After seeing the new budget shows on television I've decided there are two types of people - those who save money and those who don't. I come from meager circumstances and learned how to budget when I was a child. Since then I've found other ways to cut expenses. I am not ashamed to call myself Mrs. Pinchpenny.
Unlike some people, I don't shop just for the sake of shopping. When I enter a store I am there for something specific: groceries, sheets on sale, or a special promotion. Even when a store is having a sale I often walk out the door without spending a dime. Apparently, I am the exception. Judging by credit card debt, many Americans haven't learned that pennies add up to dollars.
How can you save money and stick to a budget? I have lived through bad times and good. After 49 years of marriage I know how to cut back. Before I reach for my wallet I ask myself, “Do I really need this?" I also ask myself, “Will this purchase stand the test of time?" These money-saving tips come from my life experience, and more important, they work. Before you know it, you will have extra cash to deposit in your savings account.
1. Make meals from scratch whenever possible.
2. Buy the grocery store's own brands.
3. Cook with homemade sauces and rubs.
4. Replace regular light bulbs with flourescents.
5. Save gas by planning your driving route and confining errands to that route.
6. Tune up your car regularly.
7. Keep your car tires inflated to the recommended poundage.
8. X-out carbonated beverages. They are pricey and have no nutritional value.
9. Bring your own lunch and snacks to work.
10. Bring your own coffee and tea to work.
11. Replace packaged snack foods, such as popcorn, with homemade.
12. Make eating out a sometime experience, not a regular one.
13. Close drapes, blinds or shades when it is extremely hot or extremely cold.
14. Cover leaking windows with plastic film.
15. Put new weather stripping on doors.
16. Keep your house at 68 degrees in the winter.
17. Block door drafts with rolled towels.
18. Limit magazine subscriptions and rediscover your public library.
19. Check the newspaper for free events and attend them.
20. Try to buy washable clothing only.
21. Wash your clothes, sheets and towels in cold water.
22. Dry clothes on a rack or clothesline.
23. Take advantage of senior citizen discounts.
24. Clip, save and use coupons.
25. Don't go to the mall on weekends.
Harriet Hodgson has been a nonfiction writer for 27 years and is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book, “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, " written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from http://www.amazon.com A five-star review of the book is posted on Amazon. You will find another review on the American Hospice Foundation website under the “School Corner" heading.