If you have followed the advise in the last two days you should already be saving a lot of money. Day 3 continues with more tips.
Do you love the movies but hate the prices? Switch your nighttime show to the late afternoon or early evening matinee. The price is about 50% less and when taking an entire family, that is a nice savings. Pop your own popcorn, put in a plastic bag, and place in a large purse and make or buy your own candy, leaving only drinks to buy. Food at the theater is outrageously priced. The next time that you head to the movies, hit the matinee, stuff those jellybeans and licorice sticks in your purse, and enjoy the savings. Also, check for movie tickets online, which can be discounted.
21. Make your Own Gifts
If you ask people if they prefer a store bought or handmade gift, the majority would choose the latter. Handmade gifts are individualized and come from the heart. When you have a birthday, anniversary, baby shower, wedding, or Christmas gift to give, make the gift. For Christmas, you could make a beautiful ornament or door wreath, for a baby shower you could purchase an inexpensive bib pattern and make special bibs, or for a wedding, you could create a wonderful album of photos showing the couples dating life. Other great options include making homemade hot chocolate, soaps, candles, or lotions and placing them in inexpensive glass containers or baskets purchased at a thrift shop. If you use a mason jar, add foam and fabric under the lid for added color, use a label to write the contents and a message of endearment, and wrap a nice piece of ribbon around the ridge. The options are endless, so get creative.
22. Barter System
Gather friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers and set up a bartering system. Offer babysitting to one family in exchange for them mowing your lawn or offer to clean someone’s house in exchange for a week of car-pooling your child to school. You would be amazed at the opportunities and the money that can be saved using a bartering system.
23. Comparison Shop
Comparison-shopping can make a big difference in the price you pay. You might be looking at a barbecue grill at one place for $350.00 and by making two more stops, find the exact grill or one comparable for $300. In addition, consider the price of items assembled versus unassembled. For example, you might find the barbecue grill unassembled for $250. A couple of hours of “fun” assembling the grill is certainly worth a $100 saving.
24. Stop Competing with the Jones’
You do not have to compete with anyone. Be proud of what you have and who you are. If you can only afford an inexpensive sofa from a thrift store, find a nice throw, make a few pillows, and be proud and thankful. Competitiveness is a part of nature and to a degree, healthy. However, when competition creates a buying war to see who can have the “best” when they have no business buying at all, then it becomes damaging. Stick to what you can afford regardless of what anyone else has or pressure you might be feeling.
25. Sales Clerk Compliments
Sales clerks are often paid on commission. Therefore, when you walk into a store and try on an expensive suit, you can be guaranteed you will hear several times over how wonderful you look, how great that suit fits you, etc. Because this is how the clerks make their money, they will say whatever it takes to make the sale. You probably do look good but do not allow yourself to be pressured into buying something beyond your means. Know what you want, the price range you can work with, and stick with your own rules, not theirs.
26. Incentives – Reward Plan
To help you and your family spend more wisely, set up a system where rewards are given when the rules set forth are followed. For example, if a family decision was made to start making lunch and brown bagging it to work and school instead of paying each day, the incentive might be that if this is followed strictly for one month, the entire family can spend a Saturday at the Zoo or favorite theme park.
27. Dollar Stores
Many years ago, dollar stores offered only off brand products or poorly made merchandise. However, that has completely changed. Now you can walk into a dollar store and find the same name brand laundry soap, cleaning supplies, clothing, school supplies, everything for a fraction of the cost. Where a store name brand bottle of laundry detergent might cost $6.50 at a grocery store, you can find the identical product and size at the dollar store for $2.50. Check out your local dollar store and enjoy the mountains of savings.
28. Don’t Give up the Good Stuff
A misconception is that while trying to save money you have to deal with sub-par merchandise, which is untrue. If you love fresh breads and pastries, visit a bakery thrift store. For your fresh fruits and vegetables, visit your local farmer’s market. Try eBay or other auction sites to buy top quality merchandise for a huge discount. Watch for neighborhood garage sales or estate sales and auctions to find items you need. Just because you are looking for bargains as a way of saving money does not mean you have to skimp on quality.
Set up some rules in your home such as turning lights off when leaving the room, having only a parent adjust the air or heat, leaving the doors or windows open when letting either cold or hot air into the house. Utilities are expensive and a great money saver is to monitor how they are used in your home. Another great idea is the investment of buying an energy-efficient hot water heater. If you cannot afford one, lower the setting so you are not heating water so hot. The hotter the setting, the more energy used.