Food is necessary. You don't eat. You die. There is no way around it. It's not like the cable bill that you can cancel. The best we can do is learn all we can so that we save money on groceries. Eat good and not break the bank.
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Some of these tips for saving money may not be new but they are definitely worth repeating.
1. Save money - Pay cash!
By paying cash you will eliminate any potential interest you may be charged from your credit card company. Do you like getting a discount? Yes? How about paying 30% more? I hope you said no! When you pay by credit card you are more likely to spend 30% more because of interest. Unfortunately, that is just the nature of the beast. Think of your credit card as a tool. If you don't know how to use it (ehhem.. by paying it in full every month), then stick with cash only.
2. Ask for forgiveness of late fees
I cannot tell you how many times I have been hit with a late fee from one of my credit cards. Life is busy and, quite honestly, paying my credit cards isn't my number one priority. (Sorry, Amex, but I have 4 kids!) So, occasionally, I will get a friendly reminder - a late fee on my bill. Don't get me wrong this might happen once every 2 years. I'm not that bad. 🙂 But, when it does happen, I do the same thing every time. I call the credit card company and ask if they would please forgive me for missing my payment and waive the late fee. Exactly 100% of the time they have said, "Yes".
3. Make eating at home the norm
Going to dinner at Taco Bell for my family of 6 can easily run around $25... that's just for fast food! If we step it up to an Applebees or Red Robin we are looking at a bill with a tip for anything from $60-90. While it may be an easy choice for a busy family it isn't as healthy and it will add up over time. My wife and I have committed to eating out for special or planned occasions only... not because we failed to plan. Our children are really starting to see "going out to eat" as a treat. In my book (and pocketbook) that is awesome!
4. Cancel Cable/Satellite TV
When we first moved into our house it had no cable TV or satellite hook up. Long story short, it took them 6 months to finally figure out how to install it. No joke! It was a blessing in disguise. It made watching a DVD movie something special and it got our kids outside. I liked it so much that I canceled our TV service for the next few Summers. I wasn't under any contract and there wasn't anything to watch anyway.. a win-win! The best part is I saved a bunch of cash. Paid TV is expensive. If you are struggling or want to pay down your debt then get rid of the cable.
5. Turn off the TV
Okay, so you've decided you can't go without your cable/satellite TV. That's totally understandable. You can still potentially save yourself some money. The easiest way to do this is to record your favorite shows and then skip the commercials during playback. Sounds simple.. maybe even unnecessary? If we didn't buy things we don't need then the world wouldn't be drowning in debt right now. Marketers are very savvy. Skip their sales pitch by fast forwarding the commercials.
6. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
We love our coffee.. Guilty as charged. You can save a bundle by making it at home. A bag of good coffee could last you 2 weeks. That's only $8 or less. Compared to the tall (small) coffee I had at Starbucks today which ran over $4. (It was a treat, not the norm!) Both taste great but your wallet will like the home brew better.
7. Cancel the Newspaper
I used to work for a newspaper and I love some of the old school aspects of it but realistically you can get everything (besides coupons) from the paper online now. If it's really newsworthy then rest assured you will hear about it. The newspaper company will miss collecting your check however. Afraid you might miss something big? Sign up for Twitter or Facebook.
8. Limit your time on the Internet
We only have so much willpower to use so make the most of it. Think about when you make most of your purchases online then block it out. By eliminating your peak hours of potential spending you should have enough strength to resist the urge the rest of the day. Save money!
9. Don't make that Huge Purchase!
Are you penny wise and dollar dumb? I know I can be. I have chosen a glass of water with lemon over a $2 soda at a restaurant many times. I have also burned thousands of dollars on cars. I saved $2 and wasted thousands, hence, penny wise and dollar dumb. Luckily I have learned my lesson. If I want to make any type of big purchase I sit on it for at least a week. If I still have a burning desire to buy it (and I have the cash) then I go for it. Usually (99.9% of the time) after a week I'll pass on the item. I save my money and have no buyer's remorse.
10. Go for a Walk
Get up, go outside and just walk. The change of scenery will stimulate your muscles and brain cells making you more creative and alert. Bonus money saving tip: Try walking as an alternative to joining the gym as well. The majority of people who buy gym memberships go just once a month after the first 30 days. That's another reason not to lock in for the entire year.
In keeping with the 5 minutes a day philosophy this list was meant to be short and to the point. This article didn't and wasn't intended to talk about the ideas of "saving" versus "investing" money. What you do with all that extra cash you save is a great topic for another discussion.
Saving money can be fun. What *simple* ways do you use to save money? Share your money saving tips below!