4 Creative Ways to Save Money

Thu, Oct 18, 2012

Budgeting

Money is easy to spend but a bit harder to earn. Employees spend all day at work to make ends meet and pay the bills. Parents carefully prepare monthly budgets to ensure that the needs of the family are sufficiently covered. Shoppers visit various providers in an effort to find the best possible deals.

Every penny is worth saving and in this economy people are struggling to find ways to cut down on their daily expenses. With the country’s current financial situation, saving for a rainy day has become more important than ever. Creativity and ingenuity can play vital roles in maximizing your personal savings. Here are four fun ways of saving money:

Smart Shopping

Shopping is always fun, but smart shopping can make a huge difference to your budget. Make it a habit to lookout for great deals at the mall or local supermarket. Many clothing establishments offer great “end of the season”
discounts and sales because they need to replace their inventory. Some of these items can be used for different seasons. Some supermarkets also have pre-designated schedules for price cuts on select items.

Purchasing items in bulk is another great way of saving money. Buying things at wholesale prices will translate to huge savings in the long run. Items like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste have long shelf lives and can be stored for months. You can also fill your cupboard with canned goods, snacks and condiments that can be consumed in the next three months.

Set Personal Limits on Spending

Weigh your priorities carefully and set a limit to the amount of money you spend on lifestyle and recreation. For instance, rethink your gym membership that costs over a thousand dollars per year. There are a lot of cheaper alternatives to maintain a healthy body. You can download free workout videos online or you can simply put on your running shoes and go for a jog at the park. You can also limit the number of times you go out for dinner or drinks with your friends. A good rule would be to allocate a specific amount that you can spend for these activities on a monthly basis.

Another good way to save money is to treat savings as an expense and pay yourself first. When you get your paycheck at the end of the month, you should automatically allocate a certain percentage to your savings account. Most banks allow you to do an automatic transfer from checking to savings. This kind of “forced savings” is very helpful for most people. Eventually the savings will pile up no matter how insignificant the monthly “deduction” may seem.

Save with your Friends

Things are always more fun when shared with friends. You and your pals can help each other out with your financial struggles by making savings a group experience. You can schedule a clothing swap on a regular basis. You and your friends can participate by simply bringing old clothes that you can swap and trade with each other. These are clothes that you have only worn a couple of times in the past and are now collecting dust in your closet. Everyone goes home with a new set of clothes without having to spend a dime.

Your Phone is your Friend

You can save a lot of money by optimizing your cellular plan and getting the best plan that fits your needs. Contact your provider and ask for help in identifying the cheapest plan that can accommodate your call and data requirements. You can also check if they can offer you additional discounts or features that will make you stay with them. Phone companies often have customer retention programs to keep loyal customers happy.

Smart phones also have applications that can help you with your budget. There are apps that help users locate the service station that sells the cheapest gas in the area, or apps that provide customer rewards and coupons. There are also interesting apps that offer to pay for the services of mobile mystery shoppers.

Saving money is not an easy task. There will be a lot of temptations along the way. There will always be a bill that needs to be paid or an item that needs to be purchased. It is therefore necessary to keep a regular reminder that will keep you on the right track. A simple photo of the item that you are saving for or a simple note from a loved one inspiring you to save for the future is a great way to help you stay on track. Fight the urge to spend by focusing on what waits for you at the finish line.

Liran Hirschkorn is an expert on personal finance. He runs www.ChooseTerm.com where he helps individuals save a significant amount of money on their life insurance needs.

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