTS
Simple ways to save money
Whether they know it or not, everyone has financial goals: being able to put a down payment on a home, buy a new car, plan for retirement, pay off student loans, buy a new computer, or simply to buy those divine shoes you see in the window on the way to work.

Some things you can do to increase your available cash:

  • Entertain economically. Learn how to entertain yourself and your friends without spending a lot of money. Realize that you can have fun without spending a lot. Have a progressive dinner, hold a game night, rent a few videos for a theme night, or go to the park for a game of volleyball.

  • Give creatively. Birthdays, weddings, baby showers, and Christmas call for gifts. Use your talents to make gifts. Hunt for bargains and buy in quantity when you find them. Begin a stash of gifts so you don't have to run out and purchase something at full cost.

  • Dress for less. Classic clothes withstand passing trends, and by reducing the number of colors in your wardrobe you can mix and match better. Don't be too proud to shop at thrift stores or consignment shops - and always be on the lookout for clearance items.

  • Avoid waste. Don't watch food spoil in your refrigerator. Freeze it or learn to shop more prudently. Get one last serving out of the mayonnaise jar or toothpaste tube. Don't do partial loads of wash or drying, and combine your errands into one trip.

  • Reuse. Be creative when it comes to reusing items. Sandwich bags and aluminum foil can be washed and reused. Repaint or refinish old furniture.

  • Shop smart. Plan your week's meals around sale items. Make a list and stick to it. Buy store brands when possible. Stock up on loss leaders.

  • Buy in advance. Buy items when they're on sale - really good sales. This may strain your budget because you're buying extra things for future use when you still need to buy things for now. However, after a few months of buying sale items in advance, you'll find that your supplies carry over from month to month. No matter how good the bargain is, don't buy anything on sale that you would not have paid full price for.

  • Avoid temptation. Don't place yourself in situations where you are tempted to spend. Stop catalogs being sent to your home and avoid the malls. Use your credit cards only for emergencies, and determine before you go shopping how much you have to spend.

  • Don't belittle a nickel. Every nickel you spend is money you can put toward something else. If you cut out the fancy coffee or candy bar and save that change, you can save hundreds of dollars each year - money you can spend on a special purchase or save for the future.

  • Keep the wallet almost empty. If you have money in your wallet, you are more likely to spend it. Learn to carry what you need - and an emergency \$20 that should be used only for emergencies. Avoid the ATM machine as much as possible.

  • Live beneath your means. This will take a lot of discipline because the tendency is to live to the full extent of your salary - or beyond. The benefits will enable you to build a financial reserve, be ready for emergencies, and save for some big purchases in the future. For example, if you earn enough to live in a two-bedroom apartment, you could live in a one-bedroom and save the difference.

From Latte for One and Loving It, (c) 2000 by Melanie Dobson and Tosha Williams. Used by permission of Cook Communications, Colorado Springs, Colo. To place orders call toll free: 1-800-437-4337.

Melanie Dobson and Tosha Williams were single when they met in college. Being on their own for the first time gave them the inspiration to write this book. Tosha lives in Colorado and Melanie in Virginia.