We all want to save money, don’t we? But that doesn’t mean you have to take a vow of poverty and devote yourself to a diet of rice and water. Here are some simple tips for spending less money every day:
- Use the library. Stay away from bookshops, music stores, and video rental outlets. You can get almost anything you want in the way of entertainment from your local library, for free.
- Delay your purchases. Don’t give into impulse buying. Before putting anything into your shopping cart at the grocery store, wait 10 seconds and consider whether you really need it. For larger purchases, wait one or two days. For major items, such as appliances or carpeting, wait 30 days to be sure a purchase is really necessary. (Of course, if the fridge is shot, you can waive the 30 days; just be sure to get the best value.)
- Cut out meat. You can get needed protein in your diet from other, less expensive foods. You don’t have to become a vegan, but limiting meat to once or twice a week will cut your grocery bill.
- Use energy efficiently. Any appliance that contains a clock—video recorders, microwaves, etc.—uses electricity even when the device is turned off. Unplug unused appliances, or hook them up to a smart power strip that doesn’t draw electricity when the device isn’t working. Wash your clothes in cold water to save up to 50 percent of the energy you’d use washing them in hot water.
- Avoid soft drinks. When dining out, order water instead of pricier sodas. It’s free.