Sunday, February 3, 2008

Top 10 Things I Do To Save Money

I just read a post at Family CEO listing 25 things they do to save money. Apparently Frugal for Life has been gathering similar lists from people so I thought I might try it out.

I'm only going to list things that I have consciously added to my repertoire and not behaviors I "was raised with". Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with 25! So here are 10 things I do to save money- or more specifically, to cut costs.

1. Reduce
. Just use less of everything- particularly household supplies like detergents and toiletries.

2. Reuse
-my stuff. Lose the habit of using disposables. Real towels instead of paper towels, china plates instead of paper plates, reusable containers instead of plastic baggies. This also includes ceasing to think of clothes as disposable.. they do not need to be washed every time you wear them unless they are soiled.

3. Reuse -other people's stuff.
  • 3a. Buy books used online. But only after having read them already (borrowed or speed-read at the bookstore) and deciding that they will be referred to often in my personal library. (I do frequent the bookstore to look at new books. Because I read so many books there I do make a point of buying some at full price from them occasionally. I do not have any ethical issues with this though I am sure some people may.)
  • 3b. Find a good used clothing store and shop there. There's a Goodwill store in Arlington, VA that I always stop at when I am down in that part of the country a few times a year. This city has plenty of well-off people who donate quality clothes they have never worn. I can go on a crazy shopping spree for $20.
  • 3c. Check out craigslist or for used furniture etc.
4. Use a price book when grocery shopping.

5. Keep my hair long so I don't have to cut it so often. If I was particularly fashion conscious I might consider learning how to cut my own hair but I don't see that happening any time soon. The long hair idea may not work for most men out there but it's easy to cut your own hair with electric clippers if you keep it short.

6. Find a place to live that is within reasonable commuting distance to work. I live less than 5 miles from work.

7. Live with a roommate and cut down on housing costs. (This depends on being able to find a suitable roommate though)

8. Plan meals and eliminate wasting food because of spoilage.

9. Decide what I am looking for and research numerous options before making a purchase. Step 1: Figure out my real motivation for wanting the item Step 2: Figure out what aspects are not negotiable Step 3: Shop around and see what's available that will meet my needs/desires. I am often surprised at what I have found.

10. I don't watch cable!


Anonymous said...

I would love to move closer to my job to avoid having to spend so much on gas. However, what I'd be saving in gas, I'd be spending on housing, since the area where I work is MUCH more expensive (probably twice what I am paying where I currently live).
Also, you are writing from the perspective of someone who, with no spouse and no child, is completley in control of where you live. When you make the decision to be married and to have a child, you give up tremendous freedoms. These are not things many women conisder when they receive that wedding ring and see that positive pregnancy test! Although I adore my child, I now see that having him greatly limits my freedom/finances.

moneychallenge said...

You're absolutely right Anon. A reasonable commuting distance would have to take into account the cost of housing closer to your place of work.

I also agree that most women (and men) don't consider many of the repercussions of having children. Of course, the joy of children is usually enough to compensate for any of the hardships, but it would probably reduce some of the shock if people took some time to look at the big picture and were aware of what they were getting into.

tehnyit said...

When I was younger, I would shave my head to save money instead of visiting the barber to get a hair cut!

Great list!