If you’re focused on your financial aspirations, then you’re consistently looking for ways to stretch your money. After all, if you can make your money go further, you’ll have more left over to deposit into your savings, retirement, and investment accounts.
Take a look at these suggestions for how to get the most use from your money
1. Shop discount stores. The fact is you can get many of the products you use daily for less money at your local discount stores. Think K-Mart, Walmart, and Target.
2. Buy in bulk. Clear some spaces in closets, cabinets and under your bed to store the bulk paper and soap products you can get for a song. Purchasing in bulk will help you keep more of your dollars and put them where you want them—in the bank!
3. Cut cosmetic items in half. For example, if you use flat cotton pads, use your scissors to halve them. Also, cotton balls can be pulled into two pieces. If you find yourself using only one end of a Q-Tip, cut them in half, too. You’ll get double the use from these products and spend less.
4. Do online comparison shopping. When you want the next best thing, spend some time searching to see where you can find it for the cheapest amount. There’s even a website that does comparisons for you, called “Shopzilla.”
5. Reduce your pocket money every other month. Let’s say you keep $200 a month as your “mad money.” Why not reduce it every other month to $175 and place that extra $25 into your savings? The small amounts you save add up.
6. Experiment. Can you put away the paper towels in the kitchen one day a week and use cloth towels instead? Look at it this way: if you place a clean kitchen towel and washcloth on the counter first thing in the morning, it won’t be as difficult as you think to go without the paper towels. What if you stored them in the cabinet and used them only for extra-messy clean-ups? Try it for a day.
7. Better yet, cut up old towels for disposable cleaning cloths. These can be thrown in the washer and re-used. However, if you have a super-difficult cleaning job, you won’t feel guilty to toss out the used cleaning cloth when you’re done.
8. Measure. Clothes detergents and liquid fabric softeners have become quite expensive. Do you find you simply pour them in quickly and don’t
9. worry about measuring the proper amounts? Measuring these “liquid gold” products will make them last as long as possible. Particularly with new high efficiency front-loaders, you’ll find you can use just a few tablespoons per load.
10. Take care of clothing. Re-hang clothing that’s been worn just a couple of hours and wear it again before laundering. Pre-wash by hand as soon as possible any clothing that gets a stain. Change from your work clothing to lower cost t-shirts and shorts or slacks when you get home to ensure you get at least a few years from your work clothes.
11. Place limits on expensive or extravagant items you buy. For example, if you love an exotic, organic cake mix but it’s expensive, buy one every other month. Consider it a special treat when you have it, rather than something you must have every week or two.
12. Bank stock dividends. You’ll eventually have enough to re-invest it in something that will make you even more dough.
13. Make note of prices of items you buy regularly. It’s smart to know how much you’re paying for those Pringles Barbecue Potato Chips. In one store, they cost $1.79 per tube. In another, they’re $1.49 each. One store has them on sale for four tubes for $5.00. You can save a bundle by knowing what you pay for items you regularly use.
14. Get excited about the Sunday newspaper. Why? Because there’s often 2 coupon booklets included and receiving them is like someone giving you dollars. Let’s face it – you’re looking at free money. Why not use those coupons?
15. Sign up for special savings apps. Groupon, LivingSocial, and Foursquare are all apps that offer some great deals for savings of 50% or more. It won’t cost you anything to sign up and you might be able to stretch your entertainment bucks.
16. Refuse to pay service fees at ATMs. Determine where your closest 2 cost-free ATMs are and then only use those. Keep those service fees in your pocket rather than the banks’ till.
17. Avoid purchase of clothes that must be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning has now topped $5.00 or more per shirt or blouse. That would pay for 5 pounds of potatoes!
18. If you’re paying off a credit card debt, try to reduce your interest rate. Call your credit card company and ask them to lower the rate.
19. Stop using paper plates and cups. When you throw them in the garbage, guess what else you’re throwing in the trash? Your money. Use plates and cups you can wash and re-use.
20. Evaluate every monthly payment you pay. Are you paying every month for a gym membership you don’t use? What about a cable box that you’re renting monthly to watch the premium channels, yet the only channels you watch in that room are ABC, CBS, and NBC? Trimming just one of these monthly payments would definitely make your money go farther.
21. Have a special container for your change. Accumulating your change is a wonderful way to come up with a few extra dollars every month. Find a large cookie jar or clear glass container to drop in your change at the end of the day. It’s fun to watch it rise to the top. Remove change from purse, wallet, and pocket daily. Then, deposit it in the bank.
22. Evaluate monthly fees for special bundling rates. If you aren’t bundling your cable, internet, and phone fees, it might save you some money to switch to the bundle. If you can switch without paying extra to get a better deal, do it.
23. Bargain, bargain, bargain. When shopping clearance items, speak to the sales clerk or manager and say something like, “If I buy these 3 items, could I get an additional 10% off?” Then, be willing to walk away if they say, “No.” The fact is, many department stores are now saying, “Yes” to such offers to move the items and make way for new merchandise.
24. Watch your temperatures. Whether it’s your hot water heater (which should be set at 120 degrees), water temperature for your clothes washer (always use cold), or your dishwasher (avoid using the dry cycle), be aware of temperature settings. If you do, you’ll shave monthly costs from your natural gas and electricity bills.
25. Use consignment shops. Instead of throwing away clothing and items you no longer use, why not drop them off at a local consignment store? Getting a few bucks back is better than getting no bucks back from your used items.
26. Cook more. Families are on the run these days so they eat out a lot more than their budgets can take. Develop a list of five to ten quick and healthy meals you can make with little effort. Then, put copies of your list in your car, wallet, purse, and kitchen. Now, there’s no excuse to spend money eating out on the fly!
Be as innovative as you can when it comes to figuring out how to shave dollars off your outgoing money to build up your cash at the bank.
You can live the life you deserve and still conserve your cash!