These days it seems everyone is exploring new and novel ways to save more money. But sometimes in our quest for fresh ideas, we tend to forget the basics that served us so well in the past. When that happens, it helps to take a step back and brush up on those tried-and-true methods that we may be neglecting.
If you’re in need a frugal refresher, here are seven classic money-saving tips that are worth another look:
But buying used takes some forethought and strategy. Don’t wait until you need an item to buy it; instead plan ahead. Ask yourself, “What will my family need three months or six months down the road? What should I keep an eye out for now so I don’t have to pay retail when it’s crunch time?” Scour thrift stores for great winter clothing bargains during the dog days of summer. Pick up a used patio set from the classifieds in autumn. Understanding what your future needs will be makes buying used a whole lot easier.
I still watch the utilities closely today — turning off lights when I leave a room, using dimmer switches, and keeping the thermostat set at reasonable temperatures as the seasons change. It’s an easy thing to forget in the mad dash of modern life, but keeping utility costs in check is an immediate way to save money and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time.
Now, don’t get me wrong: What fun would life be without a little indulgence? But for the frugal-minded, a treat that happens every day is no longer a treat — it’s overhead. Would the treat be any less delicious if he made it at home and skipped the retail markup and the long lines? We all have our own “latte factor” in life, and remembering to keep our treats in line with our budget is always a good thing.
Though carpooling isn’t necessarily heart-healthy, it can be budget-friendly. Explore joining or setting up a carpool program where you work and sharing commuting expenses with co-workers who have similar schedules. Sharing the cost of fuel, parking, tolls, and other expenses helps everyone and helps the planet a little bit too.
What do all of these money-saving tips have in common? What’s the universal theme? That the details matter. Small expenditures are easy to overlook as we focus on big expenses like mortgage payments, student loan debt, or credit card bills, but it all adds up.
It’s worth remembering: Being vigilant in all areas of our financial lives — from the big stuff to the small stuff — can make a real impact on our bottom lines.
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