By: Dana Anspach
- Use the 24 hour rule. 72 is even better.See something you have to have? Go home and think about it. Give yourself 24 hours to decide if you really have to have it. 72 hours is even better. I’ve saved myself hundreds of dollars this way, and you know what? My life is just as satisfying without those things that, at the time, I thought I just had to have.
- Replace one money guzzling hobby with something free.If you’re an avid book reader, try a trip to the library instead of the book store. If you’re a golfer, substitute one tee time a week for a trip to the community driving range. The important thing is not to give up the things you like! Instead make small, occasional substitutions that will save a little bit here and there. The little things add up over time.
- Skip the visit to your favorite store.Years ago I realized I spent hundreds of dollar each time I walked into WalMart. I cut my spending in half by allowing myself one trip a month. So next time you’re tempted to stop in at your favorite store, just drive on by. Instead of shopping, go for a walk, grab a cup of coffee, or read a book.
- Downsize.In his book A New Earth, author Eckhart Tolle talks about our tendency to identify ourselves, and our self worth, by our things. Well, you are not your things!
The sense of self respect you get when you make smart financial decisions is worth far more than the ego-centric feeling of driving the fancy car and wearing the latest styles. Evaluate lifestyle changes you can make. It might be your house, your car, your clothes – whatever it is, downsize where you can.
- Drive less.Carpool once a week. Consolidate trips, running errands all at once. Even better, consolidate and carpool all at once by running errands with a friend.
- Reduce utility bills.Do you really need call waiting, 3-way calling and all the other extras the phone company charges you for? Scour your phone bill and see if one or two of those extras can be turned off. In addition, turn up, or off, the air conditioning or heater during the day. Yeah, it’s not quite so comfortable when you first get home, but the savings will add up.
- Save on eating out.Take your lunch once in awhile. Before you head out for dinner, try a glance through the pantry first, and see what creative meal you can come up with at home. If you have to eat out frequently, skip the sodas and ice teas. Drinking water is not only better for you, for some who eat lunch out every day, this simple substitution will save them over $30 a month.
- Buy the things you want for less.Read 6 Ways To Buy Things For Less. This article is packed with great ideas that will help you buy the things you want for 20-50% less. It may take a little extra work, but remember, you’re getting paid for your time with significant savings!
- Work out at home.Health and fitness is a priority in my life and I believe everyone can benefit from regular exercise. So if the only way you can commit to a fitness regime is through a gym membership, than stick with it.
But if you’re the self-motivated type, there are all kinds of fitness activities that don’t require a monthly fee: walk, run, do yoga at home, buy a fitness video, do pushups, sit-ups, use exercise bands and a pair of dumbbells…
- Monetize your hobbies.My sister loves arts and crafts. She can’t walk into the bead store without spending a few hundred dollars. She started making jewelry and now she sells it. She doesn’t make a lot of extra money, but she earns enough to cover the cost of her hobby.
Other money saving hobby ideas? As I mentioned, I’m into health and fitness. I teach an aerobics class on occasion in exchange for a free gym membership. When I was into horses, I worked a few hours a week at the barn in exchange for horseback riding lessons. I have a client who works at the golf pro shop a few hours a week in exchange for tee times.
Use just a few of the suggestions above, and you can save hundreds of dollars a month.