A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

     Some people rely on their banks to tell them when they have spent too much, or if they have a little extra as a result of rewards. For me, I am one of those people always trying to save money. My children notoriously ask me, “Mom, give me some money for this or that?” If I feel like it is something they “need,” then I find the way to make the purchase. It may not be that day, but it comes. As for the children, they ask for it. If I tell them it is rather expensive, and that item is not a necessity, then I tell them “no”. They then go through the begging and pleading stage. It then comes to the question, “Mom, do you not have it, or do you have it in your rat-hole money?” I am not a mean parent, but I try to buy things based on a rewards system.”  I watched people and asked others this week “how do you save money when you shop?” What I got was both ways to save money normally and not so normal ways to save money!

1. Use coupons and rebates from newspapers and magazines. Use rebates you get when you earn cash in your spare time, free! 

2. Save money on cell phone purchases!

Did you know that you can save $100 or more by not renewing and upgrading your cell phone service at the store? Instead you can buy cheap cell phones online from Amazon.com and do it all with them.

3. Save money with the library!

Pay for things that the library offers for free. If you can get past the frequently outdated décor, public libraries are home to a wealth of resources. 

4. Buying used stuff always saves money!

This is one of my favorite creative ways to save money. I first learned the power of this back in college, when I discovered that I could get my textbooks for free, by buying and selling them at Amazon.

5. Simplify your wardrobe.

Don’t buy clothes that will only work as one outfit. Look for clothes that you will be able to wear with many other things, creating multiple outfits 

6. Make money with your clutter

It is easier than you may think: eBay, Craigslist and Amazon.com.

7. Maintain stuff

Even if you buy the best stuff, if you don’t maintain it, you will not save you as much money as it could. To make it even easier schedule most of your maintenance all on one day with a Car Day. 

8. Save money on exercise

You can get much cheaper access to a gym and use it for gyms. Spend a wonderful afternoon or morning walking or riding at Lincoln Parish Park.

9. Regularly Shop Insurance Rates now there is something to be said for finding a top-rated 

10. Use Cash-Back Debit Cards

My 2% cash-back debit card is my new favorite financial product.

11. Live in smaller homes

For some reasons, Americans just love to assume that bigger is better with just about everything. Often just by throwing junk away and spending time organizing storage areas and closets, you may realize that you DO have a big enough living space; it just needed a little organizational love. A lot of money can be saved by living in a smaller place. 

12. Buy a used car

You can save a lot of money on car depreciation by purchasing a car 2 years old or older. Some cars can lose as much as 35% in value during the first year. It’s best to drive a car as long as you can especially if you do purchase them new.

13. Shop after the season

Shop for holiday cards, decorations, and gift wrap as the season ends, and keep them for next year. We do this and then we are set for next year. 

14. Shop when no one else wants to

If you are considering a new home, remember the best time to buy is in the dead of winter, when other buyers huddle inside. You can save 5 percent off the peak-season price.

15. Save money on your home entertainment

You can now watch many TV programs or if you rent a lot of movies one, of the best ways to save money is to use Netflix or online video rentals. 

16. Buy jewelry from a discounter

If you haven’t purchased jewelry in a while, you may be interested to know that the jewelry industry is going through some major changes. Many direct importers are selling rings themselves at much better prices than you could get from the traditional stores. 

17. Save money at the hospital

I didn’t realize hospitals would be honest most times, but check your bill when it comes. There was a time Scott came in for a “stomach or gastroesophageal” problem. When the bill came, we were billed for a cast, and a medical shoe.

18. Go out to dinner for half price

I love to try new restaurants, but since it is quite an expensive hobby – it is nice when you can save a few bucks. Enter the Entertainment Book. Also consider Groupon.com or Restaurant.com who sells $25 gift certificates (with restrictions) for $10 to thousands of restaurants across the country. 

I am certain you have your own ways of savings, as I have mine. Whatever the trick, stick to it, or share them with your fellow friends, neighbors, or in this case, readers with the economy the way it is these days, every penny saved, you know you have earned it.

        Published February 23, 2012, Ruston Daily Leader, The Park Bench.

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