In today’s economy, there aren’t a whole lot of jobs that are completely safe from company cut-backs and layoffs. Though your job may be safe, saving extra money for emergencies is always a good idea. Here are some frugal ideas that might help with the saving:
- Try not to eat out. Food prepared at home is often better for your health, anyway.
- Turn leftover food into new dishes everyone will like. Lots of things can be made into soups or stews.
- Learn to make your own coffee/lattes instead of having to pay $4.
- Try drinking water instead of other beverages. It is much cheaper and can help prevent some health problems, helping you save on future medical bills.
- Angel Food Ministries is a great way to stock up on staples at a discount price. Some churches and other organizations sponsor this for those that are socioeconomically disadvantaged, but it is open to everyone that wishes to participate.
- Try to put aside gift money or unexpected bonuses for retirement savings or an emergency fund in case things fall through, financially.
- Give budgeting a try, or perhaps just try to cut one expensive, unnecessary expense out of your regular spending. This article from the Simple Dollar has some good advice for creating a budget.
- Pay off as much debt as you can now, if you have any. Try to become debt free if possible.
- Planning ahead by creating a “Miscellaneous” fund for unexpected, smaller expenses can be a big help when this type of thing comes up.
- Consider getting rid of all of you credit cards except for one. Then hide this one at home so that you won’t be tempted to use it. For emergencies, you could stash a bit of cash in an envelope in your car or hide it elsewhere. Credit card debt can be especially debilitating when money is scarce.
- The general rule of thumb for emergency savings is to have at least 3-6 months of living expenses put away. However, now advisers are saying that a year’s worth of living expenses saved up would be a better goal.
- Entertainment can become a big expense. Instead, try looking at the library for books and movies.
- Instead of going to the movies, take a hike with a friend or find something else to do outdoors, like frisbee golf.
- If you don’t mind getting rid of the TV, this can save large amounts of money. There are several services, such as Apple’s iTunes, that allow you to buy films or rent them online.
- Also, you might consider getting rid of any magazine subscriptions that you don’t use at the moment. Check through the ones that just end up in the trash without being read and either cancel or don’t renew the subscription. One good alternative is using magazines’ web sites for some of the same information.
- Instead of buying a costly gym membership, consider exercising at home. There are many things such as running, calisthenics and some weight training that can be done without access to lots of exercise equipment.
- Exercising can also help eliminate potential health risks, thus decreasing future medical bills.
- If you do a lot of printing at home, see if you can find refill kits for your cartridges. This is often much less expensive than replacing the whole cartridge.
- If you don’t absolutely need a laptop, you can save a sizable amount by purchasing a desktop, instead, when your old computer dies. Otherwise, perhaps you could consider a refurbished laptop.
Home and Work
- Try new ways to save electricity. One is using CFL bulbs that last longer and use a fraction of the electricity traditional incandescent bulbs do.
- Research before buying any electronic, appliance or vehicle. A bit of time spent now could save thousands of dollars later.
- See if you can find someone to carpool with on the way to and from work. This not only saves money, but also lowers mileage put on your car and gives you some company while driving.
- When clothes shopping, look for pieces that will match with much of what you already have. It is surprising what you can do with a few shirts in solid colors and other garments in basic black, white and khaki.
- In the summer, try gradually increasing the temperature inside your home. That way, when you go back outside, the hot weather won’t seem so bad, and it will save you money on the electric bill. In the winter, try putting on a warm sweater and socks instead of turning up the heat. It’s not good to take either of these to extremes, though. Neither frozen pipes nor heat stroke is very pleasant.
- Try to plan and batch errands so that you can save on gas. Doing things all at once saves time and hassle, too.
- There is absolutely no need to drive a new car. Used, reliable, gas-efficient vehicles can be found in many places. Just make sure the seller is just as reliable as the car you are purchasing. :)