"Bludgeoning hard times with a rolling pin"

"Bludgeoning hard times with a rolling pin"

Friday, June 11, 2010

15 ways to save green--right now

I wrote this a while back. Reading it again, I notice it sounds kinda preachy. Still some good ideas, though.

The high cost of everything these days makes sticking to a budget more difficult than ever. When prices keep going up, but incomes don’t, there is only one thing to do—implement frugality.

Here are 15 ways to save some green—starting right away:

Work to reduce debt. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, but a lot of creditors are willing to work with their customers. It’s important to pay even a little something to perhaps avoid a late charge in addition to interest build-up. It does not hurt to call the creditor and attempt to work out a payment plan. You may be able to agree on better rates or a time table more suited to your needs.

Ditch the cable or satellite TV. Come on, now. Is this a necessity? If your internet and phone service are all tied to your satellite plan, then at least try to reduce your plan to the very basic service necessary.

Send e-mails rather than make long distance calls or mail letters. Every little bit helps. A long distance call can easily cost $20 and if you e-mail that note instead of mail it, you save almost 50 cents.

Do the kids really need all those lessons and activities? Consider swapping a stressful schedule for a more relaxed one by dropping a superfluous activity. You’ll save money in fees and gas. If this leaves your child too bored, visit Grandma. If Grandma doesn’t live nearby, visit someone else’s grandma at a local nursing home. Thinking of others is a valuable lesson, too!

Cold cereals—forget about ‘em. At $4 a box, they are a budget-buster for sure. Enjoy instead toast, oatmeal, muffins or cornbread—home-made, of course.

Give soda the heave-ho. Noticed the price of soda escalating, too? It’s crazy out there! Soda isn’t healthy for you anyway. Besides, those plastic bottles are ugly and fill up the recycling box too fast. Make iced tea or lemonade at home instead.

Don’t buy books, CD’s or DVD’s—get busy with that library card instead. Just watch due dates and avoid those late fees!

Cook from scratch. For every convenience food, try to make a from-scratch equivalent. Pizza is an easy one to crank out. Same with brownies, cookies and popsicles. The crock pot is a time saver. Check out this recipe for crock pot brats.

Rediscover entertaining at home. Invite some friends over for a dinner of pasta and salad. Pull out some board games, watch a movie or just chat while the kids play.

Does Mr. Spiffs really need special toys? Cats love string. String. How inexpensive is that?

Let those coins accumulate. If you drop your day’s change in a jar, you’ll have a couple hundred dollars in a few months without even trying.

Zap the frapp. Even if the small is the tall it’s still about $5 for a cup of diluted coffee and whipped cream. Learn how to make one at home. Check out this recipe.

Consolidate car trips. With gas prices consistently breaking price records, driving has become a splurge. Make a plan before heading out. Map the route beforehand to use the least amount of gas. Be sure to gather all you need while you’re out. Carpool with co-workers for rides to and from work.

Recognize bad spending habits. Getting a soda from the machine each time the kids are at soccer practice quickly becomes an ingrained routine. It takes keen awareness to identify the pattern in order to change it.

Challenge yourself to take the savings as far as it can be taken. Like this: Instead of buying that soda from the machine, bring soda from home. Better yet, bring a water bottle. Better yet, bring the water in a re-usable cup instead of a purchased water bottle.

These days troubles are touching everyone, families, singles, retirees—everyone; but, many have already discovered that the simple life can be a refreshing and overdue change of pace.

Peace of mind is priceless.

Copyright 2008 Neighbors About Town

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