Posted by Jim | February 14, 2010 | 3 Comments
Saving money in this economy can be a challenge. Many of us have already cut out big purchases and trimmed our budgets as much as we think is possible. But saving even a few bucks here and there really adds up. Here are five easy ways you can save a little extra money this year:
Gifts from the heart – Gift-giving occasions such as Valentine’s Day or birthdays can be a great way not only to express your creativity and individuality, but also to save a few dollars. Instead of cliche (and expensive) gifts like roses or jewelry, put together a reminder of your first date or other shared experience. Spend a lazy afternoon together. Prepare her favorite meal for dinner. Make him a cheesy mix tape. Taking the time to give a thoughtful, personalized gift will be much more meaningful than chocolates ever could be.
Prepaid cell phone – Admittedly, this might be easier for some than others, but if you find yourself with minutes left over every month on your current cell plan, it could be for you. Very popular in Europe, prepaid cell phones give you more flexibility and control over your spending than traditional postpaid plans. And you won’t be locked into a two-year contract. I was able to switch from a $40/month postpaid plan to a $100/year prepaid phone on a major carrier with few trade offs in terms of usage or quality. Jim over at Bargaineering has a couple of great posts about saving money on cell phones that are definitely worth the read.
Home cooking – Skipping the drive-thru and finding a few new dishes to make at home can make things easier on the waistline, as well as the budget. Check out the Food Network or a food blog (some of my favorites right now are Macheesmo, Blogchef and Pinch My Salt) for both inspiration and instruction. Or make a big batch of lasagne or chili this weekend and eat the leftovers during the week (or freeze for later).
Cut back on the cable – Cancel the premium channels and rent the latest movies from netflix (or the local library) instead. To save even more, cancel the cable completely and watch your favorite shows online for free on sites like hulu.
Ask – You might be surprised at how much you can save just by asking for it. Businesses are hurting, too, and don’t really want to lose you as a customer. Do some research and see what kinds of deals are out there for things like credit card rates, car insurance or internet service providers. Then give your current provider a call and ask them to match the competitor.
What are your favorite tips to save money?
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